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Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe

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If you’re familiar with Korean cuisine, you’ve definitely heard of kimchi. This traditional Korean side dish made of salted and fermented vegetables is a staple in every Korean table — whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There are various forms of kimchi, but the most popular and most common is the one made out of napa cabbage and Korean radish, mixed with gochujang (Korean chili paste) and gochugaru (Korean chili flakes). A Korean dish is never, ever complete without kimchi. 

Did you know, though, that you can mix kimchi with the good old fried rice? Kimchi bokkeumbap, or kimchi fried rice is pretty much kimchi cooked together with fried rice. A variety of meat, vegetables, and fried egg are added along to the fried rice to give it more texture and flavor. Today, we’ll be showing you the ropes on how to make kimchi fried rice at home. Take this easy kimchi fried rice recipe with you and become a Korean cuisine star in the kitchen!

Can You Eat Kimchi with Rice?

Yes, you can eat kimchi with rice! In fact, kimchi can be eaten with pretty much anything. Kimchi is a comfort food for most, if not all Koreans. When we say kimchi goes with everything, we mean it. Kimchi and rice is not even that surprising at all. Aside from warm rice and fried rice, you can eat kimchi with meat, noodles, bread, soups, tofu, and so on! Any dish can be leveled up with kimchi on the side.

What is Kimchi Fried Rice Made Of?

Kimchi fried rice has two main components: kimchi and fried rice. Kimchi contains natural probiotics, making it great for gut health. For kimchi fried rice, baechu (napa cabbage) kimchi is typically used, but radish kimchi is a popular choice as well. Another important component is a fried egg on top. The runny egg allows the dish to mellow out a bit of the heat. Eggs also add to the protein intake. 

Aside from those, you can add other vegetables and meat to the fried rice to give it more texture and flavor. Pretty much anything goes when it comes to vegetables. You can add enoki mushrooms, carrots, onion, spinach, and such. For meat, you can use ground pork, ground beef, or even thin strips of rotisserie chicken. Seafood is a welcome addition as well. There are no rules when it comes to ingredients in a fried rice kimchi.

Fried rice kimchi also makes great use of gochujang, which is also known as Korean chili pepper paste. Kimchi is already flavorful on its own but gochujang and gochugaru give the dish a more robust taste. This Korean chili paste is a fermented condiment that has a savory sweet and spicy taste. It’s popular in Korean cuisine and is used in a lot of Korean dishes. Kimchi bokkeumbap also sometimes includes gochugaru, which is chili powder. If you want a spicier kick, you can add this to your fried rice kimchi.

Fried Rice Kimchi Ingredients

Gathering up ingredients for kimchi fried rice is rather easy! Kimchi is available in many grocery stores, as well as gochujang, sesame seeds, and the like. Since you’re free to put in pretty much any kind of vegetable as an addition to the dish, you don’t have to buy them at all if you already have carrots, garlic, onion, and such stored in your pantry. 

For the kimchi, the most commonly used is napa cabbage kimchi. This is the type of kimchi that most stores carry. If radish kimchi is available, you can use that too. This list includes the usage of kimchi juice, but don’t fret too much about it. This is actually the liquid from the kimchi. Certainly, your kimchi container will have liquid collecting at the bottom of it. 

As for the rice, we made use of white rice, but you can use any type of rice that you like. As this recipe calls for fried rice, it’s best to use leftover rice to make a good fried rice. Here’s the complete list of ingredients you need for kimchi fried rice:

  • 1 1/2 cups rice (day-old or leftover rice)
  • 1 cup kimchi
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup kimchi juice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (as cooking oil)
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil (for sauce)
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped (optional)
  • Enoki mushrooms (optional)
  • Any protein
  • Fried egg
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • Nori strips
  • Salt and pepper

How to Make Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap)

This easy kimchi fried rice recipe doesn’t have a ton of steps into making it! Even if it’s your first time making kimchi fried rice, we assure you that you can do this with great ease! You can make this dish for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. It can be your all-rounder meal at home. It’s also easy enough that you can make this meal if you’re running out of meal time ideas. Here are the steps to make kimchi fried rice: 

Step 1. To get kimchi juice, squeeze out the juice from the kimchi into a small bowl. Add in the remaining juice from the kimchi container as well until you have 1/4 cup of kimchi juice. After squeezing out the kimchi juice, chop the kimchi. 

Step 2. Mix in the gochujang or the Korean chili pepper paste, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, and the 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce into the kimchi juice. Mix until the gochujang is incorporated into the sauce. Set aside. 

Step 3. If you’re adding protein to your kimchi fried rice, heat your sauté pan or skillet over medium high heat and add in 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Add in your choice of meat – it can be ham, bacon, spam, chicken, tuna, and the like. Cook until lightly browned. If you’re using canned spam or canned tuna, you can add it in while stir frying kimchi in the next step. If you’re using raw meat, season it with salt and pepper, as well as garlic to flavor it. Cook the raw meat before frying it with the kimchi.

Step 4. Once your meat is browned, add the onion and stir fry quickly over high heat. Add in the kimchi. If you’re adding carrots, mushrooms, or other vegetables, add them in as well. Pour in the kimchi juice. If you’d like, you can also add in a little more soy sauce and a dash of gochujang for an intense flavor. Stir fry until the kimchi is soft and deep in color. This can take about 3 to 5 minutes. 

Step 5. Add in your rice. As this is a fried rice recipe, it’s best to use day-old or leftover rice. You can use any type of rice, be it jasmine rice, brown rice, or even mixed grain rice. Once you’ve added the rice, reduce the heat to medium low. Break up the rice, stir frying it until it’s well-incorporated with the kimchi and other ingredients. 

Step 6. Once the rice is evenly coated, raise the heat level to high and continue stir frying. Add salt and pepper for taste. Add a dash of sesame oil. You can also add sesame seeds. 

Step 7. Transfer to bowls and add a fried egg on top. Split the egg yolk in the middle and let the liquid run. Garnish with nori strips. If you’re vegan or not fond of eggs, you may opt to not put fried eggs on top of your kimchi fried rice. 

For an even spicier kimchi fried rice, you can add gochugaru (Korean chili pepper flakes) instead of more gochujang. 

How Long Does Kimchi Fried Rice Last?

You can store any leftovers of the kimchi bokkeumbap in the fridge for a week. To reheat the kimchi fried rice, simply load it up on a pan and heat it over the stove. 


Final Word

There’s your easy to make at home kimchi fried rice! Kimchi fried rice is a great go-to meal when you’re stumped for what to eat. It’s also quick and hassle-free to cook, allowing you to have a nice and filling home-made dish even if you’re pressed for time. And even if you’re one who’s simply craving for the comfortable taste of Kimchi fried rice, you have this recipe on hand with you.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Can I Add Flavor to Fried Rice?

There are many things you can do to add flavor to fried rice! One way is to season it with sauces and spices. You can use soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili garlic sauce, and a variety of powdered spices such as paprika, curry, and more. One thing you can also do is to add flavorful vegetables such as onion, ginger, and garlic, along with a dash of salt and pepper. One more way to add taste to fried rice is to use proteins such as egg, bacon, chicken, and the like. These are just some ways to add flavor to fried rice. 

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Hui Yin

Hui Yin moved from Hong Kong 🇭🇰 to the USA 🇺🇸 when she was just 8 years old. Now in her late 20's she enjoys writing and taking long walks in the park to burn off the copious amounts of rice she eats for dinner.

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