Ever get a great idea for a recipe and, like, you’re all excited and then you discover that it’s already a thing? Yep – that. But heck, that’s OK, because the urge to marry kimchi and fried rice together was a great excuse to visit one of our local Asian markets. I love the one I frequent. It’s got just about everything I could want, but most importantly this time, they had some delicious kimchi. In fact, this was the first time I got any from there (it’s not exactly on my way home), but I’ll be going back again ASAP now that we’ve tried this recipe.
There are a lot of familiar ingredients here, but a new-to-me one was the gochujang, Korean chili paste. I wondered if I could just use the sambal I had already in the fridge, but since I was going a little out of my way anyway for the kimchi, I thought we might as well be as authentic as possible.
This is the gochujang. It looks exactly like regular American ketchup, but it’s much thicker and, of course, unlike ketchup, it will possibly set you on fire. If you’re like me and very sensitive to spicy flavors, add a little of this at a time until the heat level is satisfactory.
It’s funny, though, because I’ve never minded the heat level of kimchi. It can vary, but, again, I’m very sensitive to spicy foods. What often seems to be unnoticeable at all to many will often make me cough and feel the spiciness on my tongue for several minutes. But yeah, love kimchi. Without a doubt my most favorite spicy food.
I’d meant to get some shrimp for this recipe, but since I forgot it, we used some shredded rotisserie chicken. You could use thin strips of beef or pork if you prefer, or even go the vegetarian route.
At this point the kimchi and chili paste are added and stirred in with the chicken to coat it with their flavors and color.
And then, of course, we introduce the rice. I think you could do either white or brown rice with this recipe, We used white this time, but next time I’m trying brown rice. You throw in some other goodies at this point, soy sauce and a little sesame oil being two. You won’t need very much sesame oil at all, but even what little amount is used makes for a very fragrant meal.
Some Korean foods are served with an egg on top, such as bibimbap, and this rice is no exception. Instead of scrambling the eggs into the rice, try serving a sunny-side-up egg (or one slightly more cooked is fine, too). The Korean way of naming this particular fried rice yumminess is Kimchi-bokkeumbap, and it is all things wonderfully spicy and delicious. I can’t wait to make this again – so I suppose I’d better get to that Asian market again ASAP! This works great as a meal all its own, or you could serve it alongside something else. Have plenty of water at the ready and enjoy.
Kimchi Fried Rice
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: about 30 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 4
- 1 to 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 pound pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, shredded
- 4 to 5 scallions, whites only, thinly sliced
- 1 to 1 1/2 cup kimchi, chopped
- 1 to 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 3 to 4 cups cooked rice
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 pinch salt, to taste
- 1/2 bunch buchu (Korean garlic chives; called nira in Japanese), chopped in inch-long pieces (optional)
- 1 fried egg (per person), to serve on top (optional)
- 4 to 5 scallion greens, to garnish (optional)
- Shredded seaweed, to garnish (optional)
Heat oil in a large, deep saute pan over high heat. Add the chicken and scallions, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes until the scallions begin to soften and the chicken is heated through.
Add the kimchi and gochujang, and cook while stirring for 3 to 5 minutes until the kimchi starts to soften.
Add the rice, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Mix well until the rice is coated with the kimchi. (Add a little bit of the red liquid from the kimchi container if you want more color or spice. You can add more gochujang as well.)
Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for a few more minutes until the rice is warmed through. Add the garlic chives in the last minute of cooking if using, and stir well until they start to wilt. Season with salt, to taste.
Top individual portions with the optional ingredients such as the fried egg, the seaweed, more scallion slices or even more kimchi.
This is such an easy recipe, and since we already had the cooked chicken, we decided to just use it up instead of using something else. As noted above, just about any kind of meat you prefer can work, and if you choose to use a raw meat, just cook it prior to the scallions till it’s mostly cooked through, probably diced or sliced into bite-size pieces. Shrimp can go in as-is, cooked again till mostly done. Proceed with the scallions and the rest of the recipe.
If you’re going gluten-free, make sure the ingredients you use are gluten-free, mostly the kimchi and gochujang in this recipe. I’ve seen advice on buying vegan kimchi from other recipes using it, and many store-bought gochujang brands are gluten-free, but double check if you’re unsure. Google can help a lot with this. If you’re unsure of seasonings on your store’s rotisserie chicken, you can always cook some plain chicken at home to add to this.