Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap in Korean) is quick, easy, and inexpensive to make, yet this humble meal tastes simply marvelous. Kimchi is made of fermented vegetables (napa cabbage, radish, scallion, and cucumber are used) and it’s a staple in the Korean diet. It tastes spicy and sour, and has a pungent smell.
If you have never had kimchi before, or don’t like eating kimchi by itself, try this fried rice recipe because once kimchi is cooked, it loses its pungent taste and leaves just delightful spicy, refreshing, tangy flavors.
Unlike other fried rice recipes that use all kinds of ingredients, Kimchi Fried Rice can be simple; with just kimchi and rice. Kimchi is very flavorful so you won’t need any other seasonings.
Though my favorite ingredients for kimchi fried rice include Gochujang, a fried egg, and Korean seaweed (I usually put a lot because I love them, but refrained from putting too much for the photos).
Kimchi Fried Rice is a very simple dish, but the most important tip to make perfect fried rice is to use day-old rice, which is dry and not soft. Use kimchi juice from the jar to season the rice as it brings out delicious umami flavor, and drizzle with sesame oil which gives nice nutty aroma to awaken your appetite. If you like it extra spicy, serve with Spicy Korean Chili Seasoning from Season with Spice.
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- 2 scallions (white ends to cook, green parts to garnish)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup napa cabbage kimchi (drained) + 2 Tbsp. juice (from the same jar)
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, separated
- 2 tsp. gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
- ½ Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 cups day-old rice, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. white sesame seeds
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5 Korean seaweed (optional), shredded
- 2 large eggs (1 fried egg per person to serve on top)
- Slice white part of the scallion thinly and cut green parts of scallion diagonally. Also, mince the garlic cloves.
- Using kitchen shears, cut kimchi into bite size pieces.
- In a large wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add scallion (white part) and the minced garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
- Add kimchi and kimchi juice and cook for 1 minute to combine with the scallion.
- Add gochujang and soy sauce and cook stirring for 1 minute until kimchi starts to get soft. 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 also add more kimchi juice if you like it spicy. Make sure you cook kimchi thoroughly before adding rice.
- Reduce heat to low and add the rice, stirring thoroughly to combine. Cook until the rice is warmed through, about 1-2 minutes. Toss the wok to keep the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Lastly, sprinkle sesame oil, sesame seeds, and green part of scallion (save some to garnish on top later). Add a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Toss the wok from time to time If the ingredients look like they are about to burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Meanwhile in a non-stick frying pan, heat oil over medium high heat and add the eggs. Turn down the heat to low and cook until egg white is completely cooked. The tip I learned to make a perfect sunny side up is to scoop the hot oil from the pan with a spoon and pour it over the uncooked egg white so that egg white will cook faster without overcooking the egg yolk.
- Serve Kimchi Fried Rice on a plate topped with a fried egg and sprinkled with scallions and shredded Korean seaweed.
Over-fermented (sour) kimchi is ideal for making fried rice, but if you’re using fresh (non-sour) kimchi, you could add a little bit of vinegar to juice up the flavor.
If you know you are going to make fried rice next day, use less water when cooking the rice to make it drier.
If you don’t have enough kimchi juice, season with salt; otherwise salt is not necessary.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.