Breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day, but I get tired of traditional eggs quickly, so I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to make them. Add to that, that I don’t like throwing out food. I’ve mentioned before, my mom was a depression baby. She believed in stretching meals to feed whomever was there, and yes, her mom fed the hobos who came to the back door, regardless of how little they had in the house. She also always used leftovers. She was creative, inventive, not afraid of trying to cook ethnic foods. We had sushi, and teriyaki in our home, home made by mom, in the 60s, long before it trended in the US food culture. So, I did some research and found a number of recipes for Bokkeumbap. This is my version which used left over rice, Chinese rice which is very dry is the best, though even Uncle Ben’s will work, if you leave it for a couple of days in the fridge. It uses ingredients that are readily available at your local Asian market, though I bought the sauce at World Market.
NOTE: Any ingredient listed as optional was not in the original recipes, but we found we liked the additional veggies. The onion and garlic rounded out the flavor of the rice. The bok choy added a crunchy dimension to the dish.
INGREDIENTS for 4 servings:
- 4 C old rice – today’s version was a combination of white jasmine rice and left over pork fried rice.
- 1 to 2 C kimchi (available canned or fresh at your local Asian market), drained but keep the juice, and cut up
- 1/4 C onion, diced (optional)
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
- 1/4 C kimchi juice
- 1/4 C water
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce (optional)
- 2 to 3 tbsp.gochujang (I used Mother-in-law’s gochujang from World Market) – it is a fermented chili sauce used similarly to Sofrito
- 2 -3 stalks bok choy sliced thin (optional)
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 sheet nori or kim (dried roasted seaweed) – shredded (I use herb scissors – see last paragraph)
- 1 to 2 tbsp. oil, depending on the size of your pan
- 2 eggs per person
Cut and dice up everything first, because once you start cooking, this goes very quickly. Use the largest pan you have that is NOT non-stick – a wok, stainless steel skillet or even a large flat pot will work best.
Heat the pan on the stove at medium high heat. Add the regular oil to the pan. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 1 minute so that it just softens up a bit. Add the kimchi and the bok choy to pan and saute an additional minute.
Add the rice, kimchi juice, water, soy sauce, gochujang to the pan and stirfry for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon or firm spatula to keep it from sticking. Add the sesame oil and stir and remove the pan from the heat. Top with the shredded nori/kim, sesame seed and scallion. Set aside. It will keep warm.
Make two fried or sunnyside up eggs for each person. Spoon the rice onto a plate and top with two eggs and serve.
Now a little history lesson. What exactly is Kimchi? It is a spicy, pickled, fermented cabbage. It is one of the healthiest foods you can eat — high in fiber, it is also high in Vitamins A, B and C, and most importantly, in the healthy pro-biotic, lactobacilli. This healthy bacteria is considered helpful with digestion, preventing yeast infections and may even prevent the growth of cancer.
Kimchi can be used like this, eaten by itself, cooked with beef into a wonderful stew, as fillings for wraps, topping for pizza or burgers – it is limited only by your imagination. In fact, it is so popular in Korea, where the average citizen consumes 40 pounds per year, that instead of saying “Cheese” when having their photos taken, tradition has it that they say “Kimchi”.
These are herb scissors, available from Amazon.com for about $10-15, depending on the model you choose. They have 5 blades and will easily shred the nori, but are also good for cutting any fresh herbs.