To make the perfect kimchi fried rice, do you need kimchi that is 1) fresh or 2) extra ripe? The first secret for the best kimchi fried rice is extra-ripe kimchi! The best kimchi for fried rice begins to lose its firmness and ferments into a smokier flavor. (It’s too ripe if the kimchi passes into the zone where it makes an ideal kimchi for kimchi jjigae or kimchi stew.)
The second secret to make perfect kimchi fried rice is to fry the kimchi first in oil, preferably pork fat. Or yes, you guessed it. It’s best fried with bacon! For vegetarians, this step still applies, just use your non-animal-based oil. This gives the kimchi a grilled flavor and adds firmness back into the kimchi so that when mixed with the rice, the kimchi has that mouthfeel magic – soft and firm at the same time. Wait, what?
Another fast quiz: Should the rice should be fresh or day old? Day old! But if you’ve watched enough Uncle Roger fried rice videos, you should know that by now. (But please do not use Chinese or long grain rice in Korean Kimchi Fried Rice!)