Loaded with kimchi, mushrooms, and other veggies, Korean kimchi fried rice (kimchi bokkeumbap) comes together in under 30 minutes and makes for a great weeknight meal. Top it with a soft-boiled egg for a perfectly balanced dish.
A delicious bowl of fried rice is all you need for a comforting meal on weekdays, here are some versions – Hibachi Fried Rice, Egg Fried Rice, Schezwan Fried Rice, Homemade Chicken Fried Rice and Mushroom Fried Rice.
About This Recipe
Kimchi fried rice also called Kimchi Bokkeumbab is Korean-style fried rice made using cooked rice, mature kimchi, gochujang paste, and veggies.
This Korean rice stir-fried with spicy kimchi is super easy to make and comes together in under 20 minutes. It is high on flavor, needs very little effort, and can be made with veggies, seafood, smoky bacon, meat, sausages, or eggs.
This Korean comfort food can also be a great side dish for your weekend Asian brunch or can be prepared for potlucks or lunch boxes.
Rice – This recipe turns out best when prepared with day-old rice. Freshly steamed rice is moist and soft and when stir-fried, it can get mushy, which isn’t very nice in a stir fry dish! So, in case you have leftover rice, you know where to use it.
Use any small or medium grain steamed rice. Basmati rice also works perfectly.
If you are cooking the rice fresh, then spread it on a baking tray and freeze it for 15 minutes before adding it to the wok as cold rice works well.
Kimchi – Kimchi is easily available in the Asian section of the grocery stores. You can also order it online on Amazon. The leftover liquid from the kimchi is also used in this recipe.
If the kimchi is not mature, you will not get enough liquid. In that case, replace the shortfall with rice vinegar.
Mushrooms – Mushrooms give a nice crunch to this dish. I have used regular button mushrooms but other varieties like enoki, portobello or shitake will also be fine.
Feel free to use other veggies such as, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, Asian greens, green beans, baby corn, spinach, kale, etc. You can even add tofu, which can be a great protein-rich addition to this stir-fried recipe.
Butter – Butter really oomphs up the flavor of this dish. You can cook this fried rice in vegetable oil or sesame oil, but butter is highly recommended.
Others – You will also need garlic, onion, and green onions while stir-frying the rice. If you like that garlicky flavor, increase the quantity of garlic.
For the Sauce – The sauce is prepared with a combination of toasted sesame oil, kimchi liquid, honey, gochujang (Korean chili paste), and rice vinegar. This sauce is packed with flavors and instantly adds depth to the fried rice.
Gochujang is optional. I like to add it for the spicy kick that makes this rice extra special. Honey is added for a little hint of sweetness, that really complements the spicy flavors of gochujang and kimchi.
Non-Veg Options – Add shredded chicken, shrimp, fish, crispy bacon, cooked pork, egg, or crumbled sausages to this rice to make a non-vegetarian version.
How to make Kimchi Fried Rice?
Drizzle a tsp of sesame oil over the rice and use your fingers to mix it, so each grain of rice is coated with oil, and there are no big clumps.
Stir together 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1 tbsp kimchi liquid, 2 tbsp gochujang, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, and 1 tbsp honey in a bowl and set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp unsalted butter in a large wok over medium heat. A thin round-bottomed wok will work best but you can use a wide skillet too.
When the butter is melted, add 2 tsp minced garlic, ¼ cup chopped onion and ¼ cup chopped green onion to the wok and fry for a minute.
Add ½ cup squeezed and chopped kimchi, and 100 g chopped mushroom and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occassionally.
Now add the sauce that we mixed earlier, and the cooked rice to the wok. Toss and stir-fry the rice until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice (3-4 minutes). You can tell when the rice is ready when it fluffs up and stops being sticky.
Garnish with chopped green onions and top with a soft boiled or fried egg. Serve hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Opt for kimchi, which is at least 2 weeks old. As it matures, kimchi undergoes lactic acid fermentation, which converts the sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid. This not only makes it taste sour but also increases the amount of glutamic acids. This process makes it taste sour and add a depth of flavor to it.
You will also get more juice from mature kimchi as opposed to newly made ones. If in case, you don’t have enough kimchi liquid, then replace the shortfall with rice vinegar.
Usually, kimchi has non-vegan ingredients like brine shrimp or fish sauce. So to make it vegan, you can opt for vegan kimchi. Read the labels carefully while buying them.
You will also have to replace honey with brown sugar for a vegan version.
Pro Tips By Neha
Use leftover rice to make kimchi fried rice for the best texture. It turns out nice and separate and doesn’t turn mushy.
Drizzle 2 tsp of toasted sesame oil onto the rice and coat each grain with it before you add it into the pan. It will prevent the rice from clumping up and sticking together.
How to use Kimchi? – Open the container and take out the kimchi in a bowl. Squeeze it using your fingers to get the juice. Now keep the juice aside and chop the kimchi.
Although we are going to add the juice back to the rice, squeezing the kimchi is important otherwise it will not be caramelized while stir-frying because of the liquid in it. Caramelizing the kimchi deepens the flavor.
You can adjust the heat level, by adding more or less kimchi and gochujang to the recipe.
Make this fried rice in butter for an added taste.
Serve this fried rice on its own, as it is high on flavor and doesn’t really need anything on the side. But if you are making it for your brunch or a special meal, then you can serve sheet pan spicy Korean chicken, kimchi noodles or other Korean recipes on the side.
This kimchi fried rice can last in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days, in an airtight container. Reheat it in a pan or microwave, until nice and warm. Reheat only the amount you want to serve, otherwise reheating it again and again can only decrease its shelf life.
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Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- ½ cup squeezed and chopped kimchi
- 100 grams mushrooms (sliced)
For the Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon kimchi liquid
- 2 tablespoons gochujang
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Drizzle a tsp of sesame oil over the rice and use your fingers to mix it, so each grain of rice is coated with oil, and there are no big clumps.
- Stir together 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1 tbsp kimchi liquid, 2 tbsp gochujang, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, and 1 tbsp honey in a bowl and set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp unsalted butter in a large wok over medium heat. A thin round-bottomed wok will work best but you can use a wide skillet too.
- When the butter is melted, add 2 tsp minced garlic, ¼ cup chopped onion and ¼ cup chopped green onion to the wok and fry for a minute.
- Add ½ cup squeezed and chopped kimchi, and 100 g chopped mushroom and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Now add the sauce that we mixed earlier, and the cooked rice to the wok. Toss and stir-fry the rice until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice (3-4 minutes). You can tell when the rice is ready when it fluffs up and stops being sticky.
- Garnish with chopped green onions and top with a soft boiled or fried egg. Serve hot.