Ultimate Guide to Perfect Korean Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe

The tantalizing aromas wafting from the Korean restaurant next door had been tempting my taste buds for weeks. As Nazia, an amateur home cook and busy working woman at Food and Meal, finding time for new culinary adventures can be challenging. However, after a particularly long day at the office, the familiar scents of garlic, seafood, and spice sparked a yearning for something different.

I decided then that I would try my hand at recreating one beloved Korean classic – kimchi fried rice. Having grown up in a traditional Indian household, the flavor profiles of Korean cuisine were largely new and intriguing to me. The combination of sour and spicy with the umami richness of seafood captivated my senses. I was curious to discover how these elements would meld with the simple comfort of fried rice.

After reviewing some recipes online, I felt ready to embark on my spicy sojourn into Korean cuisine. I started by sautéing the kimchi, marveling at how the once-crunchy napa cabbage had transformed into a tender, scarlet-hued medley swimming in a pool of chili-laced juices. The garlic and ginger perfumed my little kitchen with their heady aroma as they caramelized. When I added the rice, the grains embraced the sauce, plumping up as they absorbed the complex flavors surrounding them.

That first bite filled me with a sense of accomplishment and the joy of discovering new flavors. The sour tang of fermented cabbage, the gentle sweetness of carrots and onions, the creeping heat of gochugaru – it was a party in my mouth! As I continue my culinary voyages, I can’t wait to keep experimenting with new ingredients and cuisines. My little kitchen is a gateway to exploring flavors from around the globe, no passport required.

 Kimchi Fried Rice
A close-up of vibrant kimchi, the star ingredient.

Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe

Ultimate Guide To Perfect Korean Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe 1

Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe

Sauté kimchi and onion, then flavor with butter, garlic, and soy sauce. Add cooked meat and rice, mixing with butter. Serve topped with a fried egg. Optional: if using bacon, sauté separately, omitting vegetable oil.
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Course: Rice
Cuisine: Korea
Keyword: fried rice
CookingStyle: Roasting
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 187kcal
Author: Nazia Cooks
Cost: $35
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Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced beef, SPAM, pork, bacon, or ham
  • 1 cup kimchi, drained and chopped (preferably made with napa cabbage)
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • Salt
  • 4 fried eggs

Instructions

  • If using American bacon, sauté briefly in a large, dry skillet and omit the vegetable oil from the next step. If using any other meat, start with step 2.
  • Stir-fry the kimchi and onion in the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  • When the vegetables begin to look transparent, add 1⁄2 tablespoon of the butter along with the garlic and soy sauce and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the meat, and continue to stir-fry until cooked through. Turn the heat off but leave the pan on the burner.
  • Add the rice and the remaining 1⁄2 tablespoon butter, and mix well to combine. Taste, and add salt if needed.
  • Serve topped with a fried egg on top of each serving.

Notes

SUBSTITUTION TIP: Omit the meat if you are making a vegetarian version.
SUBSTITUTION TIP: If you like a “wetter” version, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of gochujang. You can also reserve a few tablespoons of kimchi juice and add it to the mixture.
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Nutrition

Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 253mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the Spoonacular Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.

How to make kimchi fried rice and cheese

To prepare this delicious kimchi fried rice with cheese, start by heating a large pan or wok over medium heat and adding vegetable oil. Sauté diced onions and carrots in the pan until they are softened, then introduce minced garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds until fragrant. Incorporate chopped kimchi into the mix, stir-frying for a few minutes until the kimchi is heated through. Push the vegetables and kimchi to one side of the pan and add cold, cooked rice to the other side. Pour kimchi juice over the rice, mixing everything together. Add soy sauce and sesame oil to the pan, ensuring even distribution of flavors by stirring well. Continue cooking the fried rice, stirring occasionally, until it’s heated through and achieves a satisfyingly fried texture. Once ready, sprinkle shredded cheese over the top, cover the pan with a lid, and let the cheese melt for a few minutes. Remove the pan from heat when the cheese is fully melted. Garnish the kimchi fried rice with chopped green onions and sesame seeds before serving it hot and savoring the delightful combination of flavors.

