Done Like Dinner

By Mercedes Lee

In last month’s column, I made the declaration that I could probably fill 2 years’ worth of columns with rice recipes alone. “Please,” you scoffed, probably thinking I was exaggerating. YET HERE I AM, a woman of my word, with a recipe that makes the most of leftover rice, whether from the fridge of the freezer.

Kimchi fried rice is a spin on a time-honoured everything-but-the-kitchen-sink dish that is generally a crowd pleaser. Fried rice is elastic – you can chop up any combination of vegetables and protein (now is a good time to clear out the fridge in a creative way), toss it together with some rice in a pan, flavour with a little soy, and – if you’re really trying to nail all my food triggers – top with a runny fried egg for a quick, satisfying, and budget-friendly weeknight dinner.

Kimchi Fried Rice
serves 4-6

2 Tb. cooking oil of your choice
1 lb of ground pork, ground turkey, ground beef, or chopped leftover protein (feel free to omit, or substitute scrambled eggs, or 1-2 cups of chopped protein of your choosing)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1” piece of ginger, peel and minced
3 cups cooked rice
1 jar of cabbage kimchi (available in the refrigerator section of the Asian grocery stores on Gerrard), or 2 cups of cabbage kimchi, roughly chopped
1-2 cups of frozen peas (or equivalent chopped kale, napa cabbage, or swiss chard)
2 Tb light soy sauce
1 Tb seasoned rice wine
1 tsp. white sugar or brown sugar
1 bunch of scallions, chopped

– In a large wok or very large skillet, or dutch oven, heat the oil. When it’s hot, cook the meat until cooked through. If you’re using leftover protein, heat it in the oil until warmed through.
– Add the minced garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant
– Add the rice, kimchi, and frozen peas (or additional vegetables) and cook until heated through, peas are cooked and/or greens wilted.
– Add the soy, rice wine, sugar and toss with the fried rice to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional soy, salt and pepper if desired.
– Mix in chopped scallions.
– If desired, top with a runny fried egg
kimchi rice