All the flavor of tangy, spicy kimchi combined with comforting fried rice. Our plant-based take is simple with just 10 ingredients required. The perfect weeknight meal or make-ahead recipe for the week. Let us show you how it’s done!
Origins of Kimchi Fried Rice
Kimchi fried rice, also called kimchi-bokkeum-bap, is popular in South Korea (source). It’s unclear who exactly invented it, but it’s thought that it originated out of a need to create an affordable and delicious meal with minimal ingredients. It’s typically made with kimchi, leftover rice, and vegetables, and often eggs, meat, or fish.
The following is our inspired, plant-based take on the dish. You can find a more traditional version from Korean Bapsang.
How to Make Kimchi Fried Rice
First, we start by making brown rice using the pasta method because it makes it extra fluffy. You can also use leftover brown rice if you have some around. We prefer brown rice over white here because it’s less prone to becoming mushy and has more fiber and nutrients.
Next comes the tofu for a protein boost and contrast of textures. Baking it in the oven with toasted sesame oil and gochujang infuses it with flavor and lends a firm (and addictive) texture. Try not to eat the whole pan before your fried rice is ready!
Then we sauté onion and garlic for flavor and carrots and snap peas for a pop of color and nutrition. The veggies are flexible here and a great way to use up what you have on hand. We think cabbage and bell pepper would be a nice variation.
To the rice, veggie, and tofu mixture, we add tamari for umami flavor, fresh ginger for zing, kimchi for tanginess and probiotics, and gochujang for heat. The result is incredibly delicious kimchi fried rice with a complex flavor profile that will leave you wanting more!
*Note: You can learn more and find recipes for kimchi here and gochujang here.
We hope you LOVE this kimchi fried rice recipe! It’s:
& Full of flavor!
It’s a great way to use up leftover veggies or give rice a flavorful second life! And while it’s a plenty filling entrée on its own, it would also be delicious with our Gochujang Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts or Spicy Korean-Style Cauliflower Wings.
More Recipes With Kimchi
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Servings 4 (Servings)
- 12 cups water (yes, we really do mean 12 cups — the rice is cooked using the pasta method)
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice, rinsed thoroughly (we used short-grain, but long-grain works too // alternatively, skip cooking rice and use two cups leftover as recipe is written)
- 14 ounces extra-firm tofu
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp gochujang sauce (or sub store-bought // ensure vegan/gluten-free friendly as needed)
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 ½ cups stir fry veggies of choice (we used carrots and snap peas!), cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce (if not gluten-free)
- 1 cup kimchi , chopped into bite-size pieces (or sub store-bought // ensure vegan-friendly as needed)
- 1 Tbsp kimchi juice (from a jar of kimchi // ensure vegan-friendly as needed)
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 cups cooked, cooled brown rice (leftovers or rice cooked per Step 1)
- 1/4 cup gochujang sauce (or sub store-bought // ensure vegan/gluten-free friendly as needed)
- Sesame seeds
- Crumbled nori
- Sliced green onion
RICE: For the rice, if not using leftover, bring 12 cups (~3 liters) of water (yes, we really mean that much) to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, add rinsed rice and stir. Boil on high uncovered for 30 minutes, then strain in a fine-mesh strainer. Let the rice sit in the strainer while you proceed with the recipe.
TOFU: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Drain the tofu and wrap it in a clean dish towel, then place something heavy on top (or use a tofu press) to press the tofu for 10 minutes. Cut and prepare your veggies while your tofu is draining.
Once drained, cut the tofu into 1/2-inch (13 mm) cubes and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) toasted sesame oil and 2 Tbsp (36 g) gochujang and toss to coat (amounts as original recipe is written). Spread into an even layer and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through or until golden brown with crispy edges. While the tofu bakes, start cooking the veggies.
VEGGIES: In a large nonstick or cast iron skillet, heat 1 Tbsp (15 ml) toasted sesame oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add diced onion and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic, stir fry veggies (such as carrots and snap peas), and 1 Tbsp (15 ml) tamari (amount as original recipe is written). When veggies are vibrantly colored and beginning to soften — about 4 minutes — turn off the heat and add your kimchi and kimchi juice. Toss the veggies one last time and then place them into a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
FRIED RICE: With your pan still OFF heat, add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil, 1 Tbsp (15 ml) tamari, the finely chopped ginger, and 2 cups (316 g) cooked rice (amounts as original recipe is written). Toss to fully coat the rice and then turn the heat on to medium-high. Spread the rice out into one even layer and cook, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes. You should hear it sizzling and popping a bit. If it’s quiet, turn your heat up a little. After 2 minutes, toss your rice and add 1/4 cup (72 g) gochujang (amount as original recipe is written). Toss to coat the rice fully and then spread into an even layer again, and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes.
Give your rice one final toss and then add the cooked veggies and baked tofu. Toss everything together and taste! Add more gochujang for spice or more tamari for saltiness.
Option to garnish with sesame seeds, crumbled nori, and green onions. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Not freezer friendly.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with 1 ¼ cups each snap peas and carrots and without optional ingredients.
Serving: 1 serving Calories: 481 Carbohydrates: 62.9 g Protein: 18.7 g Fat: 18.1 g Saturated Fat: 2.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.7 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2.1 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 1184 mg Potassium: 704 mg Fiber: 5.6 g Sugar: 15.7 g Vitamin A: 9385 IU Vitamin C: 37.1 mg Calcium: 401 mg Iron: 4.4 mg