Kimchi Tuna Rice Patties and Balls

Kimchi Tuna Rice Balls and Patties

I have more than enough extremely fermented kimchi sitting in my fridge since last fall.

I bought 22 lbs of kimchi.  A hefty 22 lbs!

I guess I went temporarily crazy at the moment when I heard that the kimchi was made in Korea with Korean cabbages then air-shipped to Malaysia. The minimum purchase was 20 lbs with bonus 2 lb. I thought I could eat them all…, you know!  But I couldn’t.  :(

I need to use up before spring comes.

Here is one recipe, …well, more likely two recipes…, wait! it is actually one recipe that can be used in two ways.

Anyway, got some sour kimchi and a can of tuna? I will show you what you can do with them.

#1. Kimchi Tuna Rice Patties (김치 참치 주먹밥, kimchi chamchi jumeokbap). It is similar to Japanese onigiri. Here is the beauty shot!


Kimchi Tuna Rice Patties

The recipe itself is ridiculously simple but the outcome is like something you would get from a fancy Japanese restaurant. Let’s take a look.


Introducing Mrs. Sour and Mr. Tuna


Drain your humble tuna. Press to suck the juice out of him. Discard the juice – You don’t need it!


Chop Mrs. Sour (kimchi) to teeny-tiny pieces. The green mound on the blurred background is chopped green onion, in case you are wondering.

I am salivating. Are you?


Saute the kimchi with some kimchi juice for 3 minutes. Add tuna and 1 teaspoonful (or more if you desire) of Korean chili paste. Stir and saute for 2 more minutes until the mixture looks somewhat dry. Yes, dryness is what you want.


Add the green onions and a little bit of sesame oil. Toss. Done!


Here it is.

Don’t scroll down to see the rest of the post. All you need is to sprinkle this crazily delicious fried kimchi on top of a bowl of rice and eat. And be happy rest of the day!

But if you must see what Holly has done with it, … please, continue.


This is a plain roasted seaweed packet. Not to be confused with seasoned roasted. Each packet has 10 sheets and you will need just one. Okay, maybe two.


Slice into 8 strips.


Season freshly cooked rice with a couple pinches of salt.


rice pattie tool

Have you seen a tool like this in Korean stores? This makes the job easy and fun. I think I paid USD $1.50 for it.

If you can’t find one or don’t bother to invest one that will eventually clutter your kitchen drawers, you can use your hands to shape the patties.


The bottom of the triangle tool. Pressing this bottom will help to release rice patties easily.


Put some rice to half way to the container and press down gently.


Place the kimchi tuna filling (about 1 Tablespoonful) in the center. Leave edges & corners unfilled.


Put more rice to the top.


Close the lid. The lid will push down the rice to stick to each other.


Remove the lid and press the bottom to release the patty.




Let’s cover this naked rice guy with his pants.


Ladies & Gentlemen, here is my friend, “RiceBob SquarePants”

Applause, please!!!!


Dip his head in the puddle of sesame seeds. This will give him some hair. I mixed white roasted sesame seeds with black sesame seeds.


I took a bite of him. I was way too hungry. Nibble, nibble.. yum!!!

This is very delicious, guys!

Then I thought there might be someone who doesn’t want to go through all the trouble building this RiceBob, so I have a quick solution for those. The rice balls!


#2. Kimchi Tuna Rice Balls

Add the kimchi tuna mixture to the rice.


Then mix them up. Add some sesame seeds if you like.


Roll them up in your hands. Whatever size you like.


This time, let’s use different seaweeds. This is the seasoned and roasted seaweeds. My kid’s favorite way of eating rice is just like what the package picture shows.


They look like this. So good to eat with plain rice. My blue eyed nephews and nieces eat them as a snack.


Put them in a plastic bag and crush them madly. Very madly.


Then, roll your rice balls in them.  Put the very first one in your mouth. And give yourself a ‘Hooray!’

I think these balls might be perfect to put on Halloween table since they ‘sort of’ carry the spooky black shade to match the Halloween theme. What-da-ya-think?

Now, which one did I like better, the Ricebob or the spooky balls?

