I believe many of you have heard of kimchi, and if not, I hope that this post can entice you to give it a try. I’ve come to find that it’s one of those foods that you either hate or love. There’s no middle ground.
We, Koreans, eat kimchi with everything! It’s serious business, folks! A meal without it is unimaginable and considered incomplete! This especially holds true for the 1st generation Korean Americans. My parents eat it with pizza, tacos, burgers, spaghetti ( I know..it sounds rather disturbing, but it actually works!)… and just about anything else you can imagine :). I guess they know what they’re doing, bc if you’re a fan of food trucks at all, you’ve probably seen a lot of Korean fusion trucks that offer kimchi tacos, burritos, burgers, etc.
There are so many varieties of this traditional fermented dish, depending on its main ingredients, the season, and the region in Korea. Napa cabbage is the most popular and famous vegetable ingredient, but you can also easily find kimchi made with radishes, scallions, and cucumbers.
I’ve NEVER made it myself, and to be quite honest, I don’t think I ever will. Why? It’s a very tedious, time-consuming process that I’d rather not suffer through when I can easily find delicious, no msg, ready-to-go jars at the store :).
The biggest benefit of eating kimchi is that it contains “lactobacilli,” the good bacteria found commonly in fermented foods and yogurt. It also has high amounts of vitamins A and C and fiber. Although it’s low in sugar and calories, I do have to mention its’ high sodium content.
So like I said, kimchi appears in every meal in the traditional Korean house. On some days, rice drizzled in sesame oil with a side of kimchi is perfection. You can count on it making its appearance many times in this blog from now on. Although it’s commonly eaten as is, cooking it removes some of that pungent odor that you might find off-putting. To kick start the kimchi party, here’s a popular recipe to peak your interest..
Kimchi Fried Rice
Serves 2 people | Prep time: 10 min | Cooking time: 15 min
- 1 cup kimchi, chopped
- 2 cups leftover brown rice
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 can of canned salmon (or tuna)*
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbs canola oil
- 1 Tsp garlic, minced
- 1 Tsp honey
- 3 Tbs kimchi juice
- 1 Tbs sesame oil
- 1/2 Tbs sesame seeds
* Pork belly is the traditional ingredient. I’d rather not go that route ;). I leave that decision up to you.
* With each step, it’s important to keep stirring and mixing!
- Heat up oil in a nonstick pan over med-high heat.
- Cook onions and garlic until softened, approx 3 min.
- Add kimchi and cook for approx 3 min, until softened and starts to brown. Add honey and kimchi juice.
- Add canned salmon and leftover rice and cook, approx 4 min.
- Make a hole in the middle of the pan. Crack and drop egg. Stir well until egg is cooked and evenly incorporated. *
- With spatula, press the rice evenly in one layer and cook for about a min. Then flip it over. **
- Drizzle in sesame oil and sesame seeds. Mix well.
* Traditionally, egg is not part of the rice. It’s usually fried and served on top.
** This ensures quick and even cooking.
Have you ever had kimchi before? If so, what did you think? Yay or nay?