Kimchi Anyone?

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 :).

Oh bless you..Thank you for making my life so much easier!

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

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Directions 

* With each step, it’s important to keep stirring and mixing!

  1. Heat up oil in a nonstick pan over med-high heat.
  2. Cook onions and garlic until softened, approx 3 min.
  3. Add kimchi and cook for approx 3 min, until softened and starts to brown.  Add honey and kimchi juice.
  4. Add canned salmon and leftover rice and cook, approx 4 min.
  5. Make a hole in the middle of the pan.  Crack and drop egg.  Stir well until egg is cooked and evenly incorporated. *
  6. With spatula, press the rice evenly in one layer and cook for about a min.  Then flip it over. **
  7. 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.

I love this one from Costco! Gotta love that place

Step #5. I do this with any fried rice.

I like to wrap it in seaweed sheets. Just a friendly suggestion ;).

Question:

Have you ever had kimchi before?   If so, what did you think?  Yay or nay?

Lovely comments

  1. says

    I’m sure I’ve had kimchi when I’ve been out to eat before but I’ve never cooked with it. Do they sell it at the normal grocery store or do you have to go to an Asian specialty store? The fried rice looks really good!

    • says

      I’ve been seeing it at the regular grocery stories lately. Costco and even HEB in my neighborhood had it! However, I think the ones you get at the Korean markets taste better. Cooking it def mellows out the pungent odor. You should try it!!

  2. says

    Hmm I’ve never had kimchi before but it looks interesting! I’m a sucker for fried rice and it looks really good! Actually, anything with brown rice and sesame oil piques my interest haha! (I love using sesame oil.)

    • says

      I know!! I just love sesame oil! Brown rice mixed with a lil’ bit of sesame oil and soy sauce, topped with fried egg…nom nom nom!

  3. says

    Oh dear this recipe has me drooling! I love kimchi- so moreish! I definitely see how your parents eat it alongside spaghetti/burgers…my mom is the same with roasted papadams!

    • says

      Oh, I’ve never had papadams. What is it? I don’t know about your parents, but mine always complain of stomach problems when they eat foods other than Korean. Somehow the addition of kimchi seems to make it ok. hmm…

  4. says

    Mmmm yes yes yes!!!!! Min 언니!!! can you believe that I started eating kimchi when I was 1 and a half?!!!!! lol–I couldn’t even pronounce it so I used to call it bbechee. :P I love that you’re spreading the kimchi love…and now that I’m married, I often find myself missing my momma’s food. Momma says kimchi is good for you (In Forrest Gump’s voice) ~lol. Even though I’m married, I still have it in my fridge! Greg loves it more than I do though. PS: I haven’t made it by myself but def. have helped my mom, but nowadays there’s just no time to make it from scratch is there?

    • says

      Whoa! That’s crazy!!! Actually, come to think of it, I don’t know when I first started eating it..hmm..Must ask..
      I’m always missing my mom’s food. I should’ve taken advantage of it more when I was younger. At that time, all I wanted was to go out to eat and stuff myself with burgers and junk food. Sigh..
      Omygoodness! I don’t dare attempt to make it from scratch! Your mom still makes them herself?! Nice!

  5. says

    I love kimchi! I get it from a local Asian market where they make it in-house. My favorite thing to do is soak tofu (also locally made) in it and eat it raw.

    Great recipe here – love all the added protein! :)

    • says

      It’s definitely not for everyone, that’s for sure. But I think it’s always worth it to give everything a shot at least once. You never know…

  6. says

    We love kimchi in this house :) There’s a restaurant in Las Vegas that serves a hot dog, topped with bulgogi and kimchi…apparently it’s really good! I love your recipe for kim chee fried rice with the canned salmon, I’ll have to pick it up at Costco. I need lots of omega 3s in the third trimester :)

    • says

      Ooh! That’s something I never had before! Endless possibilities! Love it ;) Oh yes you do! I took a Lifespan course this past semester, and I learned that there’s a STRONG correlation between the mothers’ omega 3 intake to the babies’ IQ !! So eat up!! Trip to Costco ASAP hehe!! This one’s our favorite!! So flavorful!

