There are few treats more satisfying than a big plate of fried rice. My flavour packed Korean kimchi fried rice is a taste sensation. Learn how…
Born out of a need to use up the previous night's leftover rice, fried rice became a staple as a morning dish throughout Asia. Most Asian countries boast a tasty fried rice dish - and they're all delicious. Have you tried a simple egg fried rice or a fried rice with salt fish from China? Or how about a Laoatian fried rice ball salad Nam Khao? it's an absolute dream! Lastly, how can I look past the mighty nasi goreng from Indonesia and Malaysia? It's one of my all time favourite foods period. But the one I find the most intoxicating and the one I find myself thinking about all-the-time is Korean kimchi fried rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap - 볶음밥).
What is kimchi fried rice?
If you're not already familiar with this beloved Korean staple, kimchi is a fermented vegetable condiment - preserved in chilli and salt. Usually cabbage or radish, kimchi is found in every house in every town and city in Korea. It's like salt & pepper. There are literally hundreds of varieties available, and every mother, auntie and grandmother has their one secret kimchi recipe.
The magic happens when the vegetable is fermented over time in the Korean chilli, salt and other ingredients. It's left for months at a time to develop in flavour and bacteria which aids the fermentation. Kimchi is a low calorie, healthy food, rich in antioxidants and is said to help with cancer prevention and ageing amongst other things. Learn more about this superfood here.
Kimchi is elevated even further when it's combined with rice and fried. It's a taste and textural explosion. A heady, hearty and utterly delicious combo.
Leftover Rice; the perfect partner to kimchi
The key to this Korean fried rice recipe is not only the kimchi, but the leftover rice. Rice that has cooled and dried out a little is perfect for absorbing the sauce without just turning into mush. I will never really have leftover rice because I'm greedy, so I will purposely make a pan of rice the night before and when its cooked, spread onto a baking sheet, cover and refrigerate until I need it. I'll also order a couple extra portions when ordering Asian food and force myself not to eat it.
Kimchi bacon fried rice - I think you'll love it.
Often, kimchi fried rice comes with a salty element, like Chinese sausage or Spam (they LOVE kimchi fried rice in Hawaii) and bacon! Who doesn't love bacon?! For my recipe I like to use salt pork - it has ALL the saltiness of bacon without the smoky flavour which is what I want for the dish - I don't want the bacon to take over, more just to enhance the saltiness of my version of Korean kimchi fried rice. And let me tell you, it works an absolute dream! If you can't get hold of salt pork (I buy mine at Walmart) you can of course use slab bacon or just regular bacon.
Quick and easy fried rice
Kimchi fried rice is simple to put together - there are few ingredients and the whole dish is done before you know it. One great ingredient I haven't mentioned yet is Gochujang - Korean chilli paste. It's available from most supermarkets these days and while not totally essential, adds another level of authentic Korean flavour to this bokkeumbap recipe. Again, not off the chart spicy, more rounded and lightly sweet - it's completely addictive.
Serving suggestions and substitutes - gotta have a fried egg!
We can't really substitute the kimchi in this recipe, but should you not be able to get hold of any, but you DO have a tub of Gochujang chilli paste, then simply, combine some cabbage with that and you've got a quick fix kimchi - more of a Gochujang fried rice, but still utterly delicious.
One essential in my opinion (in fact, in most people's opinion) is a fried egg. I will never be mad at a fried egg, and a fried rice is nothin without one. I demand on whenever I have fried rice and am very sad if one is not forthcoming. I love to leave mine in for a little longer than usual to ensure it gets a really crispy bottom, while still having