What is Kimchi?
Dennis recently had to take antibiotics. I’m not a big fan of them, as they destroy the body’s essential beneficial bacteria as well as the bad stuff, but there are some instances when they’re necessary. Occasionally, I do have to take them due to sinus infections, which never seem to go away with natural remedies, no matter how hard I try.
Now that he’s off of the medication, he’s taking probiotics to help rebuild his body’s beneficial bacteria. I’m feeding him lots of probiotic and prebiotic foods, too. We’ve been eating lots of fermented foods such as sauerkraut and drinking quite a bit of kombucha. Kimchi has been on sale on my local Whole Foods, so I’ve been stocking up. I’ve become hooked! I can’t get enough of the stuff.
Kimchi is a staple in Koren cuisine and it’s often served as a side dish. Essentially, it’s just fermented vegetables, usually cabbage, but it can also be made with other vegetables such as Korean radishes, cucumber, or lotus root. It’s commonly seasoned with chili powder, scallions, garlic, and ginger.
Not all kimchi is vegan. In fact, most of what my local store has isn’t. It’s often made with shrimp, fish sauce, and even bone broth. There are vegan varieties, though, so make sure you read the labels. I’ve been enjoying Mother-In-Law’s Vegan Napa Cabbage Kimchi, which is nice and spicy. If heat’s not your thing, they also have a mild White Napa Cabbage Kimchi.
Cooking with Kimchi
At first, I was just throwing kimchi on top of our salads or serving it on the side of our meals. But then I started to experiment with different dishes. A few days ago, I made really tasty Korean-style tacos with kimchi, which I’ll be sharing with you in a few weeks. I’ve also been making lots of vegan kimchi fried rice, which is a super-easy and quite tasty.
Vegan Kimchi Fried Rice
A quick Google search for kimchi fried rice will bring up lots of recipes that use eggs and very few vegetables. I’ve loaded my dish with lots of vegetables, because why not? Here, I’ve used a mixture of carrots, peas, broccoli, and red pepper, but you can’t use pretty much any veggie you have on hand.
Baked tofu is used in the place of traditional eggs in this recipe. I like to use my own baked tofu in recipes like this, but if you’re pressed for time, packaged premade baked tofu will work just as well.
Whenever I cook rice, I make extra and pop it in the freezer, so I tend to have cooked rice on hand. If you don’t want have time to cook your rice, you can buy precooked frozen brown rice in most stores. You can use cauliflower rice, if you like.
How to Make Vegan Kimchi Fried Rice
Once you have your veggies chopped, this dish comes together super quickly, so it’s a terrific option for dinner on busy weeknights.
- First you cook the onion, garlic, and ginger in a pan over medium-high heat.
- Then you add the rest of the vegetables to the pan.
- Once the vegetables have softened, you add the cooked rice to the pan along with the seasonings.
- After cooking about 10 more minutes, you remove the pan from the heat and stir in the kimchi.
- Serve your fried rice with baked tofu, sliced scallions, and sesame seeds.
Most kimchi fried rice recipes add the kimchi during the cooking process. I know that heat can kill beneficial bacteria, which kind of defeats the purpose of cooking with it. In this recipe, I’ve added it after the dish has been removed from the heat. You can also just serve it on the side, if you prefer.
Kimchi Fried Rice
- 1 teaspoon neutral-flavored vegetable oil
- ¼ cup minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 1 cup cooked peas
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 bunch broccoli cut into small florets (about 5 cups)
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon garlic chili paste or sriracha plus extra for serving, optional
- 1 cup kimchi, roughly chopped plus extra for serving, optional
- 16 ounces baked tofu homemade or store-bought
- 2 scallions chopped
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until they are fragrant.
- Add the broccoli, peas, carrots, and bell pepper to the pan and turn up the heat to medium high. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until the broccoli turns bright green.
- Add the rice to the pan. Stir in the tamari, rice vinegar, and garlic chili paste or sriracha.
- Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. You want to make sure the vegetables are tender and everything is heated throughout. Remove from the heat and stir in the kimchi.*
- Divide among 4 bowls and top with the baked tofu, scallions, and sesame seeds.
Other stir-fry style recipes you might enjoy include:
- Tofu Teriyaki Stir-Fry
- Spicy Soy Curl Stir-Fry
- Tofu and Shirataki Noodle Stir-Fry
- Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts
- Coconut-Peanut Butter Chickpea and Broccoli Stir-Fry
Other rice recipes you might enjoy include: