As evidenced by this and the Thai version I made back in November, I’m a big fan of fried rice. I tend to be a bit overzealous when it comes to estimating how much rice we’re going to need for certain dishes—in this case, kimchi jjigae—and fried rice is the perfect way to turn something otherwise inedible (cold, dried-out refrigerated rice) into something amazing, whether it’s one serving’s worth or eight. Obviously there are no substitutions for kimchi, but you can use any meat for this; I used pork, but it would work fine with chicken, beef, or even pre-fried tofu cubes.
The recipe was adapted from Debbie Lee’s “Seoultown Kitchen.” We got about 3 servings out of it. (You could probably get 4 if you added a fried egg on top. B. added one to his serving, but I hate eggs by themselves like that, so I did not add one to mine.)
• 4 cups cold leftover rice: 40 cents
• 1/4 pound meat of your choice (I used thinly sliced, boneless country-style pork ribs): 44 cents
• 1/4 cup soy sauce: 25 cents
• 1/4 cup mirin: 40 cents
• 2 cups kimchi (click on link & scroll down), cut in bite-sized pieces if it’s not already: 20 cents
• 2 T sesame oil: 25 cents
• 1/4 cup kimchi juice, poured from the kimchi jar: $0
• 1/2 a bunch chopped green onions (garden): $0
• Salt & pepper: 2 cents
• Optional: 1 fried egg per serving (garden): $0
• Sesame seeds, for garnish: 20 cents
TOTAL: $2.16/3 = 72 cents/serving
Combine the soy sauce and mirin in a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the thinly sliced meat of your choice and set aside.
Heat a medium skillet (nonstick or cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Do not add oil. Remove the meat from the marinade with tongs and sear in the pan until no longer pink and starting to caramelize. Put meat back in the marinade. (I know, I know, raw pork marinade. But bear with me.)
Heat a wok or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. (Depending on the size of your skillet, you may have to cook this in batches. My mammoth 15-inch flat wok/skillet was a little big, so 12 inches should be perfect.) Add the sesame oil and swirl to coat. (It has a low smoke point, so move quickly.) Dump in the meat, marinade and all. Add kimchi and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the rice, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the green onions and kimchi juice, still stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove from the heat.
Mound a serving on each plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds. (Our Asian market has bamboo-charcoal sesame seeds, which happen to be black and look amazing as a garnish.)
If desired, fry an egg (B. does this in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat with no oil), plop it over the top, and season with salt and pepper.