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Kimchi Fried Rice
There are countless ways to make kimchi fried rice, or kimchi bokkeum bap, as it’s called in Korea. During a visit to Seoul, we had a few lessons on how to cook up the spicy, garlicky, umami-packed marriage of rice and fermented cabbage. Chef Sung Min Lee started his kimchi fried rice by lightly caramelizing a sliced onion, which added a sweetness and texture we liked. He also used equal amounts of kimchi and rice, a ratio that we, too, found optimal. And chef Choi Dong Mae added big, bold flavor by seasoning the mix with dadaegi, a spicy sauce often stirred into noodles and soups. Choi pureed nearly a dozen ingredients for her dadaegi; we simplified the blend but kept the Asian pear, which brought sweetness and fruity notes that harmonized with the other flavors. Asian pears are seasonal; if not available, use a regular pear. In a surprising twist, we learned that freshly cooked medium- or long-grain rice is the norm for making kimchi fried rice. We, however, prefer to use cooked and chilled rice, as it stir-fries into a lighter, fluffier texture. If you own a 12- to 14-inch wok, feel free to use it in place of a nonstick skillet. It provides more space for easy tossing of ingredients, and also slightly speeds the cooking. Topped with sunny-side-up eggs, this fried rice makes a hearty and satisfying meal.
ounces Asian pear (see headnote), peeled, cored and roughly chopped
bunch scallions, whites roughly chopped, greens thinly sliced, reserved separately
01In a blender, combine the pear, scallion whites, garlic, ginger, gochujang, soy sauce, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Blend, scraping the blender jar as needed, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the puree and the pork; mix until well combined.
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