So, I have something to confess. I’m Korean and I didn’t eat kimchi properly until I was in college. Yeah, I know. Embarrassing. So, obviously, my parents cooked a ton of Korean food at home (love them for that). . I remember my dad would be sweating so much when he was eating really spicy food, like Yukgaejang (spicy beef and vegetable soup). His head would just be buried in the bowl, coming up only for air occasionally in between bites. I think everyone in my family could handle the heat, except me. Don’t know what happened.
I would dip my kimchi in water (I literally had a small bowl of water next to my plate whenever we ate kimchi at home) to get all the hot chili pepper flakes off, only to be left with the cabbage. Lame. Lame.
So, I’m not sure if it was missing Korean food at home, not having kimchi readily available when I wanted it or actually realizing I finally liked the taste and could handle the spiciness . . or all of the above- but finally, when I was living in Austin, Texas, attending UT, that was when I finally started eating kimchi the right way. Thank God I finally acquired the taste for kimchi or I would never be able to hold my head up! I mean- come on- Koreans eat kimchi. Kimchi is probably the one side dish (banchan) that Koreans cannot live without. I love eating kimchi with just plain ole rice and kim (dry seaweed). Love it.
My husband loves Korean food and spicy food so this one is for him (and was requested by him). You can’t get much simpler than Kimchi fried rice (Bokumbap). It’s pretty easy to make .. so if you like Korean food and want to try making something at home (and -of course- you eat and like kimchi), this one is for you. It’s important to have kimchi that’s very fermented. The fried rice won’t taste as good with new/fresh kimchi. This (and kimchi jigae; soup) is what a lot of Koreans make when their kimchi has become really fermented.
I hope you enjoy. . I am far from a cooking expert when it comes to Korean food. . but I’m learning from the best- my mom! And she’s here visiting me next week so I hope to post a few more Korean dishes soon. I am so mad at myself for skipping out or losing interest every time my mom wanted to have a korean cooking lesson with me when I was younger. I’m an idiot. . but will definitely make up for lost time!
Kimchi Fried Rice
Adapted from this recipe from YumSugar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for drizzling on rice
- 1-2 cups chopped chicken, beef or pork. I highly recommend using pork shoulder. (my husband likes a lot of meat; you can just add 1 cup if you prefer or have no meat at all)
- 3 cups day-old cooked brown or white short grain rice (I used brown rice; and if it’s not a day old, don’t sweat it)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cup roughly chopped kimchi, plus some reserved juice
- 2-3 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1-2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
- Scallions or chives, for garnish (optional)
- Fried eggs (optional)
- Heat oil in a wok or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add your meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through (about 2-3 minutes).
- Meanwhile, place cooked rice in a large bowl and drizzle with a little vegetable oil. Using your hands, gently mix in the oil into the rice. Just toss a few times. (You want to try to separate the rice without smushing it)
- To the wok, add the chopped kimchi and juice and stir to toss. Add the rice and toss to coat, distributing the ingredients evenly. Allow the rice to cook for about 8-10 minutes, tossing halfway through, or as needed, to keep the bottom of the rice from burning.
- Drizzle in the sesame oil and soy sauce, and toss to distribute evenly. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, tossing as needed. Taste for seasoning, and add a little more of sesame oil and/or soy sauce, if needed.
- A lot of people eat their kimchi fried rice with a fried egg so – if you want to add the egg: In a small pan, fry your eggs and use to top the kimchi fried rice.
- Garnish your fried rice with reserved scallions or chives.