Korean BBQ Maki Made Easy and Fun

Last week, I shared my recipe of "Roy Choiized" Bibimbap. I hope you had a chance to make this delicious and healthy Korean rice dish. This week, I want to share how you can use the same concept and similar ingredients to create a different dish with the leftovers.



The wonderful thing about cooking a lot of food is the feeling of abundance and showing your guests hospitality. People love Thanksgiving and big holidays because of the plethora of food. Looking at a dining table full of delicious dishes makes us feel satisfied. It is, however, a shame if we have to throw away the leftovers. Never feel bad having leftovers in your fridge!



Think about leftovers from another perspective! Isn't it fun to use those leftover and be creative? Plus, the food is pre-cooked! You're halfway done! I always have leftover ingredients from teaching, and I never want to throw them away. Being a single parent, I must be smart at managing the finances and food cost for my family. At the same time, I must make sure I create delicious and fun food for my children using the ingredients I have.



One day, my BFF Claire and her children were coming to my place for a swimming playdate. I had just finished teaching a sushi class and had plenty of leftover seasoned sushi rice and julienned vegetables, such as red bell peppers and cucumbers. I didn't have any leftover raw fish or grilled eels. Those ingredients were first to be gone since every student wanted to have salmon, yellowtail, tuna, or grilled eel for their maki. Fortunately, I had kimchi and marinated Korean BBQ pork belly in my fridge!





As I mentioned in my blog, "Bibimbap: A Korean Rice Dish for A Clean Fridge and Healthy Heart," I love Chef Roy's sweet and salty Korean short rib meat marinate recipe. I encourage you to use the marinate on not only short ribs, but also pork belly, beef, chicken, and almost any meat you fancy. I used the leftover veggies and rice, I grilled some Roy Choiized pork belly, and I grabbed the jar of kimchi and made many delicious Korean BBQ maki for the swimming pool party!



When I make food for my children, I enjoy making something fun. If you're my loyal follower, you may have read my blog, "Taiyaki: Whimsical Fish-Shaped Treats and Cooking with My Kids." The look of dessert can be ordinary, like a snickerdoodle can look plain and boring, but children will still eat it because it's sweet. On the other hand, it can be a challenge to encourage children to eat savory food, especially ingredients they have never tasted before, such as nori (seaweed) or tofu.



My children love seaweed, and they associate seaweed with rice. Why? Because I have some special stamps, and I used them to cut out cute emoji faces from nori. I also have fun molds to make rice balls shaped liked trains, bunnies, clouds, tigers, frogs, you name it! So, while hanging out with my friend and her kids, I used the leftover rice to make some rice balls and decorated them with nori emoji faces.



If you want to flavor your sushi rice, I recommend you get some furikake and mix it with your rice. Furikake (振り掛け/ ふりかけ) is a dry Japanese seasoning. It typically consists of a mixture of dried fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, salt, and monosodium glutamate. Other flavorful ingredients such as katsuobushi (sometimes called bonito), okaka (bonito flakes moistened with soy sauce and dried again), freeze-dried salmon particles, shiso, egg, powdered miso, and vegetables are often added to the mix. Furikake is often brightly colored and flaky. It can have a slight fish or seafood flavoring and is sometimes spicy. I get furikake at H Mart. I saw a cheese flavor furikake once and bought it. It was quite good! Want to skip a schlep to H Mart? You can also order the furikake online!





Besides maki and rice balls, my daughter's favorite sushi is Inarizushi. Inarizushi is sushi consisting of a pouch of fried tofu filled with rice and topped with different kinds of foods such as sesame seeds, fish roe, avocado, or raw fish. My recipe in the blog, "Vegan Sushi Recipe For Inarizushi. In Honor of Veganuary 2018" calls for carrots and shiitake mushroom. Shiitake mushrooms have a very strong umami aroma. Every time I stir fry shiitake mushrooms, the entire apartment smells heavenly! This is a perfect dish for the lunch box too!



You can get creative with what you put in your pouch of tofu. If you're on a vegan diet, stick with shiitake mushroom and carrots; if you're into spicy food, top it with spicy tuna and avocado; if you're a salmon lover, stuff the tofu pouch with raw salmon and top it with salmon roe. The concept is similar to a taco, but instead of putting your favorite ingredients into a tortilla, you put the ingredients you love into the tofu pouch.



