Kimchi Fried Rice

After several months of being away from the blog, Sara and I have gotten back on track and are motivated to share some recipes to celebrate the coming of Spring! While this Kimchi Fried Rice recipe isn’t necessarily Spring inspired, it is definitely a staple recipe that provides comfort and familiarity all year long. One particularly fond memory I have is of my mom cooking this dish for me one afternoon and using our stove-top fan to diffuse the kimchi smell from the kitchen. Unluckily for my dad, he had been doing outdoor construction on the house exactly where the kitchen fan deposited the kimchi odors… Needless to say, the pungent smell is not one of his favorites, and he claims he was forever scarred from by experience. On the other hand, Mike has on several occasions claimed that it is his favorite dish that my mom makes, and frequently requests it.

While our mom has always made this dish using Spam as the main protein, I had none on hand today. Instead, I decided to use these paleo Asian meatballs that I made this weekend following this recipe from NomNomPaleo. They include a mixture of ground beef, sweet potato, shitake mushroom, shallot, tomato paste, cilantro, and fish sauce.

IMG_1373 I started out by defrosting some brown rice and chopping up a heaping cup full of kimchi and several meatballs.

IMG_1374I next added some butter to my pan, added the kimchi and meat, and cooked these together for a few minutes until they heated through and sizzled.IMG_1375Finally, I added the rice and some sesame oil and kimchi juice to the pan and stir fried the rice. From my own experience and the advice from the women of our family, I’ve learned that whenever making fried rice it is better to use rice that has been already cooked and frozen, never fresh. Fresh rice is usually a bit too sticky and moist to create the slightly crisp rice texture that is ideal.
IMG_1377I topped my bowl with a few pieces of bacon and a sprig of parsley for a pop of color. This really is one of those dishes that I have to consciously pace myself when eating, for fear of finishing too quickly out of its sheer deliciousness. For an perfect lazy Sunday afternoon lunch with a spicy tang from the fermented kimchi and a heartiness from the meat, this Kimchi Fried Rice really hits the spot. Although kimchi may seem an intimidating ingredient to use, it is quite versatile and I encourage you to try out the recipe. It may just become a permanent part of your recipe repertoire.

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