I know it sounds almost unbelievable how kimchi fried rice can be described as aromatic and tasty. It seems more reasonable to expect that it would smell acidic from all the vinegar in the fermented cabbage, and that the strong smell of anything fermented would be overwhelming. But there really is more to kimchi fried rice than kimchi and rice.
There’s the onion-y flavor and fragrance of scallions and the heady aroma of garlic which are sauteed in a little oil before the rice and the kimchi go into the pan. Scallions? Why not onion or shallots? Well, it’s a quick and easy dish, and peeling and slicing an onion adds to the prep time and work. The white and light green portions of scallions are just as lovely for making a flavor base for this dish.
When the smell of the scallions and garlic is wafting in your kitchen, you add kimchi. You need to chop it into small pieces before using for fried rice. Drain and reserve the juice because we will add that later. So, continue sauteeing until the kimchi is heated through and the aroma becomes pronounced.
Turn up the heat — we’re moving from sauteeing to stir frying at this point — and spread the rice over the sauteed scallions, garlic and chopped kimchi. Drizzle soy sauce, oyster sauce and the reserved kimchi juice over the rice. Stir fry until the rice is heated through.
Take the dark green portion of the scallions and, with the heat off, add to the rice and toss thoroughly. Taste your kimchi fried rice, adjust the seasonings, if needed, give it a few more tosses and serve.
5-minute kimchi fried rice
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- ¼ cup scallions (white and light green portion of the stalks only) cut into two-inch lengths
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
- ½ cup chopped kimchi drained (juice reserved)
- 2 cups day-old rice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions (dark green portion only)
- salt optional
- 2 fried eggs optional
- Set the stove to medium and heat the cooking oil in a pan. Swirl to coat the entire bottom.
- Spread the white and light green portion of the scallions, and the garlic in the hot oil and saute for about half a minute.
- Add the drained kimchi and continue sauteeing for another half a minute.
- Turn up the heat to high and spread the rice over the scallions, garlic and kimchi.
- Drizzle in the soy sauce, oyster sauce and reserved kimchi juice.
- Stir fry until the rice is heated through and the coloring is even.
- Off the heat, toss in the dark green portion of the scallions.
- Taste and add salt, if needed (see notes below).
- Serve immediately.