If you’re not familiar with Korean food, you might be asking: What is kimchi, anyway?
This staple of Korean cuisine consists of vegetables (such as cabbage, radishes, or cucumbers) that are seasoned with salt, Korean chili powder, garlic, scallions, ginger, and even salted seafood before being jarred and fermented. The end result is a complex tangy-salty-spicy flavor that you can’t get enough of!
One thing about kimchi: it’s delicious, but you do have to accept that the pungent aroma is part of the package deal. My mom loved kimchi when I was little (and she still does!), but because the scent was so strong to me, she would joke that she would have to eat in the backyard if she wanted to open up a jar!
Thankfully, I’ve grown to properly appreciate this ingredient since then! Along with myriad other applications, kimchi makes a delicious, healthy addition to a classic fried rice. My recipe highlights the heat in the kimchi by adding in an extra dose of gochujang, a sweet and spicy Korean chili paste. You should be able to find that in your local Asian market, as well as any major supermarket. Also, if you want to keep this vegetarian-friendly, or if you want to avoid seafood for any reason, make sure that you get vegan kimchi.
If you’re looking for a quick, healthy meal with a spicy twist, give this Kimchi Fried Rice a shot!
Kimchi Fried Rice
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 TBSP oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup kimchi cabbage + 1 TBSP of the liquid from the jar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP gochujang
2 tsp sesame oil
2 green onions, sliced thin
In a large sauté pan, cook the onion with the oil over medium heat until tender. Stir and cook until fragrant, then add in the kimchi. Push all the veggies to one side, then pour the eggs into the empty spot. Stir the eggs to scramble them; once cooked, combine with the veggies. Add the rice, kimchi liquid, soy sauce, gochujang, and sesame oil. Stir to evenly coat. Cook until heated through, then add in the green onions at the very end of the cooking process. Serve immediately.
Serves up to 4.