Kimchi Fried Rice

kimchi fried rice

A few years ago I bought a jar of kimchi and was seriously underwhelmed. I could not see how millions of people could possibly be so in love with spicy fermented cabbage. Was I missing something? I couldn’t even tell if it had gone bad or not, which is never a good sign.

Then I moved here and kimchi was EVERYWHERE. Yes, you run into the occasional person who doesn’t like it, but there are pots of fermenting vegetables on every rooftop in my neighborhood, and I have not had a single meal in a restaurant where a dish of it was not presented on the side. It didn’t take long for me to become completely addicted, and although I’m ashamed to say that I still haven’t tried making my own, I feel like something is missing if I don’t have some with my dinner.

My students are horrified to hear that I buy kimchi at the grocery store, but I just can’t commit to buying a vessel in which to make it, and what if it doesn’t turn out or I give myself food poisoning or I choose a bad recipe? It stresses me out just thinking about it, so for now I’ll stick with buying the oh-so-convenient packages of it from the refrigerator case near the produce section. I realize how ridiculous it is to be this intimidated by a few pounds of cabbage and some red pepper flakes, but it’s just my sad reality.

Note: If you’re vegetarian, inspect the kimchi carefully, because some varieties contain fish. Or be a braver soul than I am and make your own!

kimchi and rice

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 block tofu, drained, patted dry and cut into thin rectangles
1/2 onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I like a mix of brown and white)
2/3 cup chopped kimchi
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high. Add the tofu in a single layer (cook in batches if necessary) and cook until golden on all sides (toss the pan occasionally).
Add the onion and zucchini and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft.
Add the rice and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the kimchi and soy sauce, and mix well. Cook for about 2 minutes more, then serve.


8 Responses to “Kimchi Fried Rice”

  1. 1 Lindsay October 8, 2009 at 4:26 am

    Yum! I love kimchi fried rice but i haven’t had it in forever

  2. 2 Maria October 8, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I love your new site! Sorry it took me so long to get over here! How fun! And what a tasty dish!

  3. 3 gaga October 9, 2009 at 9:37 am

    I love kimchi fried rice. I love kimchi anything actually šŸ™‚ I think you should definitely try to make your own. You don’t need a special vessel, just an old jar, and it’s not as scary as it seems and tastes so good. I have a great recipe for it on my blog if you’re interested.

    Regardless, you’re so lucky to be surrounded by such delicious food all the time. I’m seriously jealous!

  4. 4 The big blue dog October 9, 2009 at 11:19 am

    New reader here!! My hubby loves making fried rice! We will have to try this recipe thanks for sharing!

  5. 5 Yudith October 9, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I love kimchee, but I don’t like the smell in the house when I am cooking with it! I have never cooked it in fried rice though–I have to try this sometimes. I love using them in soup, but my hubby doesn’t like it for some reason (he usually eats everything else!).

  6. 6 Chris October 10, 2009 at 8:30 am

    I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never had kimchi. And considering I love all kinds of pickled vegetables… Glad to hear the pre-made variety is acceptible – I’ll have to give it a shot!

  7. 7 Meghan@traveleatlove October 10, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I enjoy kimchi a lot, but yes I am scared to try to ferment anything! I would totally poison myself!

  8. 8 Emily October 11, 2009 at 2:13 am

    I’ve never tried kimchi, but I’ll be honest, I’ve never been in a hurry to. I do think it’s something I should try sometime–don’t knock it til you try it, right? I’ve been meaning to go to a good Korean restaurant here in L.A, so I’m sure I can find some good kimchi.

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