Korean Rice Balls (Jumeokbap). Delicious rice balls made of tuna, mayonnaise, and sesame seeds coated in flavorful seaweed flakes. A great snack or easy meal that is ready in 10 minutes with leftover rice!
What is Jumeokbap?
Jumeokbap is a Korean word for "fist rice" in English. It is a savory rice ball that is smaller than the size of your fist. A popular snack in Korean cuisine that is served at select Korean restaurants. This Korean food serves well as a quick snack, picnic food, in a lunch box or as one of those Korean side dishes (aka banchans).
These simple rice balls are made of sushi rice, canned tuna, Japanese mayo (or kewpie mayo), seasoned seaweed flakes, sesame oil, sesame seeds and salt. Every Korean household has their own version of these hand-shaped rice balls.
My favorite version are tuna rice balls as I always have canned tuna in my pantry! I love the tuna kind because I'm a huge fan of tuna and the tuna is already cooked.
Please scroll down to below recipe card for exact measurements.
- Warm cooked short grain rice: for best results, I recommend using fresh warm rice made in your rice cooker or on the stovetop or reheated rice for this recipe, so the rice mixture sticks together and remains intact in ball form. I wouldn't recommend long grain rice.
- Canned tuna: I personally prefer using canned tuna in oil but if you only can find canned tuna in water that will work too.
- Japanese mayonnaise (aka Kewpie mayo): It's much creamier than normal mayonnaise. You may substitute with the normal kind too.
- Sesame oil
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Seaweed seasoning: they are dried seaweed flakes seasoned in sesame oil, sesame seeds, sugar and a pinch of salt. However, if you can't find this ingredient, substitute with crushed seaweed snack, small pieces of nori, or furikake.
Note: Most Korean or Asian grocers will carry these ingredients. You may find some at your select grocery store or online, like on Amazon.
How to Make Korean Rice Balls
If you're using leftover rice, reheat in the microwave for 60-90 seconds covered until it becomes hot. Set aside to cool down.
Make Tuna Mayo Mixture
In a large bowl, combine tuna, sesame oil, sesame seeds, Japanese mayo and salt and mix with a fork.
Mix Tuna with Rice
Mix in cooked rice with the tuna mayo mixture until thoroughly combined.
Shape Rice Balls
Prepare a small bowl of water nearby. With clean hands, wet your hands and take a handful of rice, about 2 tablespoon worth. Squeeze it together and roll into a ball, about the size of a golf ball. Repeat this process for the remaining rice mixture. You should have nine rice balls. Note: if you're preparing this for guests, I recommend using plastic gloves or plastic wrap to shape the balls.
Coat Rice Balls in Seasoned Seaweed
Place seasoned seaweed in a shallow bowl. Roll balls in seasoned seaweed and coat the balls evenly. You may need to press the seasoned seaweed flakes into the balls with your hands.
Enjoy immediately at room temperature!
Korean rice balls are best consumed same day. However, if you have leftover rice balls, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last up to 2 days, and you'll need to reheat in the microwave until warm, about 60 seconds. However, if you do this, the re-heating process makes the rice balls taste "fishier" due to the seaweed and canned tuna. So, it's best to consume same day.
Feel free to substitute with any of the following ingredients:
- cooked salmon
- diced spam that has been pan fried until golden brown.
- kimchi that has been roughly cut with kitchen scissors.
- crushed tofu
- seasoned ground beef, ground pork, ground chicken or turkey
- scrambled eggs
Easy 10-min. Korean Rice Balls (Jumeokbap)
- 1 cup cooked short grain rice packed (See Notes below for quantity of uncooked rice needed)
- ⅓ cup canned tuna strained of liquids
- 2 tablespoon Japanese mayo (aka Kewpie mayo) or sub with normal mayo
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- ½ cup Korean seasoned seaweed flakes or sub with crushed roasted seaweed snack, furikake or 9 small sheets of nori to wrap the balls in
- If you're using leftover rice, reheat in the microwave for 60-90 seconds (covered) until it becomes hot and let it cool. If you're using fresh hot cooked rice, set aside to cool down.
- In a large bowl, combine tuna, sesame oil, sesame seeds, Japanese mayo and salt and mix with a fork.
- Mix in cooked rice until thoroughly combined.
- Prepare a small bowl of water nearby. With clean hands, wet your hands and take a handful of rice, about 2 tablespoon worth. Squeeze it together and roll into a ball, about the size of a golf ball. Repeat this process for the remaining rice mixture. You should have nine rice balls. Note: if you're preparing this for guests, I recommend using plastic gloves or plastic wrap to shape the balls.
- Place seasoned seaweed in a shallow bowl. Roll balls in seasoned seaweed and coat the balls evenly. You may need to press the seasoned seaweed flakes into the balls with your hands. Enjoy immediately at room temperature!
How much uncooked rice is needed for this recipe?75 grams or 7 tablespoons of uncooked short grain rice is needed for this recipe.
How do you cook your rice?Like most Asian households, I prefer to cook my rice in my rice cooker. It's quick, easy, and it always comes out perfect! I never have to deal with scorched rice on the bottom of my pan and it's so easy to clean up as the rice pot is very non-stick. I highly recommend investing in a quality rice cooker if you make a lot of rice. It's worth the money as a high quality one can last you 20+ years! In fact, mine just broke after the 20 year mark and it was passed down to me. I share the one I have in the Equipment section of this recipe card.
How do I cook my rice on a stovetop?Follow these instructions:
- Rinse uncooked rice under cold water a few times until water is clear.
- In a large saucepan, pour in your washed rice.
- Next fill the saucepan with cold water. To know how much water to add, place your palm on top of the rice and as you fill the pot with water, stop when the water reaches your knuckles (where your fingers end).
- Bring this to a boil and cover with a lid. Immediately reduce to the lowest heat possible and let this cook over low heat for 17-20 minutes until most of the water has evaporated and the rice is fluffy