Teaming starchy white rice with the high-impact flavors of kimchi results in a dish that is temptingly delicious. On its own, kimchi can be cheekily sour, spicy, and pungent. It’s a concoction of salted and fermented vegetables that is a staple in Korean cuisine. Used in a stir-fry of sorts along with day-old cooked grains of rice, tames the flames in an irresistible balance.
Jars of cabbage kimchi can be found in supermarkets, generally in the refrigerated section that stocks Asian ingredients such as wonton wrappers. Asian markets often stock a wide variety of jarred kimchi.
Atop the mix is a small, salad-y garnish of green onions napped with an Asian-style vinaigrette. It adds appealing texture and flavor.
Yield: 4 servings
Green Onion Salad Garnish:
4 large or 5 small green onions, trimmed, white and light green portions
1 teaspoon roasted Asian-style sesame oil
1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Salt to taste
One 16-ounce jar cabbage kimchi, including juice
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, plus more if needed
4 cups day-old cooked white rice, see cook’s notes
1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more as needed
Cook’s notes: Leftover rice are somewhat dry, an important trait that allows the grains to soak up the tasty liquid.
1. For garnish: Cut green onions thinly crosswise on the diagonal. In medium-small bowl, stir sesame oil, vinegar, sesame seeds and salt. Add sliced onion and toss; set aside.
2. Put kimchi in sieve or colander over a bowl and allow kimchi to drain. Give sieve a little shake or two to get the last of the juices off (reserve juice). Chop kimchi.
3. In large deep nonstick skillet, heat canola oil on medium-high heat. Add kimchi and cook on high heat, stirring now and then, until edges of kimchi become ever so slightly crisp and partially stick to the pan, about 5 minutes. Crumble rice into the skillet, stir to thoroughly combine. Add reserved kimchi juice and cook, stirring frequently, until rice is warmed and is red through and through from the kimchi juice, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add a little more oil if needed, and stir-fry 2 to 3 additional minutes.
4. Remove from heat and drizzle with soy sauce. Taste and add salt/and or soy sauce as needed. Transfer to serving bowl or serve straight from skillet. Top with green onion salad.
Source: adapted from “Small Victories” by Julia Turshen (Chronicle, $35)