Jumeok-bap is a sort of Korean cooked rice balls that can be eaten as a snack, a light meal, or an accompaniment to spicy foods. Jumeok-bap is simple, quick, and easy to make, and the results are absolutely delicious.
Origin and history
Jumeok-bap (주먹밥) literally means “fist rice”. Jumeok means fist and bap means cooked rice in Korean, which describes how the rice balls are about the size of a small fist, and they’re shaped and compressed into balls by a fist-motion.
It was around 1990 when Japanese cuisine especially onigiri gradually spread to Korea that the commercialization of Jumeok-bap began in Korea. Although it did not become really popular in the beginning but started to spread gradually since it was economical, easy to make, light-weighted, and convenient for travelers.
Starting from the 2010s, various forms of Jumeok-bap were released, including a round-shaped onigiri and a rice burger in the shape of a hamburger.
Notes and tips
You should use short-grain rice or sushi rice since they are stickier in nature and easier to shape. It’s better to shape the balls when the rice is still warm since they hold their shape better when they’re warm. If the rice balls are difficult to shape you can wet your hand a little between each roll making it easier to shape the balls.
We’ve tried a simple recipe but there are many kinds of Jumeok-bap and you can experiment with various types of filling such as:
- meat (ground beef, sausage, ground chicken, …),
- fish (anchovies, tuna, salmon, …),
- raw or cooked vegetables (carrots, sweet corns, zucchini, tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes, peppers, onions, pickled radish, …),
- grains (flaxseed, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, …),
- spices (red chili pepper powder, everything bagel seasoning, ginger powder, …),
Rice balls are a common item in dosirak (Korean packed meal). They’re served as a light meal, between-meal snack, street food, or an accompaniment to spicy food.
- Omo tuo;
Jumeak-bap: seaweed rice balls
- 200 g uncooked short-grain rice,
- 1 Nori seaweed sheet
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp red chili flakes
- 1-2 tsp sesame seeds
- Cook rice according to packaging instructions.
- Roast the seaweed sheet and cut it into small pieces or put the seaweed sheet into a food processor and process until coarsely shredded. If you love seaweed, add more sheets.
- In a medium bowl, mix rice, shredded seaweed, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil until incorporated. Adjust salt depending on your tastes.
- Make a round firm ball with a spoonful of rice mixture. It will be easier to work with the sticky rice if your hands are covered with a little bit of water or oil.
- Repeat until the rice is finished.
- Top with sesame seeds, the rest if shredded seaweed, or chili peppers flakes.