What elevates this kimchi fried rice recipe to “best-of-all-time” status? The variety of toppings!
During a recent visit home to NYC, I was invited to an advance screening of My Life in Sourdough. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a miniseries about a French girl living in Brooklyn, looking for love but becoming obsessed with her sourdough starter instead. The series is part comedy, part drama, and part cooking show. Clocking in at around six minutes each, the episodes are perfectly portioned as welcome distractions when you’re avoiding all those midday work emails (you’re welcome!).
Each episode is paired with a sexy recipe video and the recipes couldn’t be simpler or more classic. There’s an apple galette with fresh rosemary; crispy roast chicken with garlic cloves tucked under the skin; Crêpes Suzette with blood orange juice and Cointreau up in flames. The cook in the videos doesn’t measure any ingredients or use any fancy cookware. It all looks very casual, but lovingly made.
The vignettes managed to do exactly what the plethora of food content we’re constantly bombarded with seek to do: they made me want to cook.
Sometimes, as a professional recipe developer, I get so caught up with creating unique recipes that I forget about how I actually cook in my everyday life – when it’s not for clients or blogging – and what kind of food truly makes me happy. It’s almost never about fancy ingredients or fussy techniques. It’s about what I can find in my fridge and pantry and how I can turn it into the most delicious thing possible in under 30 minutes.
Which is what brings me to this kimchi fried rice recipe. I usually cook a big batch of grains for the week to use in grain bowls, soups, and salads. Whenever I prep a pot of plain brown rice, it almost always turns into fried rice. Fried rice is the perfect canvas for frozen or bottom-of-the-crisper-drawer vegetables.
Packed with my beloved Asian flavors, this kimchi fried rice recipe has all the comforting properties of takeout with none of the yucky oils or processed ingredients. And if you have a container of plain rice leftover from Chinese takeout, this is the perfect way to use it up.
As the title of this post suggests, this is not your basic fried rice. What elevates this kimchi fried rice recipe to “best-of-all-time” status is the variety of toppings used.
Briny kimchi, crunchy raw cucumbers, grassy cilantro, and nutty crumbled nori result in a dreamy combo of textures and flavors that make this one-bowl meal perfectly balanced. (You’ll notice I use kimchi as a topping instead of cooking it with the rice because heat can kill some of its gut-friendly probiotic bacteria.) Trust me, once you taste all the chewy-crunchy-spicy goodness of this recipe, you’ll never go back to fried rice sans toppings again.
Before I go, I have to say I’m in no way claiming this kimchi fried rice recipe is authentic or traditional to any specific culture. This dish is just inspired by some of my favorite Asian ingredients and how I use them in my everyday life. Lastly, even though I measured out all the ingredients below, feel free to use your palate as your guide instead. And if you want to throw in some extra veg – like broccoli, green beans, asparagus, or kale – go for it!Print
What elevates this kimchi fried rice recipe to “best-of-all-time” status is the variety of toppings used. Briny kimchi, crunchy raw cucumbers, grassy cilantro, and nutty crumbled nori result in a dreamy combo of textures and flavors that make this one bowl meal perfectly balanced.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 ½ cups stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms (fresh or frozen)
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari, divided
- 1 cup shelled edamame (frozen or thawed)
- 2 ½ cups cooked short grain brown rice, cold from the fridge
- 1 tablespoon peeled minced fresh ginger
- 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 small cucumbers (preferably Persian), finely diced
- 1 cup kimchi, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and/or chopped scallions
- 4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 4 snack-size nori sheets, crumbled
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the shiitakes and cook until soft and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
- While the mushrooms cook, crack the egg into a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce. Whisk to combine; set aside.
- Add the edamame to the skillet with the shiitakes and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the rice and spread it into an even layer. Cook undisturbed to lightly crisp up on the bottom, about 1 minute. Then add the ginger and garlic, stir the rice, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Push all the contents of the skillet to one side and pour the soy sauce-egg mixture on the empty side of the skillet. Cook the egg while continually stirring it with a spatula until small curdles form, about 15 seconds. Then combine the rice with the egg and add the fish sauce, sesame oil, and the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce. Stir to combine, turn the heat off, taste, and adjust seasonings, if needed.
- Divide the rice among bowls and top with the cucumbers, kimchi, cilantro, sesame seeds, and nori. Serve immediately.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 325
- Fiber: 2.5 g
- Protein: 8.3 g