Kimchi Fried Rice or Kimchi Bokggeumbap (김치 볶음밥) is a homely dish every Korean household would cook in South Korea. It tastes classic and is an easy dish to make within 20 minutes. You can improvise the ingredients by adding whatever that is left in your fridge – a great way to clean out the leftovers!
I like my kimchi fried rice with Spam, but you may remove it for a meatless option, or swap it with beef brisket, pork, or canned tuna chunks (just remember to remove the water in the can thoroughly). The recipe I am sharing today is a hybrid version, combining a home recipe by my dear friend Su-hyeon’s mom with some techniques from the Korean celebrity chef Baek Jong-won.
Here are the tips to make a flavourful bowl of Kimchi Fried Rice:
Tip #1: Use Korean Chili Flakes Korean chilli flakes (gochugaru 고춧가루) is important to this dish for that mild spicy kick. I'll suggest you purchase yours from the nearest Korean mart. They may be slightly more expensive than local chilli flakes, but they make the dish taste a lot better! I personally do not recommend substituting the Korean chilli flakes with something else. Do note that some Korean mart carries two versions of gochugaru - normal or spicy (매운맛). I got the normal version as I can't take anything too spicy. So trust me, if I can take the spiciness from the normal Korean chilli flakes, you can take it too! Choose the spicy version if you like to fire up the dish.
Tip #2: Use Aged Kimchi Brine Aged Kimchi brine gives off a nice acidity to your fried rice. However, pouring too much of the brine will make your fried rice soggy. So you may need to add them in small batches to hit that perfect balance. Remember to balance the sourness with some brown sugar too.
Tip #3: Bring Your Soy Sauce To its Boiling Point We all know that a little bit of soy sauce goes a long way in Asian cuisine. Here at this recipe, we are bringing the soy sauce to a boil to give that fragrance and umami to your kimchi fried rice. You won't regret this extra step!
Personally, I like to dress the dish up by throwing a mozzarella cheese egg roll around the fried rice when we are having guests over. You may fry some eggs as a simpler topping. Make sure to keep the yolk runny. I like to break the yolk, letting it drip right into the fried rice, as it moistens and mellows the spiciness and heat down. Enjoy!
It pairs really well with wine too! Our friend brought over a 2018 Little Giant Barossa Shiraz from Australia. The dark berries hint, boldness from the spices and sweetness from the wine makes a perfect pairing to this dish. The ingenious balance of sweet, sour, umami and spicy makes every bite so incredible, you’ll crave for more!
Ingredients (Make 3 Servings)
• Kimchi 1 rice bowl, finely chopped • Kimchi Brine 3 tbsp • Rice 3-4 rice bowls • SPAM 1/2 can, sliced and cubed • Onion 1/2 an onion, thinly sliced • Garlic 2 big cloves, finely chopped • Green Onion 0.5-1 stem, chopped • Eggs 2-3 eggs • Korean Chili Flakes 2-3 tbsp • Sugar 2 tsp • Soy Sauce 2 tbsp • Sesame Oil to taste • Korean Seaweed to garnish • Mozzarella Cheese optional • Olive Oil 1 tbsp
1. Use about 1 tbsp of oil to fry the green onions & garlic. Once fragrant, throw in the sliced onions, fry the onion until translucent.
2. Then, throw in the cubed SPAM and continue to fry them until the cubes are perfectly browned.
3. Pour the finely chopped kimchi into the pan, continue to fry until the kimchi becomes soft.
4. Add in the Korean chilli flakes & sugar, mix well.
5. Gather your kimchi mixture to one side of the pan. Keep your pan slightly slanted, and pour the soy sauce into the pan. Once the soy sauce starts bubbling, mix the Kimchi and the soy sauce together.
6. Add cooked rice into the pan, mix well. Add the kimchi brine and continue to stir well.
7. Lastly, pour the sesame oil into the kimchi fried rice and switch off the fire immediately. Continue to stir until fragrant.
8. Top it with the eggs and serve with the Korean seaweed. For a better presentation, you can make a mozzarella cheese egg roll around the fried rice, just like what I did!