This dish is a great way to use up the kimchi juice, the liquid released from the cabbage during fermentation. According to here : “the one milliliter of the juice from well-ripened kimchi contains roughly 100 million lactic acid bacteria, up to four times more than the same weight of yogurt.” Good stuff!
It would be a waste to discard them away, as they make great seasoning for soup and stew dishes. I happen to have quite a lot (more than 2 cups) at the bottom of container with my homemade kimchi, the level of liquid will increase over time, as fermention continues to take place daily.
I decided to make kimchi fried rice using risotto cooking style, i.e. stirring in the kimchi juice into uncooked rice bit by bit, till the liquid is fully absorbed and the rice is cooked. This would be a great way to use up as much of the kimchi juice as possible. With cooked rice, adding too much liquid while frying will only end up with a plate of soggy rice, not my type of fried rice.
Other than chopped kimchi, I added fresh button mushrooms, baby corn and eggplant to make the one-dish meal even more fulfilling. This recipe is on the spicy side. Use lesser kimchi juice and replace balance liquid addition with broth/water if a less spicy version is preferred.
KIMCHI FRIED RICE : RISOTTO METHOD
½ cup uncooked short grain rice 2 tablespoons of olive oil 1 small onion, chopped 2 button mushrooms, sliced 1 baby corn, sliced ½ cup of chopped kimchi 1 small eggplace, cut thick slices 2 cups of kimchi juice hot water mozzarella cheese,optional nori seaweed, for garnish
01. Arrange eggplant slices on a baking tray and drizzle olive oil on top. Roast till tender, I grill mine in a toaster oven for 15 minutes.
02. Wash rice and drain. Set aside.
03. Pour olive oil on a heated pan, add chopped onions and cook till soften.
04. Add button mushrooms, baby corn and chopped kimchi, mix and fry well, until the kimchi turns fragrant.
05. Add rice, fry and coat the grains with rest of ingredients, about 1 minute.
06. Add enough kimchi juice to cover the rice in the pan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer, stir with a wooden spoon to prevent rice from getting burnt at the bottom.
07. When the water is all absorbed by the rice, add remaining kimchi juice/hot water/broth. Again: just enough to cover the rice, and repeat with a few more liquid additions till the rice is cooked.
08. When the rice is thoroughly cooked, throw in a few cubes of mozzarella cheese and let the heat from the cooked rice soften the cheese.
09. Transfer to serving plate. Top with roasted eggplant slices and nori seaweed, eat immediately.