March 30, 2012

Kimchi Fried Rice

Lately there have been more and more days when I look at the clock and realize I've got less than 30 minutes to get dinner on the table. There's a lot you can do in 30 minutes if you've planned things out ahead of time. But it's harder if you haven't.

This is a dish that doesn't require much planning. And it's a good way to use up leftover rice. I tend to have  leftover rice in my fridge pretty often because I'm terrible at estimating how much we're going to eat at any given meal.

In addition to the rice, all you need are some eggs and a jar of kimchi.

Kimchi is a Korean condiment of pickled vegetables. It’s usually made with cabbage, but you’ll find kimchi made with radish, cucumbers, or other vegetables. The basic formula is the main vegetable along with garlic, salt, vinegar and chili peppers.

Kimchi is high in fiber, has lots of vitamins, and like yogurt (another fermented food), is full of healthy bacteria.

You can make kimchi yourself, but you can also buy it. It’ll almost definitely be in your Asian grocery store (probably the refrigerated section). I’ve even found it at Stop and Shop. And even though it looks fiery hot, it isn’t always. The jar I bought at the grocery store was pretty mild.

If you’ve ever eaten at a Korean restaurant, you’ve undoubtedly had a dish of kimchi placed on your table. It’s a ubiquitous condiment in Korea, something that’s eaten with everything.

In this recipe, the kimchi gives the rice both flavor and texture. Even after you sauté it, the tender cabbage holds on to a little crunch.

The fried rice is delicious and substantial on its own. But I think it’s even better topped with a fried egg. I love piercing the yolk and watching it run down in a thick, golden river, flavoring the rice underneath it.

Just imagine a bite of flavorful rice and tangy kimchi, laced with puddles of rich egg yolk and bits of salty, crispy egg white.

You’ll quickly become a kimchi convert, like me.

Chop up the kimchi into small pieces.

Saute kimchi in hot oil until all the liquid evaporates and the kimchi starts to brown in spots.

Add the rice. Cook until the rice and kimchi are thoroughly mixed and the rice is hot.

In the meantime, fry up your eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Leave the yolks a little runny so you can mix them up into the rice later.

When the rice is hot, stir in the butter and sesame oil.

To serve, put some rice in a bowl. Top with a fried egg and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. Pierce the egg yolk with your fork and inhale deeply as the yolk starts to run into the rice. Enjoy!

Kimchi Fried Rice

Adapted from a recipe by Orangette

Use leftover cooked rice for this recipe.

1 Tbsp canola oil
2 cups Napa cabbage kimchi, diced
4 cups leftover, cooked rice
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for frying eggs
2 tsp sesame oil
Sesame seeds, for garnish
Sliced scallions

1.    Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the kimchi, and cook for several minutes, until the liquid evaporates and the kimchee begins to brown in spots.

2.    When the kimchi looks right, raise the heat to high, and add the rice, stirring well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for several minutes, until the rice is hot and beginning to brown.

3.    Meanwhile, in another skillet, fry as many eggs as you’d like. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4.    When the rice is ready, stir in the butter and sesame oil, and season with salt to taste.

5.    Divide between two or three bowls, and top each with a fried egg or two. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.

Serves 2 to 3

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