When I was little, most of my summer breaks from school were spent visiting family in Honolulu, Hawaii. It felt more like a second home than a vacation. Some of my earliest food memories were formed here–from the malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) and haupia (Hawaiian coconut jell-o), to lomi-lomi salmon (raw salted salmon with tomatoes and onions) and Spam musubi (yep, Spam sushi!). Hawaiians generally don’t buy into food fads and overly complicated dishes. They eat what tastes good and feels good. It’s an experience that is meant to be shared with the people you love. While I would never be caught dead with a can of Spam in my pantry, I still try to live by this philosophy every day.
Kimchi fried rice is another dish that takes me back to my trips to Hawaii. My mouth starts to water just thinking about the salty, sour, and spicy dish. When I found this recipe on Momofoku For 2, I knew I had to give it a try. Store-bought kimchi will work just fine for this dish, but I highly recommend making your own with napa cabbage. I used this recipe from David Lebovitz. Surprise, surprise! Fair warning though, it’s a pretty stinky process. Jeff walked in during the process and I believe his exact words were: “what died?” But he ate his words when he tried the final product–it’s well worth it!
I made a couple of small changes to the recipe including decreasing the bacon from eight strips to five, and increasing the amount of kimchi. I also shamefully don’t own a wok (how can I call myself and Asian!), so I opted for our cast iron skillet. It’s not the most ideal vessel for cooking fried rice, but it still turns out a darn tasty product. For this recipe, you can also choose to add scrambled eggs in the fried rice, or top each serving with a fried sunny side up egg which is standard in Korean cooking. (Hint: I highly recommend going the sunny side up route)
Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice
Adapted from Momofoku For 2
Yield: 2 servings plus leftovers
- 4 cups old cooked rice (cold)
- 5 slices of bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
- 1 1/2 cups kimchi, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons kimchi liquid from your jar of kimchi
- 2-3 eggs, for scrambling or frying sunny side up
- 1/2 onion, diced
- Vegetable or canola oil
- Heat a splash of oil in a well seasoned skillet over medium-low heat. When the oil is hot, add the diced onions, stirring until cooked, but not brown. Remove the onions and set aside.
- Add bacon to skillet and cook until crisp. Remove and set aside on a paper towel, leaving the rendered bacon grease in the skillet.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high and add rice, stirring occasionally until all the clumps are broken down and the rice is heated.
- While rice is cooking, heat up a separate frying pan to cook eggs. Add a splash of oil to pan and either scramble eggs or fry them sunny side up.
- When the rice in the skillet is heated, add the onions, bacon, scrambled eggs (if using), peas, chopped kimchi, and kimchi liquid, and fry until all ingredients are mixed throughout the rice.
- Season fried rice with salt to taste and divide into bowls. If using sunny side up eggs, place on top of each bowl of rice.