Kimchi Mari (김치말이) – Cold Kimchi Rice

cold kimchi rice

kimchimari (cold kimchi and rice)

Yesterday was one of those days when I really did not feel like cooking anything but still wanted to have something good to eat for lunch. And then it hit me…Kimchimari. I almost forgot how great this is! I LOVE how easy this is to make and how light and refreshing it is. I used to make this all the time when I lived in Korea. And thus, this now inspired me to name my blog domain –!

Now, if you don’t have any friends or family who came from North Korea during the Korean war, you probably have not heard of this dish before. Kimchimari is very uniquely North Korean, similar to Naengmyun(냉면) or Bossam Kimchi(보쌈김치). And unlike the latter dishes, very few restaurants serve Kimchimari. I think I have rarely seen it in menus in all the restaurants I have visited in Seoul.

Because both sides of my family are originally from North Korea (both my parents escaped separately to South Korea during the war and met up again afterwards-talk about destiny..), I grew up eating many North Korean dishes such as the ones above. As a kid, I often had sleep overs at my cousins home and my aunt made Kimchimari for us as a night time snack! When I first saw it, I thought they were crazy – eating a full rice meal as a snack. But once I tasted it, I could not stop eating it. Kimchimari is especially refreshing and delicious when it is made with ice cold Kimjang kimchi(김장김치) during the winter months. But not many of us have that luxury so just use the best quality, well fermented kimchi you can get and it will still be good.

The word ‘mari(말이)’ comes from the verb ‘malda(말다)’ which refers to the act of adding and mixing rice in  a broth or soup. So, Kimchimari by definition is rice mixed into kimchi soup. However, the version I introduce here is a dry version without the soup. I am not sure why my family made this version without the soup but I actually prefer this version when rice is used because it’s kind of hard to find the rice once they are swimming in the soup! So I guess this recipe is a unique family recipe.

Print Recipe


Servings:  1                                            Prep Time: 5 min                                   Difficulty: very easy

Ingredients for kimchimari

Ingredients for kimchimari


  • 1 C cooked rice
  • 1/3 C sliced baechu(napa cabbage) kimchi
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • sprinkling of sesame seeds


1. Measure about 1 C of cooked rice. Room temperature rice works best. Use leftover, old rice if you have any. If using freshly cooked rice, let it cool and come to room temperature.

2. Slice baechu(napa cabbage) kimchi into bite sizes pieces (about 1/3 in wide). Measure about 1/3 C. Use more if you want it to be more flavorful and spicy.

3. Add kimchi, sesame oil, sugar and sesame seeds to rice. Mix everything together with a spoon.

kimchi and rice

kimchi and rice

4. That’s it! Taste it and adjust sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds. My mouth is watering just looking at these pictures…

This is all you need to make a nice, simple meal. Banchan such as myulchi bokkeum, sauteed burdock, sauteed dried shrimp will all go really well with this dish.


  • Substitute or add radish or other kind of kimchi to vary the flavor
  • Add some kimchi juice or dongchimi 동치미 juice to the rice if you want to make it moist. If you are making it very soupy, add some ice to make it extra crispy and zingy.


Kimchimari Guksoo (김치말이 국수) is a cold kimchi noodle soup that is similar to the soupy rice version. This is easier to find at restaurants than the rice dish.

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11 thoughts on “Kimchi Mari (김치말이) – Cold Kimchi Rice

  1. Caroline April 25, 2012 at 10:27 am Reply

    Hm that looks delicious indeed! I actually don’t like cold rice much at all but this looks so good that I will have to make it anyway! :) Thanks for posting this recipe!

    • JinJoo April 25, 2012 at 5:32 pm Reply

      thanks! I usually don’t like lukewarm, room temperature stuff too – I like it either really hot or really cold. But I would say this is an exception. Hope you like it!

  2. Silbi May 1, 2012 at 11:33 pm Reply

    Looks delicious! I will have to try it soon. My grandparents on my mom’s side are from North Korea too. Sadly my grandma and grandpa both had their respective families in North Korea but lost contact with them. But they made a new family including my mom and her three sisters! My mom makes the cold kimchi noodles often, but I’ve never had the rice version!

    • JinJoo May 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm Reply

      Good to hear from another person who has relatives who lived in North Korea! I know.. aren’t cold kimchi noodles so yummy?! Definitely try the rice version and let me know how you like it! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. diydumpling May 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm Reply

    I just recently watched my aunt who is 81 and hails from the northern region of Korea do her version of this dish. She mixed her homemade white kimchi and its liquid into plain white rice until everything looked right to her and then voila––a satisfying easy one-bowl meal!

    • JinJoo May 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm Reply

      Yes, I remember that version very well. And the North Korean style white kimchi is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Pucelle May 27, 2012 at 6:55 pm Reply

    Is the North Korean style white kimchi the one that’s not spicy and is more fruity?

    • JinJoo May 28, 2012 at 3:41 pm Reply

      Yes! It is white (which means there is no red chili) and not at all spicy. People also add Asian pears to it which makes it taste a little fruity..
      thanks for asking!

  5. useyourcleanser September 12, 2012 at 12:18 am Reply

    Yesh ! another way to enjoy my kimchi :)

    Thank you for the recipe, I bought a big jar of kimchi it’s quite boring to eat it as side dish sometime. This recipe is just perfect for someone lazy and love to eat good food like me haha !

    Would it ok if I use normal rice rather than sticky rice ?

    • JinJoo September 13, 2012 at 5:01 am Reply

      Great to hear that! When you say “normal” rice – do you mean the long grain rice? The best rice to use is the short grain rice which I think is sometimes called sticky rice since it is lot stickier than the long grain. I think long grain rice should be ok – totally different texture tho.

  6. haley carol November 2, 2012 at 12:31 am Reply

    looks good!!!1

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