I have a serious love affair with kimchi. I can eat the stuff everyday. I have been known to eat it with almost anything because its just so delicious and addictive. Kimchi is also super good for you. Because kimchi is fermented, it contains lactobacilli which helps in the digestion process. Probiotics are also created by the fermentation process which helps your body fight off infection. It's low calorie and packs a great punch of spicy flavor. It pairs beautifully with eggs, noodles and rice as well as lots of vegetables and meats. It's usually economical to buy, but you can make it yourself at home fairly easily and have it on hand all the time, if you like.
I like both fresh and ripe kimchi. Fresh kimchi retains a lot of crunch and you can taste every individual element. I like it for eating plain, all by itself or as a side dish or banchan . Fresh kimchi lacks the sour fermented funky flavor, so if you are new to kimchi and find the idea of ripe kimchi intimidating, starting out with fresh is a way to become exposed and try it. Ripe kimchi has had time to ferment and become a more sour tasting and has this delightful zing on the tongue. Ripe kimchi is less crunchy and firm as well, since the vegetable have been well soaked with brine over time. Well ripened kimchi is delightful used in jjigae which is a spicy stew of made up of tofu, vegetables, pork or seafood.
In my home, the kids enjoy fresh kimchi best. I really love the older, sour and well fermented stuff best. I could blog an entire volume just on kimchi and all the different varieties and ways to use it. For today though, I will focus on this one basic recipe that is a great way to introduce your family to the joy of eating kimchi.
|3 week old kimchi|
Kimchi Fried Rice with Bacon
4 cups leftover rice (I prefer short grain white, but brown works well also)
8 strips bacon, cut into small pieces (retain bacon fat for stir frying)
1 1/2 cup kimchi chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup white onion, minced
1/4 cup juice from kimchi
1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 heaping Tablespoon gochujang (Korean pepper paste, omit or use less for less spicy dish)
4 fried eggs
Chopped green onion
1: In a large skillet, fry bacon over medium heat until crisp.
2: Remove and retain all but 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat from the skillet.
3: Add kimchi, onion, kimchi juice, soy sauce and gochujang to the bacon and fat in the skillet and cook over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Until the onions become tender.
4: Add the rice to the skillet along with 1 Tablespoon of the retained bacon fat. Stir fry for 5-7 minutes, being sure to break up rice clumps and incorporate everything well. Remove from heat.
5: If using sesame oil, drizzle in no more than 1/2 Tablespoon at this time and mix well.
6: Divide kimchi rice onto 4 plates and top each portion with a fried egg, chopped green onion and sesame seeds, if desired.
Makes 4 servings.