Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Korean Sensibility--Kimchi Fried Rice

This weekend Shauna gave me a bottle of kimchi from HMart. It sits happily in my fridge. On past occasions visiting this huge Korean supermarket I have imbibed generous free samples of this delightful spicy treat. HMart on weekends, is a Korean tapas delight. Besides kimchi, I've sampled mung bean pancakes, bulgogi , fried rice and noodles.  And then walked out with an enormous bottle of spicy fermented cabbage.

I first ate kimchi almost thirty years ago at Woo Lae Oak, a now defunct labyrinthian Korean restaurant in Manhattan. It was love at first bite. Kimchi came as part of banchan,  some ten or twelve different accompaniments to bulgogi. This red chili napa cabbage has a funky odor that might be off-putting to some. Do try to over come this side effect. You will be in for a crunchy revelation. And it is so versatile. It makes an alternative topping on hot dogs and sandwiches. Savory pancakes benefit from it. And fried rice too. The first time I had kimchi fried rice was at Danji. It came in a mini cast iron skillet, hot and crunchy. Loved it. I have some cold, cooked Basmati. Perfect for fried rice. So tonight it is kimchi fried rice, cold soba noodles with beets, radishes and cucumber and curry-spiced fried fish. A chilled white wine and dinner is a breeze.

Kimchi Fried Rice
Makes 2 portions

2 cups Cooked Rice
1 tablespoon Canola oil
1/2 Red Onion
2 tablespoon Kimchi
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon Cilantro

Chop the red onion into small dice.

Heat the oil in nonstick saucepan.

Add the onion to oil and sauté for a few minutes.

Crumple to rice and add to the onion.

Roughly chop the kimchi and cilantro and add to the rice.

Season and sauté for a few minutes.

Serve the rice hot.

Fish is fried. Soba noodles and veggies get a basil vinaigrette coating. One,two three and the rice is done. And the fried rice goes perfectly with fish and noodles. As I write this I watch a Top Chef Masters episode where kimchi is puréed into a sauce!!! Coincidence? Or justification? Kimchi rules today!