My ex’s mother introduced me to beef and kimchi fried rice years ago. It doesn’t look like much, but it is addictively good. It’s also easy and cost-effective to make, which is why I was outraged when I saw it being priced at $14 in a Korean restaurant recently. It inspired me to finally get around to sharing my recipe. You could also top it off with a fried up (sunny side up) and/or add other vegetables. Want to try a fusion version of this? Top it with cheese and melt it under the broiler in the oven.
Beef and Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeum Bap) Recipe
makes 4 servings (Note: You could add vegetables, green onions, and/or top it off with a fried egg if desired. Try a fusion version of kimchi bap by adding shredded cheese (mozzarella, gruyere, or smoked cheese) to the top of the rice and melting it under the broiler. Be sure to use a heat proof baking pan.)
3 or 4 cups of cooked Korean short grain rice made from approximately 1 1/2 cups of dried rice (Note: If you prefer a drier fried rice where the grains don’t stick together (i.e. Chinese-style), then use day-old rice that has been refrigerated. Be sure to loosen the cold rice grains with a spoon before using. If you prefer a wetter, stickier fried rice dish like I do, then use rice that was cooked the same day and cooled to room temperature.)
1 pound (approx.) ground beef, seasoned lightly with coarse sea salt and white (or black) pepper
2 cups of kimchi, coarsely chopped, if desired, with liquid collected (Note: Check the labels and try to find a brand that was made in Korea that does not contain MSG. I found a good one at Costco.)
1 or 2 tablespoons Korean red pepper paste (gochujang), optional (Note: I only use this when I want the rice to have more red colour and heat.)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Heat a wok over high heat until it is very hot, but not burning. Then add enough oil to generously coat the bottom of it. Swirl the wok so that the oil coats the lower half of the sides of the wok. Then quickly add the ground beef. Allow it to brown before stiring it. Repeat this until the meat is nicely browned and cooked through. Dish out the meat and set aside. There shouldn’t be any extra liquid in the wok, but if there is, you can keep it if you like a wetter, stickier stir-fry. Otherwise, discard the liquid.
Add more oil to the wok as necessary, and add the onions. Cook, stirring frequently until the onions are softened and translucent. Reduce the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Add the beef back to the wok, add the kimchi, and stir until they are heated through. Then add the loosened rice and Korean red pepper paste (if using). Stir continuously until all of the ingredients are well mixed and the rice is very hot throughout. Add kimchi juice to taste, a couple of tablespoons at a time. Stir to mix well, dish out, and serve immediately.