Want to learn more about furikake and other Asian spice and condiment at H mart? Their meat selection is great for a yakiniku or shabu-shabu (Japanese hot pot) party. I also buy raw fish there for sushi parties. If you get intimated shopping in an Asian supermarket or have questions regarding Asian produce, condiments, and spices, book the Market Secrets Tour with me! This is a two-hour foodies' delight. We tour each aisle, exploring Asian produce, ingredients, sauces, and cookware. Anyone who enjoys cooking Asian food will be overjoyed to get the inside scoop on what to buy in H Mart. Then we go to the food court to learn about iconic comfort foods of Asia and decide on what to enjoy for lunch. During lunch, we do a Q and A.





Making Sushi Rice

Melissa's Easy Sushi Rice

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
AuthorMelissa Lee


  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons mirin


  • Cook rice according to directions. Remove the rice from the heat but keep the lid closed and allow to rest for 10 min.
  • Transfer rice into a glass dish to cool and lightly fan the rice while adding the vinegar mixture.
  • Mix rice gently to incorporate the vinegar mixture, covered with a lightly damp towel, and allow to cool to body temperature or room temperature. Keep rice covered during use.

Did you make this recipe?


Tag @cookingbeautifullee on Instagram and hashtag it #cookedbeautifullee.


Making Roy Choi's Sweet and Salty Pork Belly

Sweet and Salty Pork Belly

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time5 mins
AuthorRoy Choi


  • 1 pound Berkshire pork belly slice from H Mart
  • 1 small onion coarsely chopped
  • 4 scallions coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


  • In a blender, make the sweet and salty marinate by pureeing the onion, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, orange juice, mirin, sesame oil, sugar, and sesame seeds until smooth.
  • Marinate the meat with one cup for at least thirty minutes. (Save the rest of the marinate for other dishes.) I prefer to cover and refrigerate the meat overnight.
  • Bring the beef to room temperature before cooking.
  • Add some cooking oil into a wok and cook the meat on medium-high to high heat. It takes about 3 to 5 mins to thoroughly cook it.

Did you make this recipe?


Tag @cookingbeautifullee on Instagram and hashtag it #cookedbeautifullee.


Assembling the Korean BBQ Maki

Korean BBQ Maki

Prep Time20 mins
AuthorMelissa Lee


  • 2 cups cooked sushi rice
  • 10 sheets nori
  • 1 16 oz jar of kimchi
  • 1 cucumber peeled and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper julienned
  • 1 pound sweet and salty pork belly cut into long strips


  • Place 1 sheet of seaweed on a bamboo mat.
  • Press a thin layer of cool rice on the seaweed. Leave at least 1/2 inch from the top and bottom edge of the seaweed uncovered. This is for easier sealing later.
  • Arrange cucumber, red bell pepper, kimchi, and pork belly to the rice. Position them about 1 inch away from the bottom edge of the seaweed.
  • Slightly wet the top edge of the seaweed. Roll from bottom to the top edge with the help of the bamboo mat tightly.
  • Cut roll into 8 equal pieces and serve.

Did you make this recipe?


Tag @cookingbeautifullee on Instagram and hashtag it #cookedbeautifullee.

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Melissa Lee

Melissa Lee

Chief Entertainment Officer

Melissa is 100% MIT (Made in Taiwan), where she worked as a food writer. She’s also worked alongside renowned chefs like Ming Tsai and Joanne Chang, honing her craft and gathering stories along the way. Part story-teller, part educator, and part food lover, Melissa brings a special blend of experience, skill, and enthusiasm to her work. She blends her Asian background, her new home of New England, and love of food and culture to bring joy, optimism, and inspiration to food lovers and fun-seekers everywhere.

What sparked your passion for the industry?
The desire to make things by hand. The joy of sharing delicious, hearty food with students. The opportunity for people to get connected via cooking and baking. When a child smiled broadly and told me it’s the best scone he has ever made and eaten, it really made my day!

In your opinion, what’s the most important course?
Well, I usually take a peek at the wine list first. I like tapas style, so the course doesn’t really matter. Cheese and charcuterie are always a good place to start. And since I’m a pastry chef, there is always room for dessert!

Bill Gates is picking up your tab, where would you go?
Noma, Copenhagen.

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