Recipes: Mama Kwon's Kimchi Fried Rice (김치 볶음밥)

Mom was over at the house yesterday and I couldn't resist having her make me some kimchi fried rice before she left. She explained to me that kimchi fried rice is a dish that everyone loves in Korea. It is a dish probably originated, yet again, in the poorer communities of a way of using up every bit of resource. Kimchi is a fermented cabbage that has iconic state in Korea. There are hundreds of different permutations of the side dish, and every family has their own recipe.

Unfortunately, I don't have the space or time (or permission) to post mama Kwon's kimchi recipe, but I can post this simple recipe for when your stash of kimchi goes past it's prime.

Behchu kimchi (napa cabbage kimchi) is what we're working with here. Kimchi has several stages in it's life cycle. Once it's past it's prime is when there are a couple things you do with it. Make kimchi chigeh (kimchi stew) or make kimchi bokumbap (kimchi fried rice). The dish centers around this over fermented kimchi, and some sort of protein.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

1 lb over fermented kimchi
1/2 lb chicken, beef, pork, or tofu (any protein will work)
4 cups day old steamed jasmine or Korean medium grain rice
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 egg per person

Start by cutting up the protein into small half inch cubes removing all the fat and connective tissue. Next chop up the kimchi to small chunks as well, and set both aside. Bring a large frying pan to medium high heat, and add the oil and protein. Cook through. Add the kimchi, and stir fry all of it together for about 2 minutes. Add the cold rice, and incorporate into the kimchi/protein mixture. Stir fry for several minutes until the rice is heated through. Remove the pan from the heat, drizzle the sesame oil over the rice, stir, and eat right away, or heat up another frying pan to fry up your egg. The egg isn't essential to the dish, but is totally worth it.

Bon Appétit!
많이 드세요
-Joe Kwon

Some of you may be asking where to get said ingredients. Well if you find your local korean market you can find both toasted sesame oil as well as kimchi. Make sure you're buying the right kind of kimchi though. There are more than you can imagine.

Seoul Garden - Midwest City, OK

This place is located about a quarter mile from where we were playing and I'm gonna be completely honest, but the first time I went to Seoul Garden I didn't like their food. Back a couple of years ago, Justin and I were driving across the country from CA to NC and one of our stops happened to be Midwest City, OK. I didn't realize this of course until I went to Seoul Garden again today and recognized the plain interior design. I almost didn't go in today. I was so turned off the first time I thought to myself I better not even waste my time. Ban Chan are little side dishes that come with all Korean meals. They differ from day to day. Lucky me I chose that some Korean food is better than none. Much to my surprise Seoul Garden has stepped up their game. My experience today was much different from two years ago. The banchan was tastey, the bibimbap was hot and perfectly caramelized. It was like down home cooking for under 7 dollars an entree. How on earth did this happen? I guess it doesn't really matter. What does matter is that I got my fill of comfort food today. So I left happy and full!

Dolsot Bibimbap is a rice dish with assorted veggies and meat in a stone bowl that is heated to a very high temperature.

Do not go to this place expecting nice decor and ambience. It's about as charming as a grocery store. I must say though I'm quite partial to places that lack decor. It means instead of paying for two large terra cotta horses in the front of a restaurant, you're saving money on the food. There it is folks. One of my secrets for finding cheap dining. The less ambience, the cheaper the food(and sometimes better the food).


For more info click here.