I will be honest. I liked the Ricebob better.  All because he is wearing pants. Just kidding!

They both had similar taste but I prefer the flavor and the texture of rice and kimchi getting mingled in my mouth rather than all combined when it entered. But seriously, both are good on their own.

I still have lots of kimchi left. Alas!!!  I have a bad feeling that I’ll be kimchi-fied in a next few weeks.

Okay, this was one unexpected long post. I’m out now. Thanks for reading!


With kimchi love from my kitchen to yours,




Kimchi Tuna Rice Balls

Kimchi Tuna Rice Patties and Balls

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: about 8 patties or 20 golf ball size balls

Kimchi Tuna Rice Patties and Balls


  • 1 cup very fermented sour kimchi chopped
  • 1 (5oz, 145g) canned tuna, drained well
  • 3 tablespoon kimci juice
  • 2 green onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • toasted white and black sesame seeds
  • 4 cups cooked short grain white rice
  • 1-2 sheets plain roasted seaweeds
  • (seasoned and roasted seaweeds for rice balls)


  1. Saute kimchi in kimchi juice over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add tuna and stir to continue sauteing until kimchi is somewhat soft and the mixture seems a little dry.
  2. Add green onion and heat through. Add sesame oil and stir. Set aside to cool a little.
  3. Season rice with a couple of pinches of salt.
  4. In a rice patty presser, fill rice to halfway up. place a tablespoonfull of kimchi tuna filling over the rice leaving edges and corners untouched. Fill more rice on top to cover to the rim of the presser. Cover the lid and press down. Uncover and release the patty by pushing the bottom of the press.
  5. Cut a sheet of plain roasted seaweed into 8 strips. Wrap the bottom of the rice patties with the seaweed strips.
  6. Dip the top of rice patties in roasted sesame seeds to coat.
  7. To make rice balls, mix kimchi tuna filling, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds with rice. Roll the mixture to make small balls.
  8. Crush seasoned roasted seaweeds in a plastic bags until they get crushed into small pieces. Roll the rice balls to coat with seaweeds.

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  1. 2

    aimee says

    holly i love your writing you are so funny. ricebob squarepants looks so delicious. maybe i will look for this mold at the store and try to make it for my korean husband sometime soon.

    but i don’t know, the last (and first) time I made him his favorite – kimchi & spam kimbap, he picked all the spam out and left the little circles of rice, egg and pickle I worked so hard to put together. he also usually eats just the fish off of his sushi.

    so maybe i will just make a few for myself and serve him a bowl of just the kimchi tuna

  2. 3

    Candice says

    Thank you for sharing. Your presentation really looks professional and detailed oriented. Each of your photos presents one dominant subject in professional level beautifully.
    Recently, I am in passion of learning make sushi, onigiri, and inarizushi. After I got Shun Classic Santoku 7″ Hollow Ground knife, I have a lot of fun and joy to cut veggie easily. I am sure you know the pleasure of cooking creation. I will let you know how I make out.
    Thank you for sharing again. Sharing is a beautiful thing to help the world peacefully.

  3. 4


    Wow, you have several different (although obviously related) recipes in one post! I like Mr. RiceBob SquarePants. 😉 Anyway, 22 pounds of kimchi is a serious amount! But you put it to good use by mixing it with tuna like this. Good stuff – thanks.

  4. 5

    Micol says

    Awesome!! I have some soooooper sour kimchi in the fridge, like a gift from above, your post has answered my prayers. 😉
    These make the perfect snack… And so cute too!
    Thanks Holly!

  5. 6


    Hahaha… you always crack me up with your quirky posts, Holly. This is such a good idea. I have cans upon cans of salmon in my possession, but lacking the idea to consume them in other ways than slapping them between two pieces of bread. I will give this a try and substitute the tuna with salmon. Did you know that canned fish with its bones not removed is a very good source of non-dairy calcium?

    • 7

      Holly says

      I use lots of canned fish, such as mackerel, pike, etc to make Korean dishes. You are right. You get natural calcium from their soft bones and they are so yummy. You can definitely use canned salmon for this recipe. It will be equally delicious.

