Kimchi Fried Rice
Do you love kimchi? I have been obsessed with kimchi lately since I made my own first batch at home. Kimchi has been my newest essential ingredient in my pantry. This red fermented cabbage is perfect eaten either as a meal or a condiment. When I want to cook tasty lunch from an almost empty fridge, kimchi fried rice or kimchi bokkeumbap (김치 볶음밥) is perfect to toss up with using leftover rice and kimchi. This recipe features minimal ingredients to make kimchi fried rice, so feel free to give it more texture and flavor by adding a variety of meat or vegetables.
Tips on Making Kimchi Fried Rice
1. Use cold rice
Fried rice it the ultimate easy meal with every ingredients are all thrown together and cooked in a matter of mere minutes. The most important thing that you need to keep in mind when making fried rice is to start with cold day-old rice. If you start with just-cooked rice, your fried rice will turn out soggy and moist. Meanwhile, cooked rice that has been left for at least a day ahead of time and refrigerated is drier and less starchy than the freshly cooked rice. This helps to give your fried rice a good texture with those distinct chewy and firm grains that a good fried rice has.
If you cook the kimchi fried rice with cold rice but it still turns out too moist, use a little less water than called next time to make the rice slightly drier.
2. Use mature kimchi
Kimchi’s flavor is pretty complex depending on the vegetables, length of fermentation, and the amount of salt or sugar used. The main flavor notes you will find in kimchi include sour, spicy, and umami. Because kimchi is a fermented dish, it has a prominent sour flavor as the lactic acid produced by bacteria during fermentation creates a tangy and pungent flavor.
You can make your own kimchi at home from my Napa Cabbage Kimchi recipe. When you cook with kimchi, it is better to use mature or well-fermented kimchi. It means to use old kimchi with a strong flavor compared to the ones stored for a short period of time which has more raw taste. The fermentation not only add sour note flavor but also deepen the umami flavor in kimchi that make the dish more flavorful.
3. Squeeze out the juice of the kimchi
As kimchi is somewhat wet, I like to squeeze the juice out of the kimchi when measuring so that we get just enough juice to flavor the rice without making it soggy. It will also reduce the water content in fried rice and make the fried rice somewhat dry and firm.
4. Adjust the seasoning
Since kimchi varies in saltiness, taste the kimchi fried rice and add more soy sauce if needed. Moreover, if you do not like spicy kimchi fried rice, you can omit the gochujang (Korean red pepper paste).
5. Kimchi fried rice variations
Many Koreans usually put a sunny side up egg on top of kimchi fried rice. Some people also like to scramble the egg before you fry the rice.
If you want to get even more flavor and texture, add some meat and vegetables to compliment your kimchi fried rice. Some popular choice of meats include pork, bacon, and ham. You can also substitute meat with tofu for a vegetarian kimchi fried rice. Just feel free to experiment once you have gotten a hang of the basic recipe.
Kimchi Fried Rice
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 onion diced
- 1 cup chopped kimchi
- 3 cups cooked short-grain rice
- 1/4 cup kimchi juice
- 1-2 tbsp gochujang
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds (optional)
- scallion finely chopped (optional)
- roasted seasoned seaweed shredded or cut thinly (optional)
- 2 sunny side up eggs (optional)
Put the vegetable oil in a frying pan and heat over medium high heat until hot. Add garlic, onion, and chopped kimchi and stir fry until the kimchi is starting to brown.
Add the rice, kimchi juice, gochujang, soy sauce, and sugar. Stir-fry throughly until well combined with high heat.
Add the sesame oil and mix them well. Remove from the heat.
Serve with sesame seeds, scallion, seaweed strips, and cooked eggs on top (optional).