For Christmas this year I decided to get myself some well deserved presents. I went to our local bookstore and discovered the Korean cook books section. I was tempted by two books in particular “KOREATOWN” by Deuki Hong & Matt Rodbard and “Korean Food Made Simple” by Judy Joo. As a student, on a measly student budget, around Christmas, I could not justify the purchase of TWO rather expensive cook books. I was conflicted! I ended up purchasing “KOREATOWN” only to come back a few days later to purchase the other.
Sitting on my couch opening up these books with greedy eyes, and a guilty heart, I was throughly fascinated with the recipes presented before my eyes. Hong and Rodbard’s book explores fusion food and besides the very artistic and alluring pictures the recipes inside are exciting ; where traditional Korean cuisine meets the American Korea-town. The second book shares recipes more authentic to the Korean tradition. There is some overlap in recipes, both having the staple dishes of Korea, namely: Kimchi, Bulgogi, bibimbap, and the holy grail of Korean BBQ the Marinated Kalbi Beef. Just a few off the top of my head. But while I was looking for something to make for our channel, I discovered the Kimchi Fried Rice in both books. They were fundamentally the same but one recipe used bacon as a main ingredient. As a devout bacon lover, this caught my attention. I decided to make this Kimchi fried rice, combining my favourite parts of these two recipes.
Kimchi Fried Rice, aka Kimchi Bokkeum bap (김치볶음밥). It’s spicy, salty, crispy, gooey, moderately healthy (there are vegetables = win in my book), and its just a great all around recipe for any night of the week.
Getting to the point, for those people in a rush, or who are broke af, this is a great recipe for you! The ingredients are cheap (except for bacon…but it can be your splurge item for the week) and the instructions aren’t overly complicated! it is also super delicious!
Korean Fried Rice
1 large carrot, diced
1 green zucchini, diced
1 white or yellow onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp (about 1/2 inch) ginger, minced
1 tbsp Sake or Soju (optional)
1/2 lb of bacon (i’m not great with precise measurements, I used about 3/4 of a package)
1 1/2 cups of Chopped Kimchi
1 1/2 – 2 cups of Rice (i’ve heard its best if the rice is day old, if you make it fresh use slightly less water than usual to get a good fry on)
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1 tbsp Gochujang (Korean Red Pepper Paste: https://amzn.to/2HSwZ74)
Fried eggs (one for each person eating, or 2 if you are nice)
Start by slicing the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and fry till crispy.
While the bacon is cooking, dice the onions, carrots, and zucchini. Set the bacon aside and start frying the carrots and add the onions and zucchini in a few minutes later to accommodate the varied cooking times. I fried them in the grease from the bacon, but could substitute for olive oil. Mince the garlic and ginger and add it to the vegetables.
Coarsely chop the kimchi and add it to the vegetables along with the soju, after the vegetables are mostly cooked. Keep the heat medium high heat as you reintroduce the bacon to the mix. Allow all the ingredients to warm up before folding in the rice. Smooth the rice mixture down and reduce the heat. Keep cooking for as long as desired to create a crispy exterior to this rice dish.
Mix the butter and Gochujang together and smear over the top of the rice to increase flavour and moisture. Garnish with chopped green onions, crispy fried eggs, and sesame seeds.