Here is an easy kimchi fried rice recipe! I love this dish because it reminds me of my vacation in Korea. This delicious fried rice is very easy to make and works best with cold, leftover cooked rice.
If you haven’t tried making fried rice, think of it as a one-pot stir-fry dish that allows you to use up any of the leftovers in your fridge. While it starts with cooked rice for carbs, you can easily add in any vegetables and proteins that you have lying around.
This variation, kimchi fried rice, simply involves adding kimchi into it. You can get a pot of kimchi easily from the grocery store, either in the cold foods area or in the Korean aisle.
What is Kimchi Fried Rice?
Kimchi is a staple condiment in Korean cuisine, made with Napa cabbage that’s fermented in salt together with other vegetables like daikon radishes and carrots. Its vibrant red color and the heat come from Korean red pepper. Ginger, garlic, and green onion also add more flavor.
What I love about kimchi is how many flavor profiles there are! If you eat it on its own, you’ll know what I mean: it’s spicy, sweet, salty, sour, fizzy, and just a party for the tastebuds.
And while it’s so easy to get our hands on store-bought kimchi today, kimchi-making is a huge part of Korean culture and is an important tradition for many Korean families. Kimchi fried rice, or kimchi bokkeumbap, can be eaten on its own as a main dish or served as a side. I’ve made it many times when I couldn’t be bothered to whip up a full meal (yes, I absolutely have those days!) and for the busy university days when I barely had time to breathe! Now, I just make it when I’m feeling a little nostalgic 🙂
While kimchi is spicy, this fried rice isn’t too hot, but you are welcome to adjust the amount of kimchi to your liking.
What you’ll need:
- Short grain rice – Cook three cups of rice a day before making this dish. Fried rice is best made from day-old rice that’s dried up a little.
- Kimchi – Prepare 1 ½ cups of kimchi and chop it into smaller pieces.
- Eggs – We will scramble the eggs, but you can also make it sunny side up.
- Garlic and green onion – These are must-haves in most Asian recipes and help to get the fragrance going!
- Dashi stock powder – This ingredient provides a unique, savory depth (umami) to the dish that would otherwise be missing.
- Soy sauce – Use light soy sauce (not dark soy sauce, which is much thicker and sweeter).
- Vegetable oil – For frying. The best options for Asian cooking are sunflower oil, peanut oil, or rapeseed oil. Avoid olive oil, which has a distinct smell to it.
How to Make Kimchi Fried Rice
- Beat the eggs, then scramble them in the frying pan until fully cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Thinly slice the green onion and mince the garlic. Drizzle some oil into the frying pan, and lightly fry them over medium heat.
3. Add the kimchi, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the dashi stock powder and the egg, and mix to incorporate. Then add the rice, and mix together until the rice is fully coated in the kimchi.
4. Drizzle over the soy sauce, then mix together once more. Remove from heat, and serve.
- Topping suggestions – Seaweed flakes, sesame seeds, scallions, and fried garlic make great toppings for kimchi fried rice!
- Best rice texture – We want our rice to be a little dehydrated if we are making fried rice. If you are cooking rice on the same day, use less water than you usually would. If not, simply cook rice as usual, and once it has cooled, place it in the fridge to dry it out even further. This will prevent your kimchi fried rice from turning mushy.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
If you need a make-ahead meal that you can grab and go, kimchi fried rice is the way to go! After your kimchi fried rice has cooled to room temperature, store it tightly in a container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To reheat the kimchi fried rice, you have two options:
- Microwave – Pop the container into the microwave for 3 minutes on medium heat.
- Refry – Add a little bit of oil to the frying pan over medium heat. Add the leftover kimchi fried rice and fry for about 5 minutes. If it is too dry, you can sprinkle a bit of water or add more kimchi juice to reintroduce moisture.
The best type of kimchi for Kimchi Fried Rice is baechu-kimchi, the most common type made with Napa cabbage.
Kimchi fried rice is vegetarian. But it’s not vegan-friendly, since there are eggs in this recipe and some kimchi varieties are fermented with fish sauce and seafood. Please check the ingredients on the bottle to be sure!
Kimchi fried rice makes a really satisfying meal alongside some crispy fried chicken. You can also add bacon or Spam as you’re frying the onion and garlic.
You shouldn’t use rice that’s just been cooked! There’s too much moisture in freshly cooked rice, so we usually use day-old rice kept in the fridge to really dry it out.
Kimchi Fried Rice
- 3 cups short grain rice cooked
- 1 ½ cups kimchi chopped into smaller pieces
- 2 eggs
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 green onion
- 1/2 tsp dashi stock powder
- 3-4 tsp soy sauce
- vegetable oil
- Beat the eggs, then scramble in the frying pan until fully cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Thinly slice the green onion and mince the garlic. Drizzle some oil into the frying pan, and lightly fry them over medium heat.
- Add the kimchi, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the dashi stock powder and the egg, and mix to incorporate. Then add the rice, and mix together until the rice is fully coated in the kimchi.
- Drizzle over the soy sauce, then mix together once more. Remove from heat, and serve.