Korean seems to be the trending cuisine these days in Los Angeles. Most of the authentic Korean restaurants are located in Korea Town near downtown Los Angeles. There are always long lines, and parking is the worst. Finding street parking is almost impossible. Valet is your only option. Even with all the troubles, we still love to go.
For the longest time, Korean cuisine never seems to take off or get much notice, especially in the United States. I think the look and presentation of mainstream Korean food is not very appealing. When you think about Korean food, the first thing comes to mind is the reddish color and many times in broth form. That equals spicy and not hearty. That is somewhat a misconception. For me, I only ate things that are not red, like Korean BBQ, japchae (sweet potato noodles), tteokbokki (non-spicy rice cake version) and bibimbap (with very little gochujang sauce).
My real interest towards Korean food started about a year or two ago. It was while watching a Korean drama, Let’s Eat. The actors and actresses got together because of their love for food. In the scenes, they were always eating many different Korean food. Everything looked incredibly good. I was drooling the whole time. I have become open-minded about Korean cuisine. The first thing Bryan and I wanted to try is soon dubu (tofu stew). A tofu stew is a hot red stew cooked with tofu and sometimes with meat and/or seafood. We went to Beverly Soon Tofu and we ordered a mild soon dubu with seafood and pork. It arrived to the table bubbly hot. We added the raw egg and mixed everything together. It wasn’t really spicy. The broth was really flavorful with the juice from seafood and pork. The soft tofu absorbed everything. We spooned the tofu stew over our rice. It was hot, tasty and comforting. That stew changed everything what I once thought Korean food was. I have learned that Korean food can be very flavorful without burning the mouth every time. Korean fried chicken, jajangmyeon (black bean noodles), mandu (dumplings) and many more… I am excited to trying all these new discovery!
Now back to today’s dish, Kimchi fried rice with beef. I didn’t start liking kimchi until a few months ago. I always found them to be too sour, spicy and strong. I couldn’t understand it. Then one day, we had Korean BBQ, I put a piece of kimchi on top of a slice of grilled beef and ate them together in one bite. It was so tasty and nicely balanced. I finally came to realize the magic of kimchi. I now appreciate spiciness, saltiness and sourness from kimchi. That is how I know I need to make kimchi fried rice at home. I used Nami’s recipe from Just One Cookbook. Meat is always a plus in my home, so I added some marinated beef which is a recipe from Korean Bapsang. To keep it less spicy and less sour, I reduced the amount of kimchi. The fried rice came out just right and very satisfying! A perfect one dish meal!
Kimchi Fried Rice with Beef
3 – 4 servings
– 1¾ cup uncooked rice
– 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
– ¾ pound rib eye or sirloin steak (cut into ¼-inch cubes)
– ½ medium onion (cut into small dices)
– 2 green onions (separated the green and white parts, finely chopped)
– 2 garlic cloves (minced)
– 1 cup napa cabbage kimchi (drained, cut into ½-inch pieces)
– 3 – 4 tablespoons kimchi juice (liquid from the jar of kimchi)
– 2 teaspoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
– 2 tablespoons soy sauce
– 1 teaspoon sesame oil
– 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
– ground black pepper
– 3 – 4 fried eggs
Marinade for beef:
– 1 tablespoon soy sauce
– 2½ teaspoon sugar
– ¾ teaspoon sesame oil
– 1 teaspoon sake
– 1 green onion (finely chopped)
– 2 garlic cloves (minced)
– dash of ground white pepper
- The day before, cook the rice in a rice cooker. Once the rice is cooked, let it cool to room temperature. Keep in the fridge overnight in an airtight container.
- In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the beef cubes and mix well. Marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature.
- In a large skillet or wok over high heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil. Add the beef cubes and saute for 4 – 5 minutes until cook through. Transfer the beef to a small bowl.
- In the same pan over medium-high heat, add the diced onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add the white part of the green onion and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in kimchi and kimchi juice. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Add gochujang and soy sauce. Cook for another minute.
- Turn the heat to medium-low. Add the rice. With a spatula, break the rice apart and mix the rice with the kimchi mixture. Toss and cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Add sesame oil, sesame seeds, beef cubes, and the leftover green onions. Season with black pepper. Combine everything and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes.
- Transfer the fried rice to serving plates. Top with hot fried eggs. Serve immediately.
- If the kimchi start to stick to the pan, add a little bit of water.
- This fried rice is just a little spicy. To increase the spicy level, you can add more kimchi juice and gochujang, but reduce the soy sauce.
- There are many kimchi brands out there. They can taste very different. Some are more spicy and some are on the sour side. This Serious Eats guide will help you find the good ones.
- Gochujang is a spicy red pepper paste. You can find it in Asian supermarket or Amazon.