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11.7.14 Kimchi Fried Rice

11.7.14 Kimchi Fried Rice

This recipe has been a long time in the making. It all started a few weeks back when I picked up my CSA share and found myself completely inundated with napa cabbage and kohlrabi. I pondered what to do with them for a few days, but to no avail. And then, just when I was about to give up all hope, I spotted a jar of kimchi while perusing the local Asian grocery store, and it all came together. I knew exactly what had to happen. As someone who usually has some sort of fermentation experiment going on in the kitchen at any given time, I was somewhat shocked that this thought hadn’t occurred to me sooner. Nevertheless, I scooped up a big jar of Korean red chili flakes, and rushed home to start fermenting.

If you’re not familiar with kimchi, it’s a quintessential Korean dish made of vegetables fermented with hot pepper. With its uniquely spicy, sour, and slightly funky flavor, it makes for one versatile condiment. While it’s commonly made with cabbage, the great part about kimchi is that you can also make it from other types of vegetables as well, which I realized would be helpful in making a dent in my kohlrabi stockpile (you may think this is an overstatement, but seriously, look in my fridge). Also great is that, while making your own kimchi is easy, and mostly just requires a lot of patience rather than real actual work, you can also just as easily buy some at your local Asian grocery store if you want to have some on hand (which I highly recommend). I, of course decided to try my hand at the homemade kind.

Before long, I had one huge, delicious jar of homemade kimchi in my fridge, and all was right with the world. I mean, I’m the kind of person who feels that a big spoonful on kimchi on most anything makes it just a little bit better. Of course, I wasn’t about to relegate my kimchi solely to condiment status. I figured I could also use it to make something more substantial. Something like fried rice. Now obviously, I’m not the first one to have this idea. Kimchi fried rice, or kimchi bokkeumbap, is a popular dish in Korea. And after making some of my own, it’s easy to see why. Crispy rice and tangy kimchi cooked up with scallions and topped with a fried egg - it’s so simple, yet so delicious.

Kimchi Fried Rice

serves 2

For best results, use rice that has been cooked at least a day in advance and has had some time to dry out in the refrigerator. This will ensure your finished rice has a nice, crispy texture. As far as kimchi goes, the more sour your kimchi is, the better. Store bought kimchi will work great, but in my opinion, homemade is the best. If you’re looking for a good kimchi recipe to get you started, this one from our friends at Things I Made Today is a good one.

  • 1 ½ Tbsp canola oil
  • 3 whole scallions, chopped
  • ¾ cup chopped kimchi + 2 Tbsp kimchi liquid
  • 1 ½ cups cooked rice
  • 1 tsp soy sauce + more to taste
  • 1 ½ tsp sesame oil, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • gochugaru (korean red chili flake) and sesame seeds for serving

1. Heat oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat until oil is hot and shimmering, about 2-3 minutes. Add the white and light green parts of the scallions (dark green parts will be saved for garnish), and stir fry for 30 seconds.

2. Add the kimchi and continue to stir fry for another minute. Add the rice, and cook stirring often, until rice starts to crisp up, about 3-5 minutes.

3. Add the kimchi juice, soy sauce, and ½ tsp sesame oil, and cook until liquid is evaporated and rice is crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Taste rice, and add more soy sauce if additional salt is needed. Divide rice between two bowls.

4. Return pan to medium high heat, and heat the remaining 1 tsp sesame oil, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan. Crack the eggs into the pan, and fry until edges are crispy and yolk has reached your desired consistency.

5. Top each bowl of rice with one fried egg, half the reserved chopped scallion greens, a sprinkle of gochugaru, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Enjoy immediately.

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