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Kimchi fried rice - kimchi bokkeumbap

Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap) Recipe

For those who are unfamiliar (or have never eaten at a food truck), kimchi is a staple food of Korean cuisine and can be found in countless Korean dishes. Kimchi Bokkeumbap is one such dish, an extremely popular Korean comfort food consisting of nothing more complicated than day-old rice and kimchi. Kimchi fried rice is a quick and easy meal to make is often topped with a fried egg but can also sometimes be served with Spam. Yes, Spam.*

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish of spicy fermented vegetables, most commonly cabbage and daikon radish. There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi though — fresh and fermented — that use cucumbers, scallions, carrots and any vegetable you care to pickle really. Kimchi is more of a method to pickle vegetables than any one specific dish but a common preparation would likely include cabbage and daikon radish, ginger, and gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes) sealed in a jar with a seasoned seafood brine. Traditionally, you would then bury the jar in the backyard for several months to ferment but that step is totally up to you.

If it sounds like fermented cabbage and radish might be an acquired taste, you’re probably right — it’s sour, spicy and can smell pretty terrible, so there might be a bit of a curve there for some people. On the other hand, kimchi is quite addictive and many people can’t live without it. And one thing that isn’t in dispute, kimchi is crazy good for you. A probiotic storehouse of vitamins, minerals antioxidants and essential amino acids. It is low in calories and high in fiber. It boosts the immune system, helps lower cholesterol, and fights obesity, diabetes, aging and cancer. Not a bad trade for some sour cabbage.

* Regarding Spam — I can’t seem to wrap my head around Korea’s postwar fascination with Spam. I mean, I completely get that Spam is a divisive food; while I may think that it’s a tin can that makes a sickening slurping sound when you let that perfect block of sweaty, mushed-up pig ooze out, others love it. No problems there, live and let ooze. It’s the fact that Spam has practically become a form of currency in Korea that is bizarre to me. Spam — (Spam!) — is a coveted luxury item gifted in extravagant suitcase boxes packaged with bottles of canola oil as heartwarming presents to loved ones. That seems a lot like putting a bow on a can of tuna for my mom. But I guess a Korean blogger somewhere could very reasonably ask the very same question about our cherished tradition of holiday fruitcake or our love of dusty, tasteless chocolate. In a broader sense, they may also pose some serious questions regarding peanut butter, Red Vines/Twizzlers, Miracle Whip, corndogs and Go-Gurt. Hell, I have serious questions about Go-Gurt. Maybe they’re even asking if gift-spam is really that much weirder than spraying “cheese” onto crackers from aerosol cans. I don’t think I would have an answer. Spray cheese is pretty damn strange.

Image: ForkingSpoon



Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap) recipe

Yields2 Servings

Kimchi fried rice or Kimchi Bokkeumbap is a popular Korean recipe made from day-old rice and super-healthy kimchi topped with a fried egg.

Prep Time10 minsCook Time12 minsTotal Time22 mins

Ingredients

 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
 2 green onions, finely sliced
 1 cup kimchi, reserve juice from jar
 1 tablespoon soy sauce
 ½ teaspoon red chili pepper powder (gochugaru)
 2 cups white rice, steamed (1 day old)
 1 teaspoon sesame oil
 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
 2 eggs
 2 sheets Korean roasted seaweed (gim), shredded (optional)

Instructions

1

Cook the onion and garlic
In a large wok over medium-high heat, cook the white parts of the green onions and garlic in a tablespoon of vegetable oil, stirring frequently.

2

Add the Kimchi and juice
Cut the kimchi into small, bite-sized pieces using a very sharp knife or scissors. Be sure to reserve about 2 tablespoons of the juice from the kimchi jar. Add the kimchi and the reserved juice from the jar to the wok and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the kimchi becomes soft. Stir in the soy sauce, gochugaru and a little extra water if the kimchi begins to stick to the bottom of the wok.

3

Add the rice
Lower the heat to medium. Add the rice (rice should be at room-temperature), sesame oil, sesame seeds, and green parts of the green onion. Cook the kimchi rice mixture for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4

Top the rice with an egg
In a skillet over medium-high heat, fry 2 eggs in the remaining tablespoon of oil. Eggs should have a runny yolk. Top each rice dish with the fried egg and optional shredded seaweed.


Notes

Something I wish I had known a long time ago — don't choose your soy sauce by the lowest price, reasoning that they are all basically the same. Soy sauce is an ancient, fermented condiment with has a rich, complex flavor that are available in many varieties and can differ dramatically in ingredients, preparation, taste and usage. Cheap brands like La Choy are chemical soy sauces that make a poor substitute for the real thing.

Ingredients

 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
 2 green onions, finely sliced
 1 cup kimchi, reserve juice from jar
 1 tablespoon soy sauce
 ½ teaspoon red chili pepper powder (gochugaru)
 2 cups white rice, steamed (1 day old)
 1 teaspoon sesame oil
 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
 2 eggs
 2 sheets Korean roasted seaweed (gim), shredded (optional)

Directions

1

Cook the onion and garlic
In a large wok over medium-high heat, cook the white parts of the green onions and garlic in a tablespoon of vegetable oil, stirring frequently.

2

Add the Kimchi and juice
Cut the kimchi into small, bite-sized pieces using a very sharp knife or scissors. Be sure to reserve about 2 tablespoons of the juice from the kimchi jar. Add the kimchi and the reserved juice from the jar to the wok and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the kimchi becomes soft. Stir in the soy sauce, gochugaru and a little extra water if the kimchi begins to stick to the bottom of the wok.

3

Add the rice
Lower the heat to medium. Add the rice (rice should be at room-temperature), sesame oil, sesame seeds, and green parts of the green onion. Cook the kimchi rice mixture for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4

Top the rice with an egg
In a skillet over medium-high heat, fry 2 eggs in the remaining tablespoon of oil. Eggs should have a runny yolk. Top each rice dish with the fried egg and optional shredded seaweed.

Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap)


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