I rarely get hungry while editing my photos for this blog (I know, shocker!), but every once in a while something like this Kimchi Fried Rice happens on Saturday night at 2 AM and then I get the hangrays. Like, real bad.
Do yourselves a favor before you read on and save this recipe, guys. Seriously. This is NOT just your run-of-the-mill fried rice.
Fried rice is the Asian goddess of all things leftover. Except when I was really young, we never really ordered fried rice in Chinese restaurants. It’s sort of like going out to a Vegas buffet and only getting bread–you know, the cheap stuff that anyone (in this case, a shoddy graduate student) can make, and still make taste decent. That’s not to pooh-pooh fried rice, because I love the stuff; it’s just not something a respectable member of an Asian household is supposed to indulge in. (Please don’t tell my parents I love Panda Express too, okay?)
Back at home, though, my mom made it every time we had anything to use up–vegetables, tofu, eggs, the whole lot just went phut! into the sizzling wok, and minutes later we’d each have a heaping plateful of amazing fried rice sitting on our plates, ready to be inhaled right up.
Maybe that’s why, weirdly enough, I never cooked a single Asian dish when I was at home. When you have actual Asian relatives running around the kitchen making amazing, authentic fare, you’re going to want to stick to stuff that isn’t going to make you look like a disgrace to your heritage. Pick a dish that nobody has heard of–the more exotic-sounding the better (for example, pierogies or bouillabaisse!), though–and you’re in business! The family will instantly think it’s the best thing in the world, simply by virtue of having nothing to compare it to.
Recently, though, I decided it was time to throw down the gauntlet and try my hand at making something Asian. The recipe I finally settled on has over 6,000 5-star reviews on Maangchi. Kimchi fried rice was the perfect choice: it was far enough removed from our culture to make it unusual–we never use kimchi in our cooking at home–but close enough that it still felt like a challenge. The result?
Best decision ever.
This is a crazy recipe, with just the perfect balance of spiciness and an almost-sweet nuttiness from the sesame you drizzle over the whole thing. While I made some minor modifications to work with what leftovers I had, it’s so good that I’d dare to even serve it at home. As it happens, I actually ended up eating the whole darn wok-ful myself in two dinner sittings.
And yeah, I’m still so hungry looking at these pictures. Somebody call for a fried rice intervention…..please?
What’s your favorite type of fried rice?
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 cups steamed white or brown rice, preferably made the night before
- 1 cup chopped kimchi
- 1/4 cup kimchi juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 2-3 tablespoons gochujang
- 3 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
- 1 sheet roasted dried seaweed, shredded
- Heat up a wok or pan over medium. Add the vegetable oil.
- Add kimchi and stir-fry for 1 minute.
- Add rice, kimchi juice, water, and gochujang. Stir in all ingredients and fry for 6-8 minutes with a wooden spatula.
- Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl. Push the rice to the side of the wok, then add eggs and quickly use spatula to stir them into small scrambled pieces. Stir the egg pieces into the rest of the rice.
- Add sesame oil and immediately remove wok from heat.
- Sprinkle with green onion, sesame seeds, and seaweed. Serve immediately.
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