This Kimchi Fried Rice is easy, the taste is beyond good and, unlike many other kimchi fried rice recipes, the probiotics from the kimchi are preserved.
There are two major topics I want to cover in this post. Well, three, I suppose, the third being the recipe.
First, Kimchi Fried Rice is amazing. It’s super easy, as in weeknight healthy meal easy. Its flavor is out of this world, as in “this is too flavorful for an easy, healthy weeknight meal.” And you can easily make it Paleo (sub cauliflower for the rice) or up the protein by using quinoa if you’re vegetarian or vegan (rinse, soak and sprout your quinoa first!).
Alright, onto the second point, or rather a question – heat and kimchi. Ever since I learned about Kimchi Fried Rice from the Australian chef Curtis Stone about 6 or so years ago, I’ve wondered – why are we heating the kimchi?
The heat helps mellow out the sometimes intense “zing or tang” from kimchi and incorporate its dynamic flavor into the rice, cauliflower, or other grain, but in the process we’re losing those gut-nourishing bugs.
When I started to look into pasteurization temperatures I was surprised to find that the temps were a lot lower than I expected – 145 to 245 Fathrenheit – with length of time varying in that range. I don’t know what I was expecting … 500 degrees maybe? So, judging by that, the pans on our stoves are definitely killing the good bacteria.
And then, to my surprise, I found a few studies that showed that eating dead probiotic bugs still have an anti-inflammatory effect on our bodies. Wow. Didn’t know that.
Though eating raw fermented foods is definitely the way to go, the taste of this dish improves so much when warmed. The only thing I could do was go right down the middle and be all “Minnesota Nice.” Half the kimchi added at the time of cooking, the rest added after the dish has been removed from the heat and had a chance to sit for a moment.
ALSO! The EGG in this fried rice! Totally optional, but if you with the fried egg version, you want the yolk runny so that the flavor gets into more of the overall dish. Alternatively, you can scramble the egg right in the skillet among the rice and veggies.
Hope you enjoy!
Kimchi Fried Rice Ingredient Notes:
- Cauliflower – Look for cauliflower heads without any brown spots on the “curds” (the florets). They are harmless, but are signs of oxidation and decay. You want the freshest cauliflower possible to get the most nutrients from the plant. If you can only find ones with the brown spots, cut them off before cooking the cauliflower.
- Coconut Oil – Is growing in popularity these days. Though the refined version removes a lot of the taste of coconut and allows it to withstand higher temperatures, the refining process is full of chemicals that I avoid. I always opt for the unrefined version. Dr. Catherine Shanahan author of Deep Nutrition provides a quick and informative rundown on oils here. If you don’t like the taste of coconut, go with butter or ghee.
- Gochugaru – Korean Chilis that either come in a paste or as flakes. I like the Mother In Laws brand. These are essential to making a great tasting kimchi on your own or adding authentic flavor to the following recipe. Using regular chili powder or paprika will not taste nearly as good in my opinion. (Speaking from experience and experimentation here!)
- Rice – Rice is one of the those foods that likes to pull arsenic out of the soil. There are ways to help reduce the amount of arsenic – soaking it overnight and then giving it a really good rinse is good step to take.
Special Diet Modifications:
- GAPS, SCD, Paleo, Keto, Whole30 – obviously choose cauliflower rice, not regular rice.
Kimchi Fried Rice
This is a very quick meal to pull together if you already have premade rice or cauliflower rice on hand. Choose to add a fried egg on top or scramble one right in the skillet with the rice and veggies.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, butter or ghee
- 2 medium garlic cloves minced or grated
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger minced or grated
- 3-4 medium carrots diced medium - sliced lengthwise into four pieces and diced
- 3-4 green onions diced medium
- 1-2 tablespoons tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) or coconut aminos soy sauce can be substituted
- 1/2 teaspoon sea or himalayan salt
- 2 cups cauliflower rice, cooked long grain white or cooked quinoa
- 1 cup kimchi divided
- 1 handful spinach, swiss chard, kale chopped to your preference, optional
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas
- 2-3 eggs optional
- 1 tablespoon unrefined sesame oil
- toppings sesame seeds, dulse flakes, gochugaru, additional green optional
Mince or grate the garlic and ginger and then wait 10 minutes before adding it any heat. This will help preserve the allicin - the photonutrient in garlic responsible for health benefits.
Warm the oil or fat over a pan on low-medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and heat for about 1 minute until they become flavorful. Swirl them in the pan to flavor the oil.
Add the carrots, green onions, tamari, and salt and lightly saute for about 7 minutes. Carrots should still be crisp, but beginning to become tender
Add in the cauliflower or rice and one half of the kimchi. Continue to cook on low-medium heat until warmed through.
If planning on preparing a few over-easy eggs, begin warming 1 tablespoon of oil or fat in a different pan on low-medium heat. Crack the eggs in the oil, keeping them separate from each other as best as possible. Place lid on pan to give the eggs more volume or leave it off to keep the yolks super yellow. Cook for about 3 minutes. When the egg whites have set, turn off the heat. (Or flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes for over-easy eggs.)
Add in frozen peas and dark leafy greens (if using). Stir until peas are warmed through. Turn off the heat to prevent the peas from losing their color.
After a few minutes, stir in sesame oil and remaining kimchi. Taste for salt preference. Optionally sprinkly with sesame seeds, dulse flakes, more green onions and/or more gochugaru (start with a few teaspoons).