Cooking Tips for the Perfect Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi Fried Rice
Day-old rice: the secret to the perfect texture.

One key step is to make sure you drain any excess liquid from the kimchi before adding it to the pan. This helps the rice grains fry up nice and crispy, instead of getting soggy and mushy. I tend to give the kimchi a few good squeezes, though using a colander works too. Just a fair warning – watch out for stray droplets of spicy kimchi juice! I may have learned that lesson the hard way.

I also found that adding some extra aromatics builds even more enticing flavor. Sautéing minced garlic and ginger with the kimchi and rice gives a lovely fragrance and warmth. And sprinkling in some sesame oil and seeds before serving adds a lovely nutty crunch.

The finishing touch for me is a drizzle of kecap manis, an Indonesian sweet soy sauce, right before eating. The slight hint of sweetness balances beautifully with the spice and acidity. I like to dollop a fried egg on top too for extra creaminess and protein. It soaks up that glossy sauce so nicely!

Serving Suggestions for Korean Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi Fried Rice
Ossing the ingredients together, creating a dance of flavors.

After perfecting my basic kimchi fried rice recipe, I wanted to try incorporating some other classic Asian flavors. Japanese gyoza dumplings seemed like the perfect accompaniment to the spicy, umami-rich rice.

I cook my gyoza according to package instructions – pan fried with a crispy bottom and a tender, juicy filling. Once they’re browned on both sides, I add a splash of water to the pan and cover. The steam finishes cooking the dumplings while lending extra flavor to the pan sauce.

To serve, I spoon the kimchi fried rice into a bowl and top with several piping hot gyoza. The sweet and savory pork filling plays beautifully with the rice’s sour tang and heat. I like to pour the gyoza pan sauce over everything – those meaty browned bits add incredible depth.

The combo of fluffy rice studded with kimchi and crispy potstickers is absolute perfection. It makes for a complete and utterly craveable meal with contrasting textures and flavors in every bite. I may never order takeout fried rice again thanks to this easy homemade version!

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FAQs on Korean Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi Fried Rice
The golden moment: kimchi meeting the rice in sizzling harmony.
  • What kind of rice works best for Kimchi Fried Rice? Day-old rice, preferably jasmine or short-grain rice, is ideal. Freshly cooked rice can be too moist, leading to a sticky and mushy fried rice.
  • Can I use store-bought kimchi? Absolutely! Just ensure it’s authentic and has been fermented well. The older the kimchi, the better the flavor.
  • Is there a vegetarian version of this dish? Of course! Simply skip any meat or seafood, and make sure your kimchi doesn’t contain any fish sauce or shrimp paste.
  • What can I do if my Kimchi Fried Rice is too spicy? Balancing with more rice, a dash of sesame oil, or a squeeze of lemon can help. Also, pairing it with mild side dishes or beverages can counterbalance the heat.
  • How do I store leftovers? Store any remaining Kimchi Fried Rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should be consumed within 2-3 days. Reheat on a stove for the best texture, rather than using a microwave.

Conclusion

As I close out this series of posts on my adventures cooking kimchi fried rice, I’m filled with gratitude for the journey so far. When I first stepped out of my comfort zone to try this fiery Korean staple, I never expected it would become a kitchen staple. But through trial, error, and some spicy mishaps, I’ve honed my recipe and transformed it into a true weeknight winner.

From tips on maximizing texture and flavor to creative serving suggestions, I’ve loved sharing my kimchi fried rice passion with the Food and Meal community. Your support, comments, and cooking inspiration motivate me to continue exploring new cuisines and expanding my home chef skills.

While my fridge is currently overflowing with napa cabbage awaiting its funky fermented fate, I’m already planning my next culinary voyage. Maybe I’ll explore the world of Japanese cuisine next, or finally try my hand at Indian curries. Wherever my taste buds lead me, I know the Food and Meal community will be along for the ride with me.

Hi! I'm Nazia of ‘Nazia Cooks’, a self-taught baker and cook residing in Chennai. Rooted in the rich South Indian culinary landscape, my palate has expanded to embrace global flavors. I revel in crafting fusion dishes, melding traditions to birth unique tastes.

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