Kimchi Fried Rice

By • September 10, 2013 • 18 Comments



Author Notes: If you’re not yet sure about kimchi (Korean spicy fermented cabbage), this dish could be just the right gateway drug for you. Once sautéed, kimchi loses some of its pungent harshness, but answers back with an addictive, tangy-spicy warmth that deepens with a little time spent sizzling.

Kimchi is so flavorful, it makes the perfect fried rice base. No need to mix in egg or smother it with soy sauce. You could probably dispense with every other ingredient; all you really need is kimchi, rice, and heat. It would still taste so good.

This recipe has a little more than that going for it, though. I based it off a recipe I found in a discount Japanese cookbook, of all places (from a series that a friend and I have dubbed "bookazines"), and modified it to be more like dishes I’ve enjoyed in restaurants in Korea. I added gochujang (Korean chili paste), sesame oil, and a fried egg on top (because few dishes are not improved by a fried egg!).

For the fried rice in the photo, I opted for shrimp, but I’ve also made it with chicken before (and pork would work, too). Or leave the protein out entirely. Like I said, all you really need is kimchi, rice, and heat to make this spicy, tangy comfort food.

Adapted from a recipe by Kumi Imaizumi in the Japanese cookbook called "One Dish Cooking."
Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

Food52 Review: As Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) suggests, this recipe is fine without the addition of meat. I made a vegetarian version, using a kimchi without seafood, and it is a satisfying, tasty dish -- comfort food for those of us who turn to warm bowls of rice in those times of need. While I would scale back the amount of sesame oil (for me a full teaspoon verges on bitter), what really makes the dish is the garnish of seaweed, egg, and green onion, which for me aren't optional. I can see many chilly winter mornings with a nice, steamy bowl of this for breakfast.vvvanessa

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound chicken or pork (cut into bite-size), or shrimp, optional
  • 4 to 5 scallions, whites only, finely sliced
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cup kimchi, chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 pinch salt, to taste

Optional Ingredients

  • 1/2 bunch buchu (Korean garlic chives; called nira in Japanese), chopped in inch-long pieces
  • 1 fried egg (per person), to serve on top
  • 4 to 5 scallion greens, to garnish
  • Shredded seaweed, to garnish
  1. Heat canola or vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan over high heat. Then add chicken, pork, or raw shrimp (if using) and cook, stirring frequently, for several minutes until the meat changes color and begins to look nearly cooked. Add more oil if necessary.
  2. Add the scallion whites, and cook while stirring for 1 to 2 minutes. Next add kimchi and kochujang, and cook while stirring for 3 to 5 minutes until the kimchi starts to get soft. (If using pre-cooked shrimp, add now, and stir to coat with kimchi flavors.)
  3. Add the rice, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Then mix well until the rice is coated with the kimchi. (You can always add a little bit of the briny liquid from the kimchi jar if it seems like there’s not enough color or spice for all of your rice!)
  4. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for just a few more minutes until the rice is warmed through. Add the garlic chives in the last minute of cooking, and stir well until they start to wilt. Season with salt, to taste.
  5. Serve topped with a fried egg and sprinkled with scallions or shredded seaweed.
Jump to Comments (18)

Tags: kim chee, kimchi, pantry, rice, spicy

Comments (18) Questions (0)

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Stringio

4 months ago Jason Kim

well done with the recipe and beautiful picture!! ^^

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4 months ago Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

Thanks! ^^ (I didn't take the main photo, though -- just the second one -- but I think it's beautiful too.)

Stringio

5 months ago Imik Mik

But then you kill all of the probiotics in kimchi! I think I will add a bit of Kimchi brine to the cooking pot, but add the actual Kimchi after the rice is cooked. Great idea nevertheless.

Stringio

4 months ago Jason Kim

most koreans use over-ripened kimchi to add more pungency and taste to the fried rice, thus they saute it to mellow it out. if you add it later, you're gonna have some seriously sour fried rice. ^^

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4 months ago Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

Yes, I think you'd miss out on the real flavors of this dish if you didn't cook the kimchi. Sometimes I eat raw/fermented kimchi for the probiotics, but when I make kimchi fried rice, I'm just eating it for the taste!

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6 months ago LaCeleste

A Mark Bittman version of this -- amazing -- recipe substitutes butter for the sesame oil in Step 3. Untraditional, but I love it, and always make it that way now.

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4 months ago Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

Oo, wow, I'll have to try it with butter sometime.

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6 months ago aubrey | drum beets

well this is a new favorite recipe. i added scrambled eggs instead of meat, and it was aaaaamazing. also, a fried egg on top. because i love eggs.

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4 months ago Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

That sounds good. You can never have too many eggs! :)

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7 months ago Rob Citron

How about a recipe for kimchi? has anyone got one?

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7 months ago GretchinF

This is a great jumping off point. When you make it once you'll know what tweaks you'd like to see next time. Sometimes I replace the sugar with fruit... anything to kickstart the fermentation, really. http://www.steamykitchen...

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7 months ago mary

Use day old rice to prevent mushiness.

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4 months ago Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

Yes, it's definitely better with day-old cooked rice that's been refrigerated overnight, but I also often make it with just-cooked rice, and it still works fine.

Stringio

7 months ago Caroline Manuel

Bacon is delicious added to kimchee fried rice. just the right amount of smokiness.

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11 months ago fromage

Oh, so good! This evening, this Hawaii girl introduced her mainland man to kimchi with this meal. I'll admit he was a little wary when I opened the jar, but he devoured the finished product. Great recipe!

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11 months ago Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

Thanks; I'm so happy to hear you both enjoyed it!

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11 months ago foxeslovelemons

Yes! Kimchi Fried Rice was the kimchi gateway drug for me :) Mine wasn't nearly this gourmet though. I love this recipe. Congrats on the CP!

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12 months ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

Looks great!