This easy kimchi fried rice recipe is a quick-to-make dinner made with leftover white rice, fried tofu, mushrooms, and tangy Korean kimchi.
My friend Michelle turned me onto kimchi. Her Korean mother always had this funky, pungent cabbage condiment at the ready for serving alongside their Korean dinners or just for snacking. Being a lover of fermented foods (killer garlic pickles forever!) it was a no-brainer I’d become a fan of kimchi too.
Kimchi fried rice is one of my favorite dinner ideas when there’s no time to cook. While I love my ham fried rice recipe, I keep this fried rice recipe vegetarian with quick-fried tofu and scrambled eggs providing the protein and mushrooms and soy sauce adding earthy umami. Leftover white rice is key to the success of any fried rice so it doesn’t clump. And then of course there’s kimchi in this dish, where the fermented cabbage adds body and the reserved kimchi juice gives the kimchi fried rice its flavorful tang.
What Kimchi Fried Rice Is Made Of
This recipe is the perfect way to use up leftover white rice along with some fridge foraging for ingredients that keep longer in the fridge.
Here’s what you’ll need for kimchi fried rice:
- Canola oil
- Leftover cooked white rice—using chilled white rice ensures the rice won’t clump or get mushy
- Tofu—medium-firm tofu works best for frying or baking
- Kimchi—find kimchi in the refrigerated vegetable section of the grocery store or at Asian grocery stores
- Shittake or brown mushrooms
- Green onion
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
How to Make Kimchi Fried Rice
Use leftover chilled cooked white rice. If you don’t have leftover rice, follow this recipe for perfectly cooked white rice. Spread the cooked rice in an even layer on a baking sheet and pop it in the fridge for an hour or more to cool. Chilled rice ensures the rice won’t clump when liquid is added to it.
Fry or bake the tofu. Medium-firm tofu holds its shape with a crisp crust and creamy interior when fried or baked following these recipe directions (I skipped tossing it with cornstarch here.) If baking the tofu, skip the step for stir-frying it in oil in the directions below and add directly to the rice and mushrooms instead.
Use the reserved kimchi juice to season the rice. Drain the kimchi before chopping to add it to the rice mixture with the soy sauce and sesame oil. The fermented juice adds heat and classic kimchi sweet and sour bite to the dish.
Health Benefits of Kimchi
As a probiotic that helps encourage healthy gut health, the health benefits of kimchi are indisputable. Commonly found in Asian markets or health food stores, these days kimchi is carried in nearly every common grocery store due to its rise in popularity and great health benefits.
Substitutions and Additions for Kimchi Fried Rice
- Top it with a fried egg instead of scrambled
- Try chopped Spam, ham, or shrimp instead of tofu—or with it!
- Add peas, carrots, or broccoli
- Chopped fresh spinach or kale would be a great, healthy addition
What to Serve with Kimchi Fried Rice
- Asian Broccolini
- Sweet and Sour Asian Pickled Cucumbers
- Sesame Soba Noodles
- Roasted Asparagus
- Roasted Cauliflower sprinkled with soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds
More Asian Recipes to Try
- Ham Fried Rice
- Thai Garlic and Black Pepper Tofu With Mushrooms
- Sesame Shrimp with Asian Greens Rice Bowl
- Marinated Flank Steak with Asian Chimichurri Sauce
- Teriyaki Tofu and Broccoli Stir-Fry
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