Can we give a full on love wave to fried rice? If I had to pick one way that I put leftover rice to work consistently, it’s stir fried rice. I actually get a little pissed if my family eats all of the rice when I make it or we order takeout because then there will be no stir-fried rice in the future. Come to think of it — they should be more prudent and prescient.
Korean Fried Rice
There are fried rice dishes in many cuisines, from Japanese to Chinese to Korean. Some of the ingredients that seem most distinctive to the Korean style fried rice are sesame oil, Spam or another pork product, and kimchi. Portions of Kimchi Fried Rice are often topped with a fried egg, and as long as you read through the recipe and get a handle on the timing, frying up some eggs as the rice finishes cooking is highly do-able, and makes this into very satisfying lunch or dinner. Or breakfast, come to think of it.
Kimchi in Fried Rice
Kimchi is a pickled vegetable cured in a mixture of onion, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, sugar, anchovies or some other fermented fish or fish product. It’s an integral part of Korean food and cooking (or preserving) and had made its way into many other cuisines around Asia and the world. Napa cabbage is the most popular central vegetable to pickle for kimchi (sometimes mistakenly spelled kimchee!). Often it is mixed with daikon and/or carrots.
Making your own kimchi is something I plan to tackle one day for sure, but meanwhile lucky for us it’s more and more easily available. Look for it in Korean or other Asian markets, or buy it online.
Kimchi Fried Rice: A mix of all of the flavors that make Korean food so amazing, and a great way to use leftover rice.Tweet This
Spam Kimchi Fried Rice
Although I do not call for Spam in this recipe, that is a popular addition even though it’s one of the more quintessentially American (not Eastern) packaged products. Spam is a canned cooked pork “lunch meat”. The U.S. brought it over to Korea during the war, and many Koreans developed a taste for it, so it’s become a common sight in dishes like this stir-fried rice. Since I’m not promising authenticity, I decided to pick my favorite pork product of all times, the king of pork (up for debate): bacon. Also, folks who grew up with this dish in their lives also have differing thoughts – so I’m sticking with bacon for now. But I also might add some Crispy Tofu in the future.
Nori in Fried Rice
Nori is a dried seaweed used mostly in Japanese cooking, but like more and more Asian ingredients, making its way into other countries and cuisines. You can buy it at various Asian markets, and as with everything, order it online.
Eggs in Fried Rice
An egg is often placed on various rice and noodle dishes in myriad Asian cuisines. The immense pleasure of popping a runny yolk and having it blend into the dish itself, making it richer and silkier is hard to overstate.
Often when I make fried rice I scramble the eggs, and then mix them into the rice. The finished dish is punctuated by little pockets of scrambled egg. However, most Korean fried rice recipes that I have fallen for have the egg poached or fried, and then gently laid on top of the rice. If you want to go the scrambled egg route, click here.
What to Serve with Kimchi Fried Rice:
This is an all-in-one meal, especially with the egg for extra protein. But if you wanted to make this part of a larger spread, think about:
- Korean Tofu Salad
- Kimchi Brussels Sprouts
- Korean Pork Chops
- Korean Mushrooms
- Crispy Tofu
- Sesame Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms
- Vegan Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw
Other Fried Rice Recipes:
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Kimchi Fried Rice
- 4 strips bacon
- 4 cups cooled cooked white or brown rice
- ¾ cup roughly chopped kimchi (see Note)
- ¾ cup sliced scallions , white and green parts, divided
- ½ cup chopped red pepper
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce , preferably less-sodium
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
To Garnish (optional):
- Slivered toasted nori (seaweed; see Note)
- Toasted sesame seeds (see Note)
- Line a plate with paper towels. Place the bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium heat, turning a few times, until the bacon is crispy. Use tongs to transfer the bacon to the paper towels, and leave 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the skillet.
- Return the pan to medium high heat and the kimchi. Stir for about 4 minutes, until the kimchi is nicely coated with bacon fat and hot throughout. Add the cooled rice, and stir occasionally for about 5 more minutes, until the rice is hot. Add half of the scallions, red pepper, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Stir until everything is well blended and hot, another 2 to 3 minutes. Crumble the bacon and stir it in at the end.
- While the rice finishes cooking, in another large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Crack the eggs into the pan and cook until the whites are set, but the yolks are still runny.
- Divide the fried rice into 4 shallow bowls, and place a fried egg on top of each portion. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish the rest of the scallions, and the nori and sesame seeds if desired and serve hot.
The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.
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