Let me introduce you to your new late night (or morning after?) go-to dish. You can’t argue with the restorative powers of kimchi–spicy fermented vegetables–especially when tossed with rice, sesame oil, and spicy chili paste. Go for Korean gochujang because it’s incredible (spicy-sweet with just a hint of funky, in the best possible way), or reach for sriracha because you’re already addicted and stocked up. I add tamari, which is not traditional, but the mellow saltiness plays so nicely with tangy kimchi. This is fusion cooking the way it’s meant to be–fast, flavorful, and plucking all of your favorite notes, preferably straight from your fridge.
There are lots of options here–skip the pork and egg for a vegan dish. Skip just the pork for a vegetarian dish. It’s also not traditional, but if you skip the pork, coconut oil is a lovely addition, and so nourishing that I’m always trying to find tasty places to sneak it in.
I got the idea for this dish last week, while chatting with Brian Hoffman of Fulton Beer. The whole Fulton gang hosted a little gathering at their newly-leased, currently-under-construction production facility. Because I can’t actually drink their beer (gluten), I held a pint of the evening’s brew and smelled it, touched my lips to it, and basically tortured myself while chatting with Brian about all of the beautiful, spicy foods that would be marvelous with such a hoppy, fruity, fragrant beer.
I distracted myself from self-pity by enjoying the crew’s signature hospitality. Every time we get together I’m impressed all over again by the four couples’ collective friendship, talent, good humor, good taste, enthusiasm, and charm. What can I say? I adore them all, even though I can’t drink their beer. I was giddy on their behalf, scanning the abyss that is their new Northeast Minneapolis facility (for the moment called AFB, as in Another Fulton Brewery), imagining the shiny new tanks and thousands of bottles of deliciousness that will be leaving through the giant loading dock by late 2014, making its way into your belly but not mine. (Worry not, tasting room fans, the original North Loop Fulton brewery – aka 414 – remains in operation.)
That’s a long way of saying that Brian suggests, “With the fried rice, I would go with The Ringer or Batch 300. As we talked about, hoppy and spicy are a match made in heaven, and both of these beers deliver on that note. Both are also light enough in malt character and body to not overpower the kimchi, rice, or the egg.” So there you go. Fulton forth and tell me how much you enjoyed it so I can live vicariously through you.
Kimchi Fried Rice
3/4 lb. ground pork
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c. kimchi (available in most grocery stores), chopped
3 c. cooked long-grain rice
1/4 c. kimchi juice
2 Tbsp. gochujang (Korean red pepper paste, available at Asian markets & many grocery stores) or sriracha, plus more for serving
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil, plus more for serving
1 Tbsp. tamari, plus more for serving
3 scallions, thinly sliced
toasted sesame seeds
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground pork, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks, until just done (do not brown). Add the garlic and kimchi and saute for 1 minute. Add the rice, kimchi juice, and gochujang and saute for 3 minutes. Remove rice from heat and stir in the sesame oil, tamari, and scallions.
Serve rice hot topped with fried eggs. Garnish with sesame seeds and a drizzles of tamari, sesame oil, and gochujang (or sriracha) to taste.