Friday, June 29, 2012

Spicy Pork and Kimchi Fried Rice


Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish of spicy fermented vegetables (usually napa cabbage or radish) and is commonly eaten as an appetizer or used in cooking. I was never really a fan of kimchi. Whenever I dined at Korean restaurants and was presented with banchan (the many little dishes that are served at the start of the meal), I would just sample a few slivers of the cabbage kimchi and perhaps a piece of the radish kimchi (I havan't acquired a taste for that yet). My favourites were usually the cubed potatoes (potato jorim) and the soy bean sprouts. Over time, I actually grew to like the taste of kimchi, and I guess it also depends on how "powerful" the flavour is. Everytime we shop at the Korean supermarket and browse through the shelves of kimchi, G would remind me jokingly "Are you sure you want to try it? It's made with rotten fish/squid." We watched that episode of Bizarre Foods where Andrew Zimmern visited a traditional kimchi factory in Korea where they showed how tonnes and tonnes of cabbage were seasoned and fermented in huge vats with rotten fish or squid (or something like that). And for months too.

Putting those thoughts aside, I scanned the various tubs and bags of kimchi available and settled on the one that was imported directly from Korea (the rest were locally made in Australia). No surprises, the brand of the kimchi was CJ, which seems to be one of the most popular brands spanning across a wide variety of food products. I brought it home, tried it, and found the kimchi to be surprisingly pleasant tasting, not too strong and quite zingy and refreshing. I'm thinking, maybe I do like kimchi after all. Or maybe just this brand of kimchi.


Well, after I discovered (or uncovered) my budding love for kimchi, I decided to make some kimchi fried rice, something I wouldn't have given much thought too before. Kimchi fried rice is typically rice fried with chopped kimchi and served with a fried egg on top. The fried egg is important. Do no omit. The egg white provides texture while the runny (or gooey) egg yolk coats the rice grains, sort of like a thick gravy, and makes it taste all rich and yummy. I think kimchi fried rice is usually served with a bulgogi of some sort, but I figured it would be easier to make this a one dish meal and combine the bulgogi element with the fried rice.


I used thinly sliced pork belly (I bought ready-sliced frozen ones - so convenient!) and marinated it with gochujang and soy, which I then fried before adding in the rice and kimchi. I made this dish twic, and the first time I chopped the kimchi really finely, which in fact was too fine that I could hardly taste it). The second time though, I roughly chopped them in bigger pieces, which was much better as I could then taste the cabbage and well as have some texture in the dish. It was yum! And of course, anything served with a sunny-side up is always a winner.

Spicy Pork and Kimchi Fried Rice

Ingredients

120g (4 oz) thinly sliced pork (I used pork belly), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup kimchee, roughly chopped
2 cups overnight cooked rice (calrose or short-grained sushi rice)
1 tbsp soy sauce (or to taste)
1/2 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
1 tbsp sesame oil
Pinch of salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp kimchi juice
1 scallion, chopped

Marinade:
1 tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
Dash of black pepper

To serve:
2 eggs, fried sunny-side up
Extra chopped scallions for garnish

Method

  1. Combine pork with marinade, mix well and set aside.
  2. Remove the overnight rice from the fridge and microwave for 30 seconds or until it reaches room temperature. Cold rice can be hard and grainy.
  3. Heat up oil in a non stick wok/pan on high heat. Fry garlic and onions until onions are softened. Add the pork and fry until cooked.
  4. Add kimchee and fry for 1 minute. Then add the rice.
  5. Break up the rice grains and mix it through in the wok/pan. Drizzle over with soy sauce, add sugar and stir again. Spread the rice out in one layer so that it cooks quickly and evenly. Let it fry for half a minute or so, then use a spatula to flip the rice over occasionally. Stir through the chopped scallions, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add sesame oil and kimchi juice and toss through the rice for half a minute until glossy. When the rice is ready (I like it to be a little moist), dish out into serving bowls. Garnish with chopped scallions and top with fried egg. Enjoy hot!
Thinly sliced pork belly - just like bacon!
 
My earlier version of kimchi fried rice with finely chopped pork and kimchi



6 comments:

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

Even I just had my dinner, your Kimchi rice still look so tempting! Love your idea to add thinly sliced pork belly, sound so yummy !

Mel said...

Your kimchi rice looks so delicious. Not only the Korean love it but all of us look at your photo here would love to have a plate too. The rice and slice pork must be full of favours!

Free Spirit Eater said...

I LOVE kimchi fried rice! The addition of spicy pork just makes my mouth water even more. Bookmarked this recipe too. I am slowly becoming addicted to your site, everything looks mouthwatering. Gorgeous photography too! =]

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Fern, I AM HUNGRY AGAIN! You know I don't (or more like can't) eat kimchi because it's spicy...but I always want to try making kimchi rice for fun. I might like it... with rice, it might be less spicy? I'm afraid of making a huge amount and no one (except for my husband) eats it you know. But kimchi rice with fried egg on top has been my list for a while. I'll have to check it out one day!

A Little Yumminess said...

Addicted to kimchi fried rice at Korean restaurant. Never thought to make!!

AL TAN said...

I just bought a jar of kimchee over the weekend, can't wait to try out this recipe.