Kimchi Fried Rice

My obsession with Kimchi Fried Rice began at the Departure Lounge in Portland, Oregon during one of my many business trips to that city.  I sat at the bar for one of my many dinners alone and started a conversation with the bartender around cocktails.  I explained that I don’t like cocktails that are too sweet or have too many different liquors in them and so he suggested the Tasho Macho which is made with chile infused vodka, thai basil, lime juice and a touch of simple syrup.  It was spicy and delicious! He then recommended that I try the kimchi fried rice since I liked spicy foods, and so I ordered it.  All I can say is I was addicted.  So much so that I would find some way to eat it at least once on nearly every trip to Portland, and there were many.

I no longer travel to Portland for work and miss so many things about the city, including this wonderful bowl of spicy goodness.  But while you can’t duplicate the people in your life, a plate of food is certainly something I can work with.  And so, I’ve been on a mission – to learn to make great kimchi fried rice.  My favorite so far is the Francis Lam recipe published in the  NY Times ( which has been a hit at several parties.

The below recipe I made up in my head yesterday while walking through Whole Foods trying to figure out what to make for dinner based on what I had at home and could make quickly.  I must say it came out quite delicious and I would definitely make it again.  Traditionally it is made with ham or spam but with tofu substitute, it’s a great option for vegetarians too.

Kimchi Fried Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A great side or weekday dinner


  • 1/2 canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion – chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic – finely chopped
  • 2 Thai green chiles – finely chopped
  • 5 stalks fresh asparagus – trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces on the diagonal
  • 1/2 Cup grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 Cups extra firm tofu cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 Cup chopped kimchi
  • 2 Tbsp kimchi juice
  • 2 Cups cooked rice (I used basmati)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • Black sesame seeds for garnich


Heat a large saute pan or wok on medium heat.  Add the oil.  Once the oil has heated thru (test by adding a small piece of onion – it should sizzle), add the onion, garlic and green chiles.  Stir and cook for 1 minute.  Then add the asparagus and carrots stirring to combine.  Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes stirring occasionally.  Then add the kimchi, kimchi juice and tofu.  Stir and cook for 2 minutes until heated through.  Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 3 minutes or until the asparagus is crisp tender.  Add the rice and turn up the heat to medium high.  Stir to combine and continue stirring for 4 – 5 minutes until rice is hot and has soaked up the flavors.  Add salt as needed (I didn’t add any) and stir.  Turn off heat, add lime juice and cilantro.  Serve in a bowl garnished with a sprig of cilantro and black sesame seeds.

Optionally you may add a fried egg on top and/or drizzle some sesame oil.   

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