  6. 8


    This looks delicious! Have you tried this recipe using something other than tuna? Such as chicken or tofu?
    정말 만들어보고 싶어요! 감사합니다!

  7. 10

    Serena says

    Wow! I am super excited about trying this out!! I would have never thought to use regular canned tuna. I just need to go buy the triangle thing. Can’t waste kimchi!

  8. 12

    Meagan says

    I have some of the kim wrappers all done up in their special peel and serve sleeves already!
    This is so weird that you posted this recipe. I have just started bike commuting and I thought that either onigiri or triangle kim bap would be great for an after biking snack. I was thinking “maybe I could make some kimchi and tuna versions,” then I clicked over to your blog just to see what was new.
    Thanks for the great timing!

  9. 14


    What a brilliant way to use kimchi! I prepare kimchi quite often (although it is certainly not even comparable to yours…) and canned tuna is one of my beloved emergency products. I would have never thought of combining them together. I will try either of your cute snacks this week. Thank you for the inspiration. (By the way, I had no idea there was something similar to onigiri in Korea too).

  10. 15

    Lucy L says

    This looks super yum!! I have all those ingredients at home today, so i might just make it tonight.

    Can’t remember if its a recipe i already saw on your blog, but you could make fried rice with kimchee and bacon and then pile cheese onto it like a gratin and put in oven? I would love how you will finish off the remainder of your kimchee =D

  11. 16


    HILARIOUS! What else is an expat Korean supposed to do with an offer like that? Order 22 lbs of kimchi, of course! That reminds me of a ddeok factory in Duesseldorf, Germany that makes delicious ddeok, but you have to make a minimum order. Every Baek-il we celebrated in Germany (total of 3), we were giving away ddeok like it was going out of style. Actually, that poses a question to you: is there anything else you could do with party ddeok which takes up a lot of freezer space and may or may not be remembered to be eaten?

    • 17

      Holly says

      Hi Jane
      The kimchi was excellent! Can’t beat the crisp texture of Korean cabbages and the perfect balance of spiciness and the fermentation flavor. I only wish I had kimchi refrigerator, which I could have stored my kimchi longer. I miss ddeok, especially those white bakseolgi with dried pumpkin on top. I can’t think of anything else except jut EATING them like there is no tomorrow with the leftover ddeok. But I wonder if you can feed them to animals like chickens, ducks, birds, and squirrels, etc.

  12. 19


    Those both look so delicious! I’ve just recently fallen in love with tuna kimbap, so both of these recipes sound perfect. I’m bookmarking them!

  13. 20

    YT says

    Hi Holly,
    I would like to know where did you get those kimchi because apparently being a Malaysian doesn’t make me you aware of such things!

    • 21

      Holly says

      There was a special promotion at the time at one of the Korean grocery store called Kims Mart in Mont Kiara. You can still buy a small package of Korean kimchi but higher in price, though. Look for Jongga or Haseonjung brand.

  14. 22


    you are TOO funny! i love this post so much and i can’t wait to make the patties. my kids adore onigiri…my littlest (2.5 years old) loves all things spicy and i’m sure she’ll devour these.
    22 lbs of kimchee…that’s ambitious! i ordered african chili peppers off the internet and now i have a 5-lb bag. i’m making my way through it, slowly but surely. :) good luck!

  15. 23


    Yes, yes! My mouth is watering! I love onigiri, and the contrast of rice and snappy seaweed. This looks delicious. I wish you could send some the 20 lbs of kimchi our way!

  16. 24

    Aspyn says

    Hello Holly!
    I love your blog and cannot wait to try these but I had a question, On the can of tuna you used as well as in the pictures I noticed something in there that looks like chopped up chilis. I was wondering what if anything came in the can of tuna or was it tuna only. I am in san diego Ca and most of the tuna here comes by itsef the kind you used(if it came with other things inside) seems like it would add to the flavor of the overall dish. I was wondering if the kind you used came with anything else and if so what? any help would be greatly appreciated = )
    Thank You

    • 25

      Holly says

      Hi Aspyn
      I used Korean brand can of tuna that was for to make kimchi stew with. It has some chopped up chili in the can. But you can use any chunky tuna for this recipe. Have fun making this recipe!

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