Jean’s Kimchi Fried Rice With Nori

Jean’s Kimchi Fried Rice With Nori

Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Cook time
    30 minutes
  • Serves
    4
Author Notes

Whenever I go home, my mother Jean makes a huge vat of kimchi fried rice and leaves me a firm note: ERIC, EAT. I’ve seen her cook it a thousand times, yet I still don’t feel that mine has ever come out like hers. She once said that the secret to her kimchi fried rice is, well, the kimchi. And though I’m able to recreate some version of her spicy-briny cabbage from taste memory, my kimchi will never be her kimchi, and in turn neither will my kimchi fried rice ever be her kimchi fried rice. Still, here it is: my best effort at Korean ambrosia, which, when you really look at it, isn’t much at all. Just a cheap way to use up leftover rice with this and that from the pantry. A proper holdover comfort of my childhood, this is all I want to eat at the end of a rough week—proper mom food. —Eric Kim

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: When I Came Out to My Parents, Kimchi Fried Rice Held Us Together. —The Editors

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

Watch This Recipe

Jean’s Spam Kimchi Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon

    toasted sesame oil, plus more as needed


  • 6 ounces

    Spam (about 1/2 can), finely diced


  • 2 cups

    very ripe kimchi (like, the rankest, ripest you’ve got), chopped, plus as much of the juice as you can get


  • 4 cups

    cooked, day-old white rice (especially short-grain)


  • 2 teaspoons

    soy sauce


  • 1

    (5g) packet roasted seaweed snack, crushed with your hands


  • 4

    fried eggs, to serve with

Directions
  1. First, heat the sesame oil in a very large nonstick pan or wok. Crisp up the Spam, then add the kimchi (hold the juice for later) and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant and darker in color.
  2. At this point you can mix in the rice, breaking it up with your fingers or with a wooden spoon. Add the kimchi juice, soy sauce, and more oil here if you need. Be diligent with that spoon, stirring constantly and scraping up any rice that sticks to the bottom (this is where one of those nonstick pans with that old-fashioned red dot in the middle comes in handy). Cook for 5 to 10 minutes until everything is well-combined and slightly toasted.
  3. To finish, crush the roasted seaweed snack with your hands and mix it into the rice. (I find that this really rounds everything out and means you can skip extra seasoning. The kimchi and Spam are salty enough, anyway; plus, this is what my mom does.)
  4. It’s traditional to top each serving with a fried egg—to be exact, a gooey, runny egg, barely set, coating the red rice with yolky gold.

Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.

,
, Jean’s,Kimchi
, Photo by Bobbi Lin Cook time 30 minutes Serves 4 Author Notes Whenever I go home, my mother Jean makes a huge vat of kimchi fried rice and leaves me a firm note: ERIC, EAT. I’ve seen her cook it a thousand times, yet I still don’t feel that mine has ever come out like…
, http://www.edamam.com/ontologies/edamam.owl#recipe_b8c7e55fe970d2f341396db72610391c

, 4
,
, Sugar-Conscious,Dairy-Free,Peanut-Free,Tree-Nut-Free,Fish-Free,Shellfish-Free,Crustacean-Free,Celery-Free,Mustard-Free,Lupine-Free,Mollusk-Free,Alcohol-Free
, Sulfites
, Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus more as needed
  • 6 ounces Spam (about 1/2 can), finely diced
  • 2 cups very ripe kimchi (like, the rankest, ripest you\'ve got), chopped, plus as much of the juice as you can get
  • 4 cups cooked, day-old white rice (especially short-grain)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 packet roasted seaweed snack, crushed
  • 4 fried eggs, to serve with

,
, Photo by Bobbi Lin Cook time 30 minutes Serves 4 Author Notes Whenever I go home, my mother Jean makes a huge vat of kimchi fried rice and leaves me a firm note: ERIC, EAT. I’ve seen her cook it a thousand times, yet I still don’t feel that mine has ever come out like hers. She once said that the secret to her kimchi fried rice is, well, the kimchi. And though I’m able to recreate some version of her spicy-briny cabbage from taste memory, my kimchi will never be her kimchi, and in turn neither will my kimchi fried rice ever be her kimchi fried rice. Still, here it is: my best effort at Korean ambrosia, which, when you really look at it, isn’t much at all. Just a cheap way to use up leftover rice with this and that from the pantry. A proper holdover comfort of my childhood, this is all I want to eat at the end of a rough week—proper mom food. —Eric Kim Test Kitchen Notes Featured in: When I Came Out to My Parents, Kimchi Fried Rice Held Us Together. —The Editors Test Kitchen-Approved Watch This Recipe Jean’s Spam Kimchi Fried Rice Ingredients 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, plus more as needed 6 ounces Spam (about 1/2 can), finely diced 2 cups very ripe kimchi (like, the rankest, ripest you’ve got), chopped, plus as much of the juice as you can get 4 cups cooked, day-old white rice (especially short-grain) 2 teaspoons soy sauce 1 (5g) packet roasted seaweed snack, crushed with your hands 4 fried eggs, to serve with Directions First, heat the sesame oil in a very large nonstick pan or wok. Crisp up the Spam, then add the kimchi (hold the juice for later) and sautĂ© for a few minutes until fragrant and darker in color. At this point you can mix in the rice, breaking it up with your fingers or with a wooden spoon. Add the kimchi juice, soy sauce, and more oil here if you need. Be diligent with that spoon, stirring constantly and scraping up any rice that sticks to the bottom (this is where one of those nonstick pans with that old-fashioned red dot in the middle comes in handy). Cook for 5 to 10 minutes until everything is well-combined and slightly toasted. To finish, crush the roasted seaweed snack with your hands and mix it into the rice. (I find that this really rounds everything out and means you can skip extra seasoning. The kimchi and Spam are salty enough, anyway; plus, this is what my mom does.) It’s traditional to top each serving with a fried egg—to be exact, a gooey, runny egg, barely set, coating the red rice with yolky gold. Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.
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