I realized this weekend that it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything savory. Which is funny, because I consider myself a pretty novice baker — I guess we just rotate much more frequently between tried and true meals, whereas Bowl #2 never has any input on sweets, so I just try any new thing I feel like. Anyway, I thought I’d change it up by posting about one of our very most favorite “tried and true”s — kimchi fried rice.
Around here, kimchi fried rice is our “happy food” — it’s our TGIF meal, our pig-out-in-sweatpants food, our reunion food when one of us has just come back from a trip, our celebration food when after we finish something school- or work-related (like passing the bar!) I usually make a gigantic wok-ful that just sits on the stove for the rest of the night, where we continually refill our bowls until it’s all gone. It never really lasts longer than that evening. Bowl #2’s face always lights up when I say I’m going to make it, and before I can finish the sentence he’s out to the supermarket to pick up Diet Coke. (Addictive sugary-but-not-sugary-but-probably-toxic cola is a must for this meal, by the way.)
Man, and if there was ever a weekend for comfort food, this weekend would have been it — it was the first weekend since I started work that I didn’t have time to bake or cook anything new for the blog, and on top of that, the heat in our apartment building broke, so I was novice-lawyering in a puffy down jacket and two pairs of fuzzy socks. (Very professional.) Even though I didn’t really have the time, I still broke out the oven just because it was so cold, and made these incredible cheddar bay biscuits by Brown Eyed Baker (highly recommend, though they are quite rich. I was planning to make these gorgeous muffins, too, before I got a big pile of work on Friday evening!) A bowl of this spicy fried rice, with creamy soft egg yolk and maybe some cheese mixed in, would have been sublime.
I do also have to preface this with a warning — this does have Spam. And although I love Spam (no surprises here), I begrudgingly acknowledge that it is skeevy to most of the world. (Very begrudgingly, by the way — it took me a long time to come around to The Pioneer Woman just because of this offhand remark!) Anyway, if you are one of those people who has a problem with eating mystery foods (aka normal people) you can replace it with some chopped ham, bacon, or pancetta. Allison over at Spontaneous Tomato has a version with shrimp that looks delicious, as well. Also, I do prefer to use Spam Lite over original — not that it’s better for you, but I like the lighter taste and consistency.
One last note — this is best for old kimchi, when the flavor is extra pungent and will really shine. Save your fresh kimchi for eating on its own as a side (or snack, or whenever). This is a great way to use up sour and fermented kimchi at the bottom of the jar.
Kimchi Fried Rice
serves 3-4, or 2 people over the course of one gluttonous evening.
3-4 eggs, beaten
1 can (12 oz) Spam Lite, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 cups kimchi, chopped, with liquid
4-5 cooked rice, preferably a day old
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp gochugaru (Korean spicy red chili powder), optional
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, to fry on top
shredded nori for garnish, optional
mozzarella or American cheese, optional
1. Heat one tablespoon of oil over high heat. Scramble eggs, then set aside. I like to season it with salt and pepper at this point.
2. Heat a bit more oil, then panfry diced Spam until lightly browned. Add diced onions and garlic and continue to sauté until onions begin to soften (they don’t have to be fully cooked and translucent). Add kimchi and continue to panfry on high heat until kimchi liquid begins to evaporate and kimchi grows crispy.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add rice and break it up until fully mixed. (This will take some arm work.)
4. Add sesame oil, gochugaru, and any additional salt and pepper, to your preference.
5. Finally, fry an egg sunny-side up to serve on top, and garnish with shredded nori. The rice tastes amazingly creamy with the soft egg yolk mixed in. You can also sprinkle some mozzarella on top or melt a slice of American into it — whatever you feel like!
If you’re in the mood for more kimchi, check out this kimchi grilled cheese recipe or bibim guksu (cold kimchi noodles); for more fried rice, this Thai spicy basil fried rice; for more Spam (yeah Spam!), these Spam musubis. And to try your hand at making your own kimchi, see this easy method.
Also, before I forget! I recently made a Facebook page for this blog! I feel like it kind of exists in a vacuum right now, so if you feel like heading on over there and liking it, that would be wonderful. Finally, a quick thanks to Nibbles by Jenny and Bon Aperture for so kindly nominating me for Liebster Awards! I was so flattered and it truly made my day. Thanks so much.