What is Triangle Kimbap (Samgak Kimbap)
Triangle kimbap (samgak kimbap, 삼각김밥) is a Korean dish that is made with rice, vegetables, and meat fillings in thin sheets of dried seaweed.
This sounds a lot like regular kimbap (gimbap), Korean rice rolls, but the difference is that the meat and vegetables are stuffed inside the rice ball before it’s shaped into a triangle. Once you have your rice triangle, it is wrapped in dried seaweed.
Samgak kimbap was first introduced from Japan in the 1990s. Some people describe it as Korean onigiri (오니기리), owing to its similarity to the dish; Onigiri is a general term for Japanese rice balls.
However, in Korea, samgak kimbap typically refers to the triangle rice ball fully wrapped with dried seaweed. If it isn’t wrapped up like this, it’s referred to as jumeokbap, which means Korean rice balls.
When samgak kimbap was first introduced, it was not as popular due to its relatively high price at the time, and the fillings inside did not suit Koreans’ taste. However, with time and R&D efforts, this changed, and it became popular in the early 2000s, and has been a steady seller since then.
Korean triangle kimbap is typically eaten as a light meal that can be bought from the convenience store. You can eat it straight from the fridge as is, or microwave it if you want something warm. People often accompany it with instant cup noodles to add volume and give soup to go with kimbap.
You can find a range of different fillings inside this triangle kimbap, from bulgogi, to bibimbap to omurice and tuna mayo, for example. These choices give these snacks a more distinctive taste that’ll keep you coming back for more.
How to Make Triangle Kimbap & Best Tips
Making triangle kimbap is easy once you get used to it and develop a rhythm. Until then, it can be a bit tricky. In this post, I lay out all the things you should know to make triangle kimbap successfully. So I hope you do take time to read through this.
To start off with, you will need these tools to make triangle kimbap.
- Triangle kimbap mold or Triangle kimbap kit, which includes the seaweed wrap and the mold
Jar spatula, wrapped with cling wrap
Triangle Kimbap Mold
You might be wondering if you need a triangle kimbap mold for this recipe to work? Making kimbap without a triangle mold can take up extra time and make it difficult to get the same, consistent results. This mold saves your time while also guaranteeing consistent results.
The size of kimbap molds varies, and you can make your triangle kimbap in different sizes and thicknesses with them. If you’re using pre-packaged dried seaweed in a plastic film (all convenience store’s samgak kimbap have these around them), make sure the seaweed wraps around the triangle rice and folds properly. If you put too much rice or too little rice into the mold, you won’t be able to wrap it well.
Pork Kimchi Version (Make 10 Triangle Kimbap)
- 6 cups (995 g / 35.1 ounce) cooked rice, short or medium grain sushi rice
- 3 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 95 g / 3 ounce aged kimchi, cut into small pieces
- 150 g / 5 ounce minced pork
- A few sprinkles of black pepper
- 1 Tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce, regular
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 Tbsp gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
- 1/2 Tbsp rice wine (mirin)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 10 dried seaweed sheets for samgak kimbap
How To Make Pork Kimchi Triangle Kimbap
- In a small bowl, make the pork seasoning sauce by mixing gochujang (Korean chili paste), soy sauce, honey, Korean chili flakes, rice wine, and sesame oil.
- Prepare a medium sized bowl. Add the pork, a few sprinkles of pepper and the pork seasoning sauce. Mix them well. Marinate for 10 mins.
- In a large bowl, mix the rice with sesame oil and salt. Set it aside until it cools down (about 5 mins).
- In a heated pan, add a small dash of cooking oil and cook the kimchi over medium heat for about 2 to 3 mins. Add the marinated pork and cook until it’s fully cooked. Stir often to break down the meat clumps. Transfer to a clean bowl.
- Prepare a samgak kimbap mold and fill one third of the mold with the seasoned rice (from step 3). Press down the rice with a small spatula to make the rice stick together better. Make a small shallow space in the middle of the kimbap mold to fill with the pork kimchi filling by pushing the rice to the sides of the mold.
- Fill the shallow space with stir fried pork and kimchi and top up with the rice, to about two thirds of the mold. Press down the rice again with the spatula to make the rice stick together. Remove the rice from the mold and set aside on a cling-wrap-covered plate. Repeat step 4 and 5 until all ingredients are used up.
- Wrap the triangle rice with the seaweed plastic wrap following the package instructions.