Kimchi fried rice (bokumbap or bokkeumbap) makes for a simple meal that helps you use two items commonly found in Korean pantries and refrigerators: rice and kimchi. This recipe is humble food that is mostly enjoyed at home, but you might also see it in some casual Korean eateries.
At home, making kimchi fried rice is a great way to use leftover kimchi that's a bit past its prime. Leftover kimchi that's been hanging around your refrigerator for a little too long may be more sour than fresh kimchi, and that actually helps make this dish special.
I almost always make this recipe if we have leftover rice and/or kimchi, and I usually use Canadian bacon as a protein if I have it. However, the bacon is optional, and you just as easily can use thinly sliced beef, pork, ham, or even Spam if you choose (or if you happen to have it in the house).
I've also seen recipes that use chicken or baby shrimp as the protein source, so don't be afraid to experiment once you've got the basic recipe mastered. Finally, kimchi fried rice can be made vegetarian by substituting tofu squares for the pork, beef, chicken or shrimp.
Kimchi, of course, is rich in vitamins and minerals, and makes for an extremely healthy food choice. Most Koreans enjoy kimchi every day of the year. I recommend using kimchi that's made with Napa cabbage for this kimchi fried rice recipe. Quick, easy, and cheap to make, kimchi bokumbap is simple Korean homecooking at its best.
- 1 cup kimchi, drained and chopped (preferably the kind made with Napa cabbage)
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced beef, spam, pork, bacon, or ham
- 3 cups cooked rice
- Salt to taste
- 1 fried egg for each serving
- If using American bacon, saute briefly on an ungreased large pan and omit oil from next step. With any other meat or a vegetarian version, start with step #2.
- Saute kimchi and onion in a lightly greased large pan over medium heat for a few minutes.
- When vegetables begin to look transparent, add ½ Tbsp of butter, garlic, and soy sauce and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add meat or pork and continue to saute until meat is cooked.
- Turn heat off but keep pan on burner.
- Add rice and rest of butter, mixing to combine.
- Salt to taste and top with fried egg to serve.