    • says

      I don’t know about you, but whenever I see or learn something new, it all of a sudden seems to be everywhere! I think, “how did I not notice this before?” haha. I bet now that you’ve seen it here, you’ll come across it sometime in the future.

    • says

      I can see how it can be quite intimidating to try. But it’s awesome that you want to give it a chance ;). I think it will shock your tastebuds…hopefully in a good way!

  7. Jay says

    I know this is an old post, but I found this recipe while doing a search for canned salmon recipes. It looks delicious and I will definitely be trying it!

    The reason for this comment, though, is to ask if you still use this brand of kimchi? I used to buy the same brand at HMart until I realized that the “sugar substitute” at the end of the ingredient list is Sweet and Low. It was the first brand of kimchi my Euromutt taste buds really enjoyed but I am not okay with artificial sweetener in a vegetable-based product. If they want a certain sweetness in their kimchi, why not just use real sugar?

    As a registered dietitian, what are your thoughts on this?

    • says

      Hi Jay! I apologize for the late response. This ended up in our spam. I actually went to the manufacturing warehouse (to pick up Korean rice cakes which they also make), and when I asked the owner, he had no idea what I was talking about. It seemed as though the original recipe had been altered to accommodate mass production. This may be a cost-cutting technique implemented by the owner’s children who are now running the business. I understand your concern as I do not condone artificial sweeteners either. However, I must admit this is one of the better tasting kimchis available at Asian grocery stores. I really need to start making my own…hopefully in the near future.

      • Stephanie says

        If you happen to have a Trader Joe’s near you, they sell Korean Napa Cabbage Kimchi, which is a product of Korea and made without artificial sweeteners. The ingredients are salted pickled napa cabbage, water, salt, red pepper powder, sweet rice flour & water (sweet rice flour paste), garlic, leeks, ginger, salt, shitake mushroom powder. Yum!

  8. Lisa says

    This looks really good! Looking forward to trying it. When you talk about Kimchi Juice — is that something you purchase or do you mean just some of the extra juice from a can of kimchi?

    I noticed that this is cooked — do you generally need to cook Kimchi prior to eating, or is that just to make it taste better with this particular dish?

    • says

      Hi Lisa! Thank you so much for stopping by. What I mean by kimchi juice is the extra liquid in the jar that is produced during the fermenting process. Kimchi can be enjoyed just as is, but in this application, the cooking process mellows out the sharpness of the flavor (similar to when you caramelize onions). Cooked kimchi + sesame oil is soo good ;). Hope this helps!

  9. Jennifer Dent says

    Hi Min!
    Thank you for your recipe! I tried it for lunch and it is very satisfying! I’m strength training and on a strict diet s0 this fits the bill perfectly! Kimchi is a slight addiction of mine!
    Thank you – I will be pinning your recipe to share it!

    • says

      Hi Jennifer! You just made my day ;). Thank you for taking the time to let me know how much you enjoyed the dish! Good luck with your training!!

  10. Angela says

    When you say kimchi juice, where would I get that? Sorry, this would be my first time cooking with kimchi! Also, is there anything I can sub honey for? I’m not a big honey fan.. :x

    Other than those questions, I am so ready to use this recipe! Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Angela! NO problem! Kimchi juice is the liquid that’s in the kimchi jar. As for the honey, you can substitute with sugar to add a slight sweetness to the dish. Hope you enjoy! ;)

  11. says

    I’m a 2nd generation Norwegian, but love to try new foods. A Korean gal I worked with introduced me to Kimchi & gave me her recipe. I’ve made it a couple times, but was always afraid to buy it from the store. Glad to here that store bought is good. Since I love Kimchi & I love fried rice, this looks like something I will have to try. Thank you for sharing it.

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