Let's make the unbearable (not to me) story of why we're making this suuuuuuper short and get to the buttery, spicy goodness that is kimchi fried rice.
One time I found a Korean BBQ place two doors down from a venue that I do a show in every year. The special thing about this place is that they serve food until 2am that is not bar food, and we work super late for our shows. So I went there after a show three years in a row. And they have kimchi fried rice instead of "would you like steamed or brown rice?"
Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.
Kimchi Fried Rice
Yep, that's the story. I ate this at a restaurant thrice, which says a lot about a person who likes trying out all.the.restaurants, loves doing different things when she travels, all of it. But let me tell you, late night food that isn't bar food is hard to come by, and kimchi fried rice is just the icing on the diy grilled meats cake.
Love diy grilled meats, too.
Fried rice is one of those dishes that I've been making for years and always have in my back pocket when we need a quick dinner, need to use things up, or have a bunch of leftover rice from takeout - why is there always so much rice? Do other people eat all of the rice? Am I wrong in my stuff-to-rice ratios?
Kimchi Fried Rice Ingredients, go: Rice, kimchi (you're like....please stop being so belittling), eggs, butter, scallions, and oil for ~frying~ the rice.
Equipment is a good nonstick skillet or stainless steel skillet like I used here. I have and do use/d both, but I find that nonstick is more reliable as rice can have different levels of starch and get sticky FAST. There's a list of my favorite skillets for this below!
The method here is one that my Japenese host mom, Keiko, taught me years and years ago when I did a semester abroad in Japan. Everything goes in bit by bit, with time for waiting (to allow the rice to crisp) and stirring in between.
Start with! Medium-high skillet, good drizzle of oil. A few tablespoons. Any kind of oil you like! Spread the leftover cold rice (this achieves best non-sticky fried rice AND gives you an excuse to meal prep or use up leftovers) in the skillet. Let it toast for a minute or two, stirring it once to coat the rice in the oil.
Chop the kimchi (or do this in advance) and add the kimchi + some juice from the jar to the rice.
Now, eggs! I don't mess with scrambling, omelette-ing, or anything else that takes time or dirties dishes. Crack the eggs right into the rice, and stir to scramble the eggs directly into the kimchi fried rice.
Now! Keep stirring + waiting to let the rice get toasty, taking tastes as you go. The rice will need something: salt or soy sauce, your preference. As the kimchi cooks the flavor will mellow and some of the pickly flavor will dissipate.
Add salt/soy sauce until the kimchi rice is suuuuper flavorful, then turn the heat off and stir in the butter and scallions.
I mean. It's buttery kimchi fried rice, made with straight pantry ingredients (kimchi lasts a loooooong time in the fridge) and leftovers, done in 10 minutes or so.
Like I said, there are options for what kind of skillet to use for this fried rice! Here are some favorites that we currently use.
Skillets to use for fried rice:
- Greenpan ceramic nonstick (these are reeeeeeally nice, I've been using them for about 2 months)
- Anolon hard anodized nonstick (tried and true, I have some that have lasted for more than 5 years)
- All-Clad stainless steel (practically perfect in every way)
As for what to do with this kimchi fried rice, the sky's the limit! I ... don't hate it on its own, maybe with some cabbage thrown in since we have protein from the eggs. I also have a salmon recipe coming up (pictured below!) that goes really well with this fried rice, but any grilled/sauteed protein is perfect on this.
OR OR OR make a batch of baked tofu and throw some on top! Done. Super simple.
7-Ingredient Kimchi Fried Rice
- 3 tablespoons vegetable or light olive oil
- 3 cups leftover cold rice
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup chopped kimchi plus some juice from the jar
- 3 scallions sliced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Soy sauce and/or salt to taste
- Preheat a large nonstick skillet with the vegetable oil to medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the rice to the skillet and stir it a few times to heat through and toast the rice slightly.
- Add the kimchi and 2 tablespoons of the juice from the jar and stir to coat. Between each stir, let the rice sit to brown a bit on the bottom.
- Scoot the rice to the side of the pan and crack the eggs right in the center. Quickly scramble the eggs, mixing them into the rice as you go.
- Taste the rice and add dashes of soy sauce and sprinkles of salt until the rice is very flavorful – at least ½ teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons soy sauce, probably more depending on your taste.
- When the rice is crispy in some places stir in the butter and scallions. Serve immediately.
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