Korean Rice Balls (Jumeokbap) - Easy Recipes

Korean Rice Balls, known as Jumeokbap, are a beloved and versatile snack in Korean cuisine. The name "Jumeokbap" translates to "fist rice," aptly describing their compact, fist-sized shape. 

Traditionally, these rice balls were made as a convenient, portable meal for laborers and soldiers, providing a nutritious and filling option that could be easily carried and eaten without utensils.

Jumeokbap are made from simple ingredients like steamed rice, seasoned with sesame oil and salt, and often mixed with various fillings such as vegetables, meat, seaweed, or kimchi. 

The combinations are endless, allowing for creativity and personal preference in each bite. This adaptability makes Jumeokbap suitable for any occasion, whether as a quick snack, a lunchbox addition, or a picnic treat.

What sets Jumeokbap apart is their balance of flavors and textures. The sticky rice provides a satisfying chewiness, while the fillings add bursts of flavor and nutrition. 

Additionally, the rice balls can be coated with roasted sesame seeds or crushed seaweed, enhancing their taste and presentation.

In contemporary Korean culture, Jumeokbap has evolved from a practical meal to a cherished comfort food, often prepared for loved ones or enjoyed during casual gatherings. 

Their simplicity, versatility, and rich history make Korean Rice Balls a delightful and meaningful dish that continues to be enjoyed by people of all ages.

The Practical Origins of Korean Rice Balls (Jumeokbap)

One intriguing aspect of Korean Rice Balls (Jumeokbap) is their origin as a practical food for laborers and soldiers. 

Historically, Jumeokbap, which translates to "fist rice," were made as a convenient, portable meal that could be easily eaten on the go without utensils. 

The rice balls were often filled with preserved or fermented ingredients, ensuring they remained edible without refrigeration for extended periods. 

This practicality made them a staple during times of war and hardship, symbolizing resilience and resourcefulness in Korean culture.

Korean Rice Balls (Jumeokbap)

Jumeokbap, the Korean rice balls, are an incredibly tasty snack, especially when paired with spicy dishes like tteokbokki sauce, creating a perfect flavor combination
Prep Time20 
Cook Time10minutes 
Servings: 7


Seasoning the Rice:

  • 200g sushi rice: Sushi rice is a good choice for Jumeokbap because of its sticky texture, which helps the rice balls hold together.
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil: Adds a nutty flavor and enhances the aroma of the rice.
  • 2 teaspoons sugar: Provides a touch of sweetness to balance the savory elements.
  • 1 teaspoon salt: Essential for seasoning the rice and bringing out the flavors.

The Filling:

  • 160g tin of tuna: A common filling for Jumeokbap, offering protein and a savory taste.
  • 2 tablespoons kimchi: Adds a spicy and tangy kick, as well as some crunch.
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise: Helps bind the filling ingredients together and adds a creamy texture.
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper: Adds a bit of heat and enhances the flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic granules: Provides a subtle garlic flavor that complements the other ingredients.

For the Coating:

  • 2 tablespoons togarashi seasoning: This Japanese spice blend adds a spicy, flavorful kick to the rice balls.
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds: Adds a nutty flavor and a nice visual contrast.

Optional Garnish:

  • Mayonnaise: Can be drizzled on top for extra creaminess.
  • Tonkatsu sauce: Optional, but it adds a sweet and savory element that pairs well with the rice balls.
  • Spring onion: Adds a fresh, oniony flavor and a bit of color.


Filling Preparation:

Begin by draining the tin of tuna. In a mixing bowl, combine the drained tuna with kimchi, mayonnaise, black pepper, and garlic granules.

Making the Jumeokbap:

Take a tablespoon of the rice mixture and gently pat it down in your hand to form a flat round shape.

Spoon a portion of the prepared filling into the center of the rice round, then add another small scoop of rice on top.

Carefully mold the rice around the filling to form a round ball, ensuring the filling is completely covered. Repeat this process with the remaining rice and filling to make approximately 7-9 rice balls.


In a small bowl, combine the togarashi seasoning and black sesame seeds. Roll each rice ball in this mixture until coated evenly, then set them aside.

Arrange the rice balls on a serving plate. Drizzle with mayonnaise and, if desired, add a touch of tonkatsu sauce for extra flavor.

Garnish with sliced spring onion, then serve and enjoy your delicious Jumeokbap!
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