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America's Test Kitchen: Kimchi Fried Rice (Ep 2205)

Kimchi Bokkeumbap (Kimchi Fried Rice)



WHY THIS WORKS: Iconic, quick-cooking Korean comfort food', kimchi bok-keumbap is typically made with leftover cooked short-grain rice and well-fermented kimchi, but from there seasonings and additions to bulk it up vary widely from cook to cook. We started by stir-frying some aromatics (chopped onion and sliced scallions) with chopped ham—a popular addition that we liked for its smoky flavor and pleasantly springy texture. Then we added lots of chopped cabbage kimchi along with some of its savory, punchy juice and a little water and seasoned it with soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and gochujang to add savoriness, rich nuttiness, and a little more heat. We simmered the cabbage leaves so that they softened a bit; stirred in the rice and cooked the mixture until the liquid had been absorbed; and topped the rice with small strips of gim, sesame seeds, and scallion greens.


1 (8-inch square) sheet gim

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

2    (1⁄4-inch-thick) slices deli ham, cut into 1⁄4-inch pieces (about 4 ounces)

1     large onion, chopped

6 scallions, white and green parts separated and sliced thin on bias

1 ¼    cups cabbage kimchi, drained with 1⁄4 cup juice reserved, cut into 1⁄4-inch strips

¼    cup water

4    teaspoons soy sauce

4  teaspoons gochujang paste

½    teaspoon pepper

3 cups cooked short-grain white rice

4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1      tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

BEFORE YOU BEGIN: This recipe works best with day-old rice; alter- natively, cook your rice 2 hours ahead, spread it on a rimmed baking sheet, and let it cool completely before chilling it for 30 minutes. Plain pretoasted seaweed snacks can be substituted for the gim (seaweed paper); omit the toasting in step 1. You'll need at least a 16-ounce jar of kimchi; if it doesn't yield ¼ cup of juice, make up the difference with water. If using soft, well-aged kimchi, omit the water and reduce the cooking time at the end of step 2 to 2 minutes. We developed this recipe with a 12-inch nonstick skillet, but a well-seasoned carbon-steel skillet or 14-inch flat-bottomed wok can be used instead. If desired, top each portion of rice with a fried egg.

1. Grip gim with tongs and hold 2 inches above low flame on gas burner. Toast gim, turning every 3 to 5 seconds, until gim is aromatic and shrinks slightly, about 20 seconds. (If you do not have a gas stove, toast gim on rimmed baking sheet in 275-degree oven until gim is aromatic and shrinks slightly, 20 to 25 minutes, flipping gim halfway through toasting.) Using kitchen shears, cut gim into four 2-inch-wide strips. Stack strips and cut crosswise into thin strips.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add ham, onion, and scallion whites and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and ham is beginning to brown at edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in kimchi and reserved juice, water, soy sauce, gochujang, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until kimchi turns soft and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes.

3. Add rice; reduce heat to medium-low; and cook, stirring and folding constantly until mixture is evenly coated, about 3 minutes. Stir in sesame oil and remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to stick to skillet, about 4 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, scallion greens, and gim and serve.

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Photo Credit: America’s Test Kitchen