Bulgogi Onigirazu (Rice Sandwich) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Bulgogi Onigirazu

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: bento box, lunch box, onigirazu, rice sandwich
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 Onigirazu (8 pieces)
Author: Nami
Packed with savory Korean grilled meat, eggs, vegetables & nori, this ultimate Bulgogi Onigirazu makes for a perfect summer lunch or picnic!



Bulgogi Marinade

Bean Sprouts:

  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (roasted)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • pinch kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt)
  • pinch kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt) (for blanching)
  • 6 oz bean sprouts (6 oz = 170 g, ½ package)
  • 1 green onion/scallion


  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (roasted)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • pinch kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt)
  • ½ bunch spinach


Shiitake Mushroom:


  • 1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
  • 4 large eggs


  • 4 bowls cooked Japanese short grain rice (4 bowls = cooked from 2 rice cooker cups)
  • 4 sheets nori (seaweed)
  • kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt) (optional)



  1. Gather all the ingredients.

    Bulgogi Onigirazu Ingredients

Bulgogi Marinade

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for Bulgogi marinade (1 Tbsp. sesame oil, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, and freshly ground black pepper). Grate ¼ of an Asian pear (About 2 Tbsp. after grated). Crush (or mince) 4 cloves garlic (About 2 tsp. minced garlic). Mix all together.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 1
  2. Cut the onion and 2” (5 cm) long carrot into thinly slices.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 2
  3. Cut the scallions into 2” (5cm) long pieces and cut the beef into thin 2” (5 cm) long strips slices. I froze the meat for 2 hours (depending on the size and thickness) prior to cutting the meat into thin slices (Click here for my tutorial).
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 3
  4. Toss the vegetables and meat together and coat with the marinade. Set aside for at least 20 minutes.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 4

Bean Sprouts & Spinach (optional)

  1. Prepare 2 medium bowls; in each bowl combine 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, ½ tsp. of minced garlic (=1 clove garlic), and a pinch of kosher salt. Mix well.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 5
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add 1 tsp. salt. Add the bean sprouts and cook for about 1 minute. We will need to reserve the boiling water for spinach, so scoop up the bean sprouts with a sieve or spider strainer. Run in cold water in the sink to stop cooking further with remaining heat and drain well. Set aside.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 6
  3. In the same boiling water, blanch the spinach for 30 seconds. Prepare iced water in a large bowl and transfer the spinach to the iced water to stop cooking.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 7
  4. Squeeze out water from spinach as much as you can and add to one of the bowls with seasonings. Toss well with the sauce.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 8
  5. Thinly cut the green onions. Add the bean sprouts and green onion in the other bowl and toss well with the sauce.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 9

Carrot & Shiitake Mushrooms (optional)

  1. Cut the carrot in half widthwise, about 2” (5 cm) length. Cut each piece into thin slices, and julienne the carrots. Cut the shiitake mushrooms into thin slices.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 10
  2. Heat 1 tsp. sesame oil in a large frying pan and add the carrot. Season with a pinch of salt and sauté till tender. If your pan is big enough to add shiitake mushrooms, move the carrot to one side when it’s cooked half way. Add 1 tsp. sesame oil in the open space and add shiitake mushrooms. Season with a pinch of salt and sauté till tender. If your frying pan is small, cook one ingredient at a time; transfer the carrot to a plate and cook shiitake mushrooms after. When carrot and shiitake mushrooms are both tender (but not over cooked), transfer to a plate and set aside.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 11

Eggs (optional)

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. cooking oil in the large frying pan and make fried eggs. I cook the eggs “over hard” so egg yolk won’t be runny and messy when Onigirazu is cut in half.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 12

Grill the Meat

  1. In a large skillet (I use a griddle pan so I can grill the meat in a single layer), heat 1 Tbsp. sesame oil over medium high heat and sauté the marinated beef until cooked, about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to the plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 13

Gochujang Sauce (optional)

  1. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix all together. Add 1-2 Tbsp. water until you achieve the consistency you like.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 14

Assmeble Onigirazu

  1. Place a plastic wrap on a working surface and put a sheet of nori seaweed on top (shiny side facing down), with a corner pointing up. Evenly spread the steamed rice in a thin layer and form into a square shape in the center of nori sheet. If you make Onigirazu with different ingredients that have more mild taste, sprinkling salt at this step is very important, especially if you planning on eating it at room temperature.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 15
  2. Place Bulgogi on top of the rice in a thin layer. Then put spinach, bean sprouts, carrot, and shiitake in a thin layer on top of the meat.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 16
  3. Add the fried egg and then steamed rice on top. Try to keep the square shape as you spread the rice evenly in a thin layer.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 17
  4. Bring left and right corners of nori sheet towards the center. Fold gently but tightly to wrap around the layers at the center.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 18
  5. Then bring bottom and top corners towards the center. Continue to fold gently but tightly around the layers. Make sure the rice is tucked in nicely. If you like the Onigirazu to showcase the ingredients after cutting in half, mark with a piece of carrot perpendicular to the ingredients (see video). Flip over and shape the Onigirazu gently. Wrap with plastic wrap tightly and set aside for 5 minutes.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 19
  6. Cut the Onigirazu with a sharp knife (following your “carrot” mark). Run your knife in cold water before cutting so that the cross-section will be clean. If you plan to make ahead of time, wrap the onigirazu with kitchen towel and keep in the refrigerator overnight. The towel will prevent rice from getting harder from cold air.
    Bulgogi Onigirazu 20

Recipe Notes

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.