It’s finally here, Opening Ceremonies, and that can only mean one thing for The Olympic Food Tour. We are going to Korea! Going to Korea! We are going to Korea! Going to Korea! 🇰🇷 (I have a little thing where I hum, sing, or create a tune when I am excited.)
I wish I was going to Korea. Not just for the Olympics, but I have always been enamored by their culture, and then I met a group of amazing Korean women, and I fell in love with them, and their mad cooking skills. I can’t even begin to explain the dynamic of these friendships, and how much they have impacted my life, and my kids’ lives, and Chef too if I am being honest.
I truly cannot put into words how this recipe came into my life. These women, not only have so many talents in their own right, but I when I started telling them about the blog and the journey I wanted to go on with it, they were some of the very first people to push me to do it. Ever since, every time I post here or on social media, share something at carpool food exchange, or host our book club I get continued words of encouragement. This is my twist on a recipe dear to each of them, and it has quickly become one of my favorite meals. I hope I make them proud. This is for you Donna, Heidi, Jennie, Ruda and Min. Actually, it’s for you reader, they already know how to make this.
Two things everyone can use in life, a Korean best friend, or five, and a rice cooker. Technically you don’t need a rice cooker, but our house goes thru a lot of rice with LT on the white diet. You know white bread, white pasta, sugar, white rice. I find it to be convenient and I can make a lot of rice in one shot versus stove top cooking, and starchy water boiling over the sides of the pot. The point, you need rice for this one, so prepare it how you are most comfortable.
You also need a tiny bit of precision. There is some chopping, and the more consistent in size the vegetables are the easier they are to cook. Plus, I have to give Koreans and the French their due. This is one thing I see across both cuisines, is the consistent knife work, and the ability to have everything uniform. It may not seem a big deal, but seeing what Chef accomplishes has made me see the labor intensive work that is involved in creating all things uniform.
Okay enough of the lecturing, let’s get to it. Koreans eat a lot of spam. It is not something I ever purchase, and so for this recipe I am using pancetta. In a large iron skillet, on medium to medium high heat pan fry the pancetta.
Once the pancetta is browning, add in sesame oil, the vegetables of your choice, and salt and pepper. (This is a great recipe to use up what maybe hanging out in the vegetable drawer in your fridge.) This has red pepper, onion, celery, carrots, and frozen peas.
Allow time for the veggies to sweat and soften 4 to 5 minutes. (Or one good spelling homework assignment.) Here, you want to create a well, and add in the rice.
I add a bit more sesame oil, and a some soy sauce and just let the rice and veg hang out for 3 to 4 minutes, allowing the rice to brown and crisp up a bit. Crack and whisk two or three eggs for the next step. Make a well.
Add in some butter.
Scramble the eggs. Outside of preparing the rice, this is a one pan recipe. And I love that!.
Once the eggs are scrambled, they can be mixed in with the rice, and you are going to make a well with butter again.
Then you are going spoon in a big ole scoop of kimchi. Please note, this is store bought, for realz. I hope to master the art of all different types of kimchi in 2018, but it hasn’t happened yet. I also have it on good authority that many Korean Americans buy kimchi.
No words for how giddy I am about the kimchi. Below, just pan sautéing the kimchi for 2 minutes and then mix it all together.
If you are seven, and your love for Korea, Koreans, and their food has grown you ask for half and half for dinner. White rice with ketchup, and kimchi fried rice. I am not kidding, if he had asked for a Kraft single on top, he would have been snatched by Heidi Imo (aunt in Korean) forever.
I go easy on adding the kimchi to the rice to please multiple palettes, so when I serve myself, I just put it on top and garnish with some scallions.
This recipe may take you out of your comfort zone in terms of flavors, and your grocery list, but it’s worth it.
Enjoy! And enjoy tonight cheering on Olympians from all over the world. Where will the tour take us next?
Kimchi Fried Rice, serves 4 for dinner, or 2 after late night drinking
4oz pancetta, pan fried (substitutes spam, pork loin, bacon, tofu)
1 carrot, peeled, cut into small dice
1 celery stick, cut into small dice
1 small onion (or half of a large onion), small diced
1/2 red pepper, small dice
1 c frozen peas
2 tsp sesame oil, divided
1 – 2 T soy sauce, divided
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 c rice, cooked
3 garlic cloves, sliced
4 tsp butter, divided
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 – 1 c kimchi, plus more for garnish (you choose how adventurous you want to be)
scallions for garnish
Prepare the rice in a rice cooker or on the stove top. You need 2/3 c of uncooked rice to yield 2 cups of cooked rice.
In a large skillet, on medium high heat, pan fry the pancetta for 3 to 4 minutes. Once browning, add 1 tsp of sesame oil, 1 T soy sauce, the vegetables, and salt and pepper. Sweat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute. Make a well, adding in the rest of the sesame oil, soy sauce, and the rice. Let sauté for several minutes. Make a well, and melt 2 tsp of butter. Add the eggs and scramble. Once scrambled combine with the rice. Make a final well, and melt the rest of the butter. Add the kimchi and sauté for 2 minutes. Combine all together.
To serve, top with more kimchi and scallions.
Let you in on a secret, this makes amazing leftovers, and it delicious reheated for breakfast.