kimchi fried rice recipe

by Stacy

When life gives you five quarts of homemade vegetarian kimchi, make kimchi fried rice.

That was my cousin’s unsympathetic suggestion when I was attempting to complain about my overabundance of kimchi. She’s always telling me how she goes out for amazing Korean vegan food. Or is it vegan Korean food?

She’s neither vegan nor Korean, but she is smart and I decided to take her advice. Having no idea what exactly kimchi fried rice entailed wasn’t going stop me. Really, what’s the worst thing that could happen? If it wasn’t good, I’d still have 4 3/4 quarts of kimchi to go.

kimchi fried rice

Step one: find a recipe for bokkeumbap (please don’t ask me how to pronounce that).
Step two: make lunch.
Step three: marvel at how delicious this 15-minute meal is.

It was good. So good. For, uh, research purposes, I may have made this three days in a row.

The key to this, like any fried rice dish, is using leftovers. Fresh rice is too soft and will stick to the pan; use rice that has dried out in the fridge overnight. My very favorite brown basmati rice was great for this. I cook up a good-sized batch all at once to use throughout the week, so it was already refrigerated and ready to go.

brown basmati rice

Still skeptical that brown basmati rice is freaking delicious? Bridget can vouch for me, and even has a method for cooking brown rice in only half an hour. I tried it and it works!

When I say leftovers, I don’t just mean the rice. Fried rice is a great way to use up what’s lingering in your crisper. If you have a single carrot or zucchini, half a pepper, a quarter of an onion, or a partial block of tofu, dive it and toss it in.

other kimchi fried rice ingredients

Clockwise from top left is what I had laying around: a few handfuls of spinach, a fresh chopped shiitake mushroom, one diced yellow carrot, chopped scallions. Not pictured: lots of garlic. The recipe calls for about one cup of vegetables, total. The spinach is obviously more than a cup itself, but it shrinks so much that it works.

The other obvious ingredient in kimchi fried rice is, of course, kimchi. If you’re a few days away you can make your own. That will ensure that it’s vegetarian and allergen-free.

homemade kimchi

Store-bought kimchi is absolutely fine, just read the label if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies. While your best bet is a Korean or Asian market, your regular grocer might have it in the refrigerated section near the miso and tempeh. Sometimes it’s near produce (usually mushrooms and bean sprouts), sometimes it’s near dairy.

Post-prep, the fried rice comes together really quickly. It may seem like a lot of oil, but you want the rice to get coated and crunchy without any chance of sticking to the pan. My kimchi wasn’t especialyl spicy, so I added a generous dollop of chili paste along with the traditional “some assembly required” fried egg.

kimchi fried rice

Unlike the scrambled eggs added to Chinese fried rice or pad Thai, a sunny-side up egg crowns the dish and is stirred in before eating. If you’re worried about the runny yolk, use a pasteurized egg. The crunchy browned rice, the savory bits of scallions and garlic, the spicy heat of the chili paste, and the softness of the egg all combine to make something bigger and better than the sum of their parts.

To make the dish vegan, stir-fry some cubed soft tofu and add that for a nice textural contrast in lieu of the egg. The creaminess of the tofu would offset the crunchy-spicy-tangy base quite nicely. Maybe I’ll go make it again, just to verify…

Are you a kimchi fried rice fan? What’s your favorite Korean dish?

print recipe
Kimchi Fried Rice
Vegetarian and gluten-free kimchi fried rice can also be made vegan. Adapted from Herbivoracious
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup diced vegetables
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup kimchi, drained and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons Korean chili paste (kochujang)
  • 2 eggs
1.) Heat a wok or skillet over high heat. Add oil, garlic, and scallions. Cook about 20 seconds.2.) Add diced vegetables and stir-fry until starting to brown (this will vary depending on what veggies you use). 3.) Add rice, stirring until coated with oil. Cook over high heat until browned, tossing occasionally, but leaving rice in contact with the bottom of the pan for maximum crispiness. 4.) Add kimchi, sesame oil, and chili paste. Stir fry one more minute until heated through and thoroughly combined.5.) Fry eggs sunny-side up. Serve over fried rice. Stir together before eating.

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

sarah henry May 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Can i come to your house for lunch? This recipe and those photos are making me hungry. And, since I’m new to your site, just have to comment on the blue type and how much it reminds me of, well, you.


Stacy May 3, 2011 at 12:45 pm

You’re always invited, Sarah!

Hah, I’m glad the theme is working. 😉


Greer May 3, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I think when I get back home from my show that I’ll make a quadruple recipe of kimchi. ON PURPOSE.


Stacy May 3, 2011 at 4:46 pm

The hubby took two jars to give to coworkers, and I guess one of them came home to find that her boyfriend and friend had devoured most of the jar already. It just took up so much fridge space!


susan from food blogga May 4, 2011 at 11:15 am

I’ve only had kimchi a few times and really enjoyed it. Why have I never bought it? Silly, silly me. This dish looks amazingly fresh and delicious, Stacy. I really need to try it.


Stacy May 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm

There’s always time to remedy such errors! And really, I hadn’t eaten this until last week, making me so sad that I had been deprived until then.


Bridget May 4, 2011 at 7:54 pm

I’m so glad you tried the rice cooking method! Now I need to try the kimchi fried rice method – just as soon as I get my hands on some kimchi, or some cabbage and a bunch of spices and stuff.
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Stacy May 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm

It felt so weird cooking rice that way! I have to admit I reverted to the traditional method yesterday since I’m more of a “set it and forget it” kind of girl, plus I started dinner really early.

Do you ever have meals that you blog that make you sad that you aren’t eating that meal right now? This post was definitely one of those. I hope you try it, because it’s super tasty.


Kristina Vanni May 7, 2011 at 7:07 am

I love your tagline…. (I am a fellow Midwestern girl with a SoCal address! Formerly Chicago, now North Hollywood.) This recipe is amazing. I “heart” kimchee and pretty much anything with a nice, runny egg on top. I didn’t get a chance to chat with you much at Camp Blogaway last weekend, but I look forward to following your fantastic blog from here on out!


Stacy May 7, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Thank you! It was great to meet you last weekend, and I agree that we didn’t get to chat much. Now we know that next time we can definitely spend some time bonding over runny-yolked eggs, a topic near and dear to my heart. =)


sarah, simply cooked May 8, 2011 at 7:34 am

Ah, what a great idea. I am going to add this as a link in my post about using leftover rice. Genius.
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Stacy May 9, 2011 at 8:51 am

Thanks, Sarah! I had it for lunch again on Saturday. Still tasty.


Irene June 3, 2011 at 7:19 am

I love eating kimchi even though it has strong odor. I like the taste and the spiciness of Kimchi, which I usually bought from a local grocery or side dish in local roasted chicken stand. I’ve seen how they prepared this on television, maybe I’ll have to check if there is Korean chili paste in a local grocery store.
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Kimberly June 4, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Hi, wanted to share that I bought kimchi for the first time at the Korean grocery today. It looks scary but I am excited to try this recipe tomorrow for dinner :) I had bibimbap at a restaurant a few weeks ago and have been craving more Korean food since that first taste.


Stacy June 7, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Yum! So glad you’re being brave. I haven’t tried a lot of Korean food, but I’ve loved everything so far.


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