Monday, September 8, 2014

Kimchi Fried Rice | Kimchi Bokkeumbap (김치 볶음밥)

When I was a kid, I always looked forward to mornings where my mom prepared a Korean breakfast. In Korea, they eat rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was born and raised in America though, so I got cereal and pancakes and scrambled eggs for breakfast most of the time. Frankly, I don't blame my parents one bit because cereal is certainly quicker and cheaper to throw on the table. Once in a while though, my mom would give me a bowl of rice with a stack of geem (dried seaweed a.k.a. nori a.k.a. laver) and "string" kimchi. On special days I'd get ramen. And on extra special days, I'd get kimchi fried rice.

Two things had to happen for my mom to make kimchi fried rice: we had to have leftover rice and a little leftover kalbi. She'd make the kimchi fried rice with kalbi chopped into small pieces and crumble in some geem. It was the best.

Now that I can cook meals for myself, I make kimchi bokkeum bap for breakfast all the time. All the time. On nights where we have Korean food for dinner, I'll purposely make extra rice so that I can make kimchi bokkeum bap in the morning. Even if we don't have leftover kalbi, I just make it without meat. The vegetarian version is still quite delicious so no complaints.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
2 cups cooked sticky rice (day old, cold rice is great here)
1 cup cabbage kimchi, chopped
1 tablespoon hot pepper paste
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 piece nori, cut into strips
2 eggs (optional)
+ chopped scallion
Start by heating a skillet over a medium flame with a bit of oil. Dump in the chopped kimchi and fry for a few minutes until the cabbage starts to turn slightly translucent.
Add in a little sesame oil and the hot pepper paste and stir until the hot pepper paste starts to "melt" into the kimchi. If you have leftover kalbi that you want to chuck in (or pieces of spam or pieces of bologna or tofu, whatever you like) this would be a great time to do it.
Plop in the rice and stir to combine until every grain is red and lovely.
Add a little butter to the pan to add some moisture back into the rice and to add a little richness to the dish.
Sprinkle in the strips of nori and serve up heaping bowlfuls.
If you're looking for a little protein, fry up two eggs and plop one on top of each bowl. I just fry them in the same pan I used to make the rice. Why dirty up an extra pan, right?
Sprinkle a few green onion bits on top for color and some yummy onion flavor.
This is the best breakfast ever! Obviously, it makes a great lunch and dinner too but I will always enjoy it the most when it's served at breakfast. The rice is spicy with a slight sweetness from the hot pepper paste and bites of delicious acidic pickle flavor from the kimchi bits and so much nutty flavor from the sesame oil. I don't know what else to say except this makes me incredibly happy.
Here's the recipe page:

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