There was a time, not that long ago, when Kimchi Fried Rice was very popular on the internet, and ever since then it’s been one of my favorite things to eat. I put a kimchi fried rice bowl in Bowl, but today wanted to share a spin on that recipe. It’s inspired in part by the 10 pounds of kimchi that I have packed up in Ziplocs and fermenting in my fridge— for the Bowl Brunch event on March 12, presented by Jarry here in New York. It won’t be a big event, but there are a few seats left if you live in the New York area. Tickets available here. And a few other events are now up under the Events tab.
For me, the secret to good fried rice is not crowding the pan. This recipe only serves two, because any more than that and you’ll end up with wet fried rice—where everything globs together and . . . drips. Not good. Ensuing that the rice has time and space to soak up the flavorful stuff, and for the wet stuff to cook off, is crucial.
A few other notes: I’d always believed that day-old rice was the only kind to use in fried rice, but I recently got schooled on that by Danny Bowien’s Mission Chinese Food Cookbook. Freshly made rice is just as good—maybe better! And the egg on top, plus the briefly sautéed sunflower shoots, round this out into a full meal. You could swap lots of other green things—hearty greens like spinach or shredded kale, other types of shoots like pea shoots, even romaine or iceberg lettuce—if sunflower shoots are hard to come by.
Vegetarian Kimchi Fried Rice
There are a couple brands that make vegetarian/vegan kimchi. Mother In Law’s is my favorite. Or, try making your own from the recipe in Bowl!
1-1/2 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola (use a splash of chili oil in here if you have it)
1 heaping tablespoon sliced garlic
1 heaping tablespoon ginger that’s been sliced into matchsticks
1 shallot, cut into thin strips
2 scallions, green and white parts, sliced thinly
Heaping 1/2 cup chopped vegetarian kimchi
2 cups fresh or day-old rice (white or brown will work)
2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon chili paste (optional)
1/2 cup sunflower shoots
Cilantro sprigs for garnish
1. Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet (if you use a nonstick one, you can use less fat) over medium heat, then add the garlic, ginger, shallot, and scallions. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened and beginning to caramelize. Stir in the kimchi and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, until the pan is dry. Stir in the rice, along with the salt and sugar. Once well combined and heated through, clear a little space in the center of the pan and pour in the soy sauce. Allow it to bubble and caramelize for few seconds, then stir into the rice. Continue cooking until the pan is fairly dry.
2. I use a small skillet for frying the eggs, and usually do them one at a time, but I’ll bet you have your favorite way to fry eggs. Fry the eggs in the butter, sprinkling them with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook to desired doneness.
3. Divide the hot fried rice between two shallow bowls or plates. Top each one with a fried egg. Return the egg skillet to the heat and stir in the chili paste, if using. Add the sunflower shoots and sauté very briefly, just until they glisten, about 15 seconds. Then divide over the eggs and rice. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.