Apart from being eaten on its own as a side dish, Kimchi is quite a versatile ingredient for cooking various dishes. For instance, I’ve used kimchi for my Crispy Tofu & Kimchi Stir-Fry recipe, which has been a popular one. One of my ultimate favourites of using kimchi in cooking though, ought to be a classic Kimchi Fried Rice.
The unique hot & sour flavour of kimchi offers a different edge of flavours to a typical fried rice dish. Just like any other Asian fried rice, Kimchi Fried Rice is a cheap & quick meal to whip up and to use up leftovers. It’s a very simple dish but one that really hits you on the palate.
What is Kimchi
Kimchi is basically fermented vegetables, most typically using Napa cabbage. Generally, kimchi’s got a distinct spicy and tangy flavour. Depending on brands and recipes, the spiciness and acidity levels could vary quite a bit.
Kimchi can be commonly found at oriental supermarkets and sometimes at the oriental section at major supermarkets as well due to its growing popularity.
How to make Spam Kimchi Fried Rice
Using leftover rice
As with any type of fried rice, it’s best to use leftover rice. This is because freshly cooked rice is warm, sticky, and carries a lot of moisture. As a result, using freshly cooked rice for making fried rice would end up with an unpleasant damp and soggy texture.
To ensure a good texture for your fried rice, it’s crucial to use leftover rice that has been refrigerated for a day. This is to dry out the grains so that it won’t get soggy.
Kewpie mayo – the secret trick
As a little trick to keep the grains separated, I’ve included Japanese Kewpie mayo here in the recipe which plays a key role in elevating the fried rice dish. Simply coat the rice with Kewpie mayo before adding it into the wok. Don’t worry, it simply acts as a grain-separating agent here and won’t leave you an odd mayo flavour in the fried rice.
Another important tip for making kimchi fried rice is to squeeze out as much juice from the kimchi before cooking. By doing so, you can enhance the flavours of your kimchi fried rice through the caramelisation of the vegetable. For the remaining kimchi juice, it’s then added in for flavouring a little bit later during the cooking process.
A lot of kimchi fried rice recipes call for using pork belly. Whilst differ from flavours and usage, as halal alternatives, I usually opt for turkey bacon or chicken luncheon meat.
I typically like to include mixed vegetables in fried rice dishes as well. Frozen packs will do, though best to defrost beforehand. If cooking straight from frozen, make sure you remove any ice/frost and stir-fry for an extra 1-2 minutes when adding it into the wok.
Sauces & flavourings
There is the remaining kimchi juice as mentioned above.
Gochujang typically goes hand-in-hand with kimchi as it helps to bring the flavours out. However, halal gochujang isn’t a very common find. As a substitute, I use Lee Kum Kee Garlic Chilli Sauce. Alternatively, Sriracha could be an option as well.
Then it’s simply a dash of dark soy sauce and a little drizzle of sesame oil to do the trick.
Last but not least, for toppings, simply top it off with a sunny side-up fried egg, then garnish with some spring onions/chives, sesame seeds, and/or dried seaweed.
Spam Kimchi Fried Rice
- 2 cups Chilled Leftover Rice
- 2 tbsp Kewpie Mayo
- 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 3 cloves Garlic finely chopped
- 1 tsp Ginger Paste
- 1 cup Kimchi squeezing the juices out and reserve the juice for cooking (see notes)*
- 1 cup Mixed Vegetables
- 2 tbsp Garlic Chilli Sauce/Gochujang/Sriracha*
- 1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 170 g Spam/Luncheon Meat* diced
- ½ tbsp Sesame Oil
- ½ tsp Salt to taste
Garnish & Topping options
- Sunny side-up Fried Egg
- Spring Onions or Chives finely chopped/sliced
- Sesame Seeds
- In a large bowl, mix kewpie mayo with rice. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add garlic and fry for a minute until fragrant.
- Add Ginger Paste. Let sizzle for another minute.
- Add in the kimchi and stir-fry for 3 minutes until it starts to caramelise and fragrant.
- Stir in garlic chilli sauce/gochujang/sriracha. Then add in mixed vegetables and diced spam. Stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes.
- Add in the rice. Keep stir-frying until evenly mixed.
- Stir in kimchi juice, soy sauce. Toss and stir-fry until everything's evenly coated.
- Add toppings of your choice and serve immediately.
- By squeezing out the juices of the kimchi, you can enhance the flavours of your kimchi fried rice through the caramelisation of the vegetable. The remaining kimchi juice is then added in as a flavouring a little bit later in the cooking process.
- Gochujang is most typically used for making kimchi fried rice. For halal substitutes, Garlic Chilli Sauce or Sriracha would work.
- You can find halal chicken/turkey spam available at halal supermarkets.
- Mixing the kewpie mayo with the rice beforehand helps to separate the rice grains for the fried rice.
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