Kimchi Fried Rice, Kimchi Bokkeumbap
What do you do when you don't have much in the fridge, or you don't feel like cooking? Kimchi Fried Rice ("Kimchi Bokkeumbap" in Korean) of course! That is the obvious answer for many Koreans, at least. Most Koreans always have kimchi in the house, since it's a must-have side dish for every Korean meal. Often, it's sour (over-fermented) kimchi that's been in the fridge for awhile. With sour kimchi, cooked rice, and some butter, you can make a dish in just 15 minutes that is divinely delicious and sinfully addictive. For those who are wondering about butter use in Korean cooking, it is true that butter is not a traditional Korean ingredient; yet, it’s widely used by Koreans today in dishes such as this.
Kimchi Fried Rice is considered a quick meal or snack in Korea. You can also expect to see Kimchi Fried Rice in Korean snack food restaurants or cafeterias. The origin of Kimchi Fried Rice is unclear, but it seems it was popularized in modern days. There are many variations to this dish depending on personal preferences. I personally like a simple version with a pure kimchi flavor. Sometimes less is more.
One key to great Kimchi Fried Rice is to use great-tasting kimchi that is over-fermented. See tips below for more on how to make amazing Kimchi Fried Rice.
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|6 oz||Kimchi 김치|
|2 cups||Cooked Rice 밥|
|2 tbs||Butter 버터|
|3 tbs||Kimchi Juice 김치국물|
|1 tsp||Salt 소금|
|½ tsp||Black Pepper 후추|
Good to Know
For 2 servings, ⅛ of a whole napa cabbage kimchi is used which is equivalent to 1 cup of chopped kimchi (¼ inch pieces) or about 175 g in weight.
Use spicy napa cabbage kimchi for best results. If you have good-tasting kimchi, it's hard to go wrong. If you have to use kimchi that's pretty bland, add some gochugaru (red chili flakes) and season with salt.
Over-fermented (sour) kimchi is ideal for this dish. If you are using non-sour kimchi, add a little bit of vinegar to add sour taste.
Use Korean rice, also known as short grain rice, sticky rice or Japanese rice. See cooking white rice in a pot and cooking white rice in a rice cooker. For fried rice, make the rice a little drier than usual by adding a little less water. This prevents your Kimchi Fried Rice from becoming too soggy. White rice is usually used for Kimchi Fried Rice, but multigrain or brown rice is okay too.
Take it to the next level
Adding kimchi juice always make it better. If you add enough kimchi juice, you don't need to season with salt.
Also, cut kimchi into small pieces so the kimchi flavor is brought out and absorbed into the rice. Make sure you cook kimchi thoroughly before adding rice.
If you are using old cooked rice that has been in the fridge, be sure to mix it thoroughly with kimchi so there is no lump and all the rice is completely warmed up.
If you are making rice just for Kimchi Fried Rice, make it a little drier than usual by adding a little less water. This prevents your Kimchi Fried Rice from becoming too soggy.
You can also make the bottom part crispy by spreading the fried rice thin on the pan and leaving it on low heat until the bottom gets crispy.
Many people like to add ham, meat or other vegetables like onions, zucchini and carrots. Bacon, surprisingly, pairs well with kimchi too. If you like to add other ingredients, chop them into fine bits and sauté them with the kimchi until they are thoroughly cooked. Remember not to put in too much of the other ingredients so as to avoid the other flavors overpowering that of the kimchi.
You can also add sesame oil at the end for a nutty flavor and smell.
Adding sugar can also balance out the sour taste and make it more palatable, though it is not necessary.
More questions? Please leave your questions below in the comments section. We will do our best to answer as soon as we can.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.
1. Make rice
Cook rice if you don’t have any. Use Korean rice, also known as short grain rice, sticky rice or Japanese rice. See cooking white rice in a pot and cooking white rice in a rice cooker. For fried rice, make the rice a little drier than usual by adding a little less water. This prevents your Kimchi Fried Rice from becoming too soggy. White rice is usually used for Kimchi Fried Rice, but multigrain or brown rice is okay too.
2. Chop kimchi
Chop kimchi into ¼” pieces (about 1 cm) to yield 1½ cup of chopped kimchi (about ⅛ of a whole nappa cabbage kimchi). It’s ideal to use over-fermented (sour) kimchi. You can also add meat or vegetables you like (see tips above). Chop them into the same size as kimchi.
3. Melt butter
In a large pan or wok melt 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat. (You can add one more spoon if you love butter.) If you are not using butter, you can use vegetable oil but adding some sort of meat to the dish is recommended to enhance the flavor.
In large pan
4. Saute kimchi
Add chopped kimchi to pan and saute for 5-10 min on medium heat or until kimchi is cooked completely. Add 3 tablespoons of kimchi juice (optional) while cooking. If kimchi starts to stick to the bottom but not cooked through yet, add a little bit of water or more kimchi juice. You can add more kimchi juice if you like it spicy. If you don’t have kimchi juice, you can also add some gochugaru for more spiciness and red color.
Add chopped kimchi
Saute Med Heat 7 min
Add 3 tbs kimchi juice
5. Add rice
Reduce heat to low. Add 2 cups of cooked rice and mix thoroughly. If you are using cold leftover rice, make sure you mix it until there are no cold lumps of rice and all the rice is warmed up. Let it sit on low heat for about 5 min. If you like it crispy on the bottom, you can spread the fried rice thinly over the pan and cook on low heat until the crispy bottoms if formed.
Reduce heat Low Heat
Add 2 cups cooked rice
Cook Low Heat 5 min
Taste and season with salt only if necessary. The amount of salt depends on the saltiness of kimchi and how much kimchi juice is used. Add a pinch of black pepper.
Season with salt (optional)
Add a pinch black pepper
7. Fry eggs (optional)
In a pan, add a little bit of vegetable oil and fry eggs on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. You can cook one egg for each serving. Sunny side up is great for presentation but you can cook to your preference.
Serve Kimchi Fried Rice on a plate. Top it with a fried egg. Enjoy!
Serve on plate
Top with egg