Monday, August 17, 2009

Pork Belly (삼겹살 Samgyupsahl) and Kimchee Fried Rice: Kimchee lovers unite!

While living in Hong Kong, Husband often criticized the Korean food I prepared. He was satisfied with all the non-Korean things, but the Korean food always brought out the critic him. It was "not enough salt" or "smelled funny" or "doesn't taste like my moms." Granted we were newly married and he was probably not used to my style of cooking, but I also know that I needed some more help on perfecting dishes. (I would get serious training later at the hands of my grandmother while living in Korea.) However, one dish he never complained about was kimchee fried rice. I used to go out of my way to get the kimchee, the pork belly, and fry it in the too tiny kitchen, while sweating and cursing Hong Kong weather.

This is now a favorite among our whole family, including allergy son. In fact, the first day Son had it, I was completely taken aback at Son's ability to eat spicy food. Although it wasn't super spicy, it still had more kick than any of the other food he had eaten up to that point. He loved it, gobbled it down, and I called husband with the question, "Guess who likes kimchee?" Husband responded," I don't know, the girls?" I said, "No. Someone new." He guessed Son and when I further related that he liked it spicy, he bellowed into the telphone, "That's my boy."

**Preparation notes
Do NOT throw away rice that is in your rice cooker. Do not leave rice in your rice cooker for too long either. Instead, cool the rice down and portion it off into single servings and seal them into ziploc bags to freeze. This is an easy way to ensure you always have some single servings of rice on hand and they also make for GREAT fried rice. In our family, I know that we are often eating fried rice, I often just portion a huge chunk for future fried rice usage.

Pork Belly and Kimchee Fried Rice

3-4 tablespoons oil (I use Canola because of Son, but a mixture of canola and sesame oil is fine)
1 lb pork belly, chopped into bite-sized pieces. (the Korean market sells it pre-sliced so I just chop it into small pieces.)
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons of chopped garlic
2 tablespoons of grated ginger
3 cups of kimchee chopped into bite-sized pieces, the "riper"(more fermented), the better
6 cups of cooked rice

Optional garnishes:
chopped scallions
sesame seeds
fried egg

In a large fry pan or wok, over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil, chopped pork belly, onion, garlic and ginger. Cook and saute until pork is almost cooked through and fat has rendered, about 3 minutes. Add kimchee and cook until kimchee is translucent and cooked through. This time will vary as the riper the kimchee the less cooking time it will need. The more "fresher" kimchee will require more time for it to reach translucent stage, anywhere from 5-8 minutes. Also watch to make sure that the pork and kimchee is not too watery, as this will make the rice soggy.

Push the kimchee and pork to the outer portion of the fry pan leaving a hole in the middle. Add 1 tablespoon more of oil and quickly add the rice. Using your spoon gradually blend in the kimchee and pork into the rice. Cook together until all ingredients are well blended and incorporated together.

Serve and sprinkle with a bit of chopped green onion, sesame seed or egg if desired.

Printable recipe


Alejandra said...

This sounds SO good. I've only recently tried kimchee for the first time and loved it.

pigpigscorner said...

Looks really delicious! I love kimchi fried rice! I add kochujang to mine.

Jessica said...

growing up i had a korean babysitter whose mother used to make homemade kimchee. till this day, unless i go to a korean restaurant, i can't buy the right kimchee. It's either too sweet, or not spicy, or too sour. Do you have any good recommendations for a good spicy kimchee??

Joanne Choi said...

Jessica - where do you live? Depending on your location and your ability to access a Korean market, my recommendation to you would vary. But a pretty good STANDARD kimchee, one that tastes pretty good is here...

Jessica said...

We live in Orange County, CA. We do live close to Little Saigon, and we have a couple of Japanese supermarkets by us, so we have a variety of Asian markets. I'm sure you could be pretty specific. Otherwise I will go to that website and purchase that one. Thanks!

Joanne Choi said...

Garden Grove (off of the 22) has more than a few Korean supermarkets. The kimchee link I sent you - they'd probably have that same brand there. One brand of kimchee that I do like from SoCal is AhShee brand - which is made locally somewhere in socal. If you can make it to a Korean supermarket (Arirang is one in Garden Grove) you could probably find a good selection. There is also a Hannam Chain supermarket which would also have a good selection.

That is a review of the arirang supermarket.

Christina Kim said...

kimchi bokum bap is the must-have korean late-night meal for me. it's quick and so tasty!! samgyupsal is a delicious way to go, but sometimes i go even cheaper and use Spam!!

sparkle motion said...

Recently I tried kimchee and I really liked it. This recipe looks delicious and I would really like to try it but I cannot find pork belly anywhere near where I live in Pittsburgh

any suggestions? possibly any substitutions?

Joanne Choi said...

Hi Sparkle -

in a pinch, bacon is great! only it is saltier and more intense in its if you could find a low sodium one that would help.

Your local chinese market (if there is one) also should have pork belly, only it won't be sliced as neatly as the Korean ones - only because the Chinese eat it whole.

the link above lists all the korean markets in the US - and has one in Pittsburg. I know nothing of that area so don't know if it is helpful.

You want samgyupsahl - which basically looks like bacon, only it hasn't been smoked or cured.

Anonymous said...

We love kimchee fried rice too! I make it with brown rice and it turns out pretty good, although not *quite* as yummy as with white rice.


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