This Kimchi fried rice is incredibly comforting and loaded with rich umami flavors to instantly awaken your tastebuds. Fragranced with Kimchi, Gochujang, garlic, and green onion, this easy & delicious Korean fried rice is made in a single pan with just a handful of ingredients, making it the ultimate meal for the weekdays.
What is Kimchi Fried Rice?
Growing up in a Korean household, Kimchi was a staple dish that was served on the dinner table on an everyday basis.
The best thing about Kimchi is that it’s packed with essential nutrients and countless health benefits, yet irresistibly delicious at the same time.
It’s helpful to know there are two types of cabbage kimchi based on its fermentation stage – fresh kimchi (Geotjeori 겉절이) and aged kimchi (Mugeun-ji 묵은지).
Fresh kimchi is the best served as a side dish, and aged kimchi (at least two weeks of fermentation) serves itself to be a versatile ingredient in Korean cooking.
Truth be told however, it wasn’t until university that I truly fell in love with Kimchi as I’ve begun to realize how versatile it is in whipping up quick, nutritious meals full of comfort and big flavors.
The bold flavors of Kimchi truly amplify any dish that it is incorporated in, which make up for many of my favorite dishes to make during the busy weekdays.
I will be sharing my recipes for all of these iconic dishes, but I wanted to share with you today my ultimate kimchi fried rice recipe, which can be whipped up in just a few minutes using a handful of ingredients.
What do I need to make Kimchi Fried Rice?
Kimchi Fried Rice is truly one of the easiest dishes to make at home, especially since it calls for a simple list of ingredients. Here is everything you’ll need to make your own batch of Kimchi Bokkeumbap:
- Aged kimchi: it’s important to use aged kimchi (fermented for at least 2 weeks) when it’s used as a cooking ingredient as it is much more flavorful when cooked, as opposed to the fresh alternative.
- Cooked rice: preferably day old; cooked the day prior and stored in the fridge overnight. This helps to dry the grains out enough to yield the most ideal texture for fried rice, preventing it from getting mushy and soggy during the cooking process.
- If you need to cook the day of, you can also cook your rice with a little bit less water than usual, then place it in the fridge uncovered for about 30 minutes to get your rice prepared for the stir-fry.
- Canned tuna: in oil. You can also use tuna in water, but the oil type ensures that the tuna retains the moisture in the stir-fry.
- I like to add tuna in my kimchi rice as there it is pre-cooked which makes the preparation even easier, it’s always ready to go in my pantry, and best of all, adds wonderful umami flavors and delicate texture to the dish.
- The combined flavor notes are incredibly complementary, and not to mention its nutritional benefits (high-quality protein!).
- Garlic + green onion: for the aromatics.
- Gochujang (Korean chili paste), soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil: to season the rice. Adding sugar will not make the dish sweet, rather balance out the sour notes of the aged kimchi.
- Optional garnish includes sunny-side-up eggs, green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and/or seasoned seaweed flakes.
How do I quickly ripen my Kimchi?
As mentioned in the ingredient details, this recipe calls for aged kimchi to bring out the deep flavors in the dish. To expedite this process, you can also leave out a container of kimchi at room temperature overnight for quick fermentation.
Since kimchi has already been fermented, leaving it out at room temperature overnight is food-safe and helps to heighten the flavors. Simply transfer it back into the fridge the next day to use in your dishes or to serve.
When buying store-bought kimchi, I often set aside a portion in a fermentation jar or a regular container and leave it out overnight, to use as a cooking ingredient.
This ensures that the rest of the kimchi follows a natural fermentation process, with having different types of kimchi to work with for both cooking and serving purposes.
Popular additions in Kimchi Fried Rice
Although I prefer to add tuna to my Kimchi Bokkeumbap, you can add any leftover meats/veggies to the mix, as with any other stir-fry.
The gochujang and kimchi will add a lot of flavor to the dish, making it very versatile to add any ingredients that you have on hand.
Other popular additions include processed meat such as bacon, ham, sausage, or spam, but you can also use chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, or tofu as fresh alternatives, or simply add more kimchi or other veggies.
I would just recommend cooking the meat in bite-sized pieces before adding into the kimchi mixture in the recipe.
And that’s it! All the ingredients you need to make your own glorious batch of Kimchi fried rice. I highly recommend giving this a try, as homemade Kimchi Bokkeumbap is truly a whole other level than your typical take-out orders.
I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious kimchi fried rice recipe, and please feel free to leave a comment below or message me on Instagram for any questions!
Other Korean recipes you may like:
15-Minute Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap)
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 green onion chopped, divided
- 1 can tuna drained, or your choice of protein (see notes below)
- 1 cup aged kimchi chopped
- 2 tbsp kimchi juice from the kimchi container
- 2 tbsp Gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 cups cooked rice cooled or day-old
- 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
- sunny-side-up egg, green onion, toasted sesame seeds, and/or seaweed flakes optional, for garnish
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and green onion and cook until aromatic. Add tuna and kimchi and mix to combine.
- Add Gochujang, soy sauce, and sugar, and mix together until the kimchi is cooked through, for about 2 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low. Add rice and kimchi juice and mix together, ensuring all grains are evenly coated. Finish with sesame oil and remove from heat. Garnish and enjoy!
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