Kimchi fried rice (김치 볶음밥 – gimchi bokkeumbap – “keem-chee polk-oom-bahp” – kimchi stir-fried rice) is one of my favorite foods ever!! It tastes so good that you really have to taste it!! It can be very spicy or mild depending on your kimchi. The taste is very good, with kimchi’s flavor but not as sharp as raw kimchi.
If you have not heard of kimchi (possible if you are very new to Korean food), it is a Korean food of napa cabbage with spicy seasoning paste (this has lots of garlic, onion, green onion, some ginger and apple for sweetness, and salty from fish sauce or fermented baby shrimp). If you are not accustomed to Asian food, this may seem like a strange food, but I think it is very tasty. Many Americans think that kimchi smells terrible and tastes ever worse. (I have little idea how this is possible, as I despise the smell of fish sauce, stinky tofu, and salted fish, but I find kimchi’s smell to be fine. It includes fish sauce and/or fermented baby shrimp, which both smell very bad, but combined with the garlic and onion, the smells are gone.) Cooking kimchi into kimchi fried rice makes it less strongly flavored. (This DOES kill the beneficial bacteria though.) Even kimchi haters can enjoy kimchi fried rice!
I usually buy kimchi from the Korean grocery store because it is too much work for me to make at home. However, people interested should definitely check out Maangchi’s recipe for mak kimchi, which is made from napa cabbage cut into squares, which I always make if I feel like making it instead of buying it. You can also check out her tongbaechu kimchi recipe, made from quartered napa cabbage. It is more challenging and harder to serve too, but it is the traditional method.
For kimchi fried rice, I follow the recipe below, adapted from Aeri’s Kitchen recipe for kimchi fried rice. It is very delicious and worth making!!
Ingredients: Serves 2
2 generous cups cooked Korean/Japanese white rice (can use Calrose rice)
1 cup kimchi, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 tsp white sugar
1 pinch salt
2 tbsp kimchi liquid (When you take out the kimchi and chop, liquid will drain from the kimchi. Use this liquid. If it is not yet 2 tbsp, supplement with liquid from the jar of kimchi.)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 eggs, cooking oil
toasted white sesame seeds (black sesame or combination is good too)
finely chopped green onion
julienned toasted nori
1. Fry the eggs in a pan with oil. You can fry both sides, or do sunny side up.
2. Heat a pan, add 1/2 tbsp oil.
3. Add kimchi and stir. Add sugar, stir, and cook, stirring once a while, over medium-high heat, until the liquid has evaporated and kimchi is lightly browned a little. (around 5 minutes)
4. Add rice. Sprinkle salt, kimchi liquid, and 1/2 tbsp oil evenly on top. Mix well with kimchi.
5. Cook, stirring once a while, until dry to your liking. I prefer drier kimchi fried rice, so it may take up to 10 minutes.
6. Add sesame oil and combine well.
7. Serve on plates or in bowls (I prefer bowls for rice dishes), top with fried eggs, sesame seeds, green onion, and nori.
8. Enjoy! I hope you love it because I do!