Ah, Korean food – why aren’t people eating more Korean food?
I’ll have to admit – I had zero (zilp!) experience with Korean food until I moved to LA and started to explore the vast world of Koreatown.
While in college, my buddies and I used to venture down to K-town on the weekends (because most of us were underage, and Soju bars never carded #college). Of course, late night drinks turned into late night eats, and finding a vegan option was challenging to say the least.
I ran into a lot of instances where I was left eating white rice with banchan (vegetable sides) as I came to learn that Korean food relies heavily on umami flavors from fish/meat broth, shrimp paste, and meat garnishes.
And one of the most popular dishes amongst my broke/drunk friends was Kimchi Fried rice, aka Kimchi Bokkeumbap. I knew I had to veganize it, and I’m glad I did!
The two ingredients that give this bold dish it’s flavor are Kimchi and Gochujang.
Kimchi is a fermented Korean pickle that is almost always made with shrimp or anchovy paste. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always make your own Kimchi at home, but that’s for another post. Luckily, there are a few brands of vegan Kimchi available, including Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi, Sinto Gourmet, and Kings.
Gochujang is a rich and complex pepper paste made from fermented soy beans, chili paste, rice flour and salt. Similar to Japanese Miso, this versatile ingredient is used in soups, stews, marinades, and also acts as a condiment. Move over Sriracha – this will become your new favorite hot sauce, seriously.
Drunk or sober, you have to agree – this quick and easy rice dish is the good for what ails you.
- 1 tbsp. Cooking Oil
- ½ Onion, diced
- ½ cup Carrots, shredded
- 3 pc. Green Onions, whites and greens separated
- 1 cup Vegan Kimchi, chopped
- 2 tbsp. Gochujang
- 3 cups Cooked White Rice, preferably day old
- ½ cup Kimchi Juice
- ¼ cup Water
- 1 tbsp. Sesame Oil
- 1 tbsp. Toasted Sesame Seeds
- 2 tbsp. Soy Sauce
- Nori or Seaweed
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or large pan over high heat until glistens; add in onions, the white parts of the green onions, and carrots; sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add chopped Kimchi and sauté for 1 minute. Follow with Gochujang paste and sauté for an additional minute.
- Add cooked rice followed by Kimchi juice and water and cook until liquids are absorbed. You want to give the rice a chance to caramelize and ‘fry’ at this point, scraping up any charred bits at the bottom.
- Once the liquids are absorbed, turn off the heat, and add in your toasted sesame seeds, sesame oil, soy sauce and mix all ingredients into the rice.
- Garnish your rice with remaining greens from green onions and Nori or seaweed snacks cut into strips.