Kimchi Fried Rice & Bulgogi

We were sharing some laughs at a lounge that was located next to a Korean restaurant with their menu posted outside on their wall.  All night, we were staring at the pictures of food as we stood outside and made new memories.  Before we knew it, we were kind of starving.  The six of us ended up making our way into the dark Korean restaurant and ordered enough food for maybe eight.  What did you expect from people with eyes larger than their stomaches?!  We ordered bulgogi (marinated slices of beef grilled to perfection), kimchi fried rice, Korean chicken wings, and bibimbap (rice bowl filled with prepared veggies and topped with a raw egg).  And of course, to finish the night, we ordered a bottle of shochu and played a drinking game called Titanic.

The kimchi fried rice and bulgogi hit the spot and I knew I wanted to recreate it at home.  I’ve tried making kimchi fried rice before, but could never get it right.  This time, what did I do?  I asked a Korean friend of mine what I was doing wrong and found out I was missing the chili paste, gochujang.  I was determined to get it right this time so that I could make it on my own if I was to ever crave it at home, which I promise you I eventually will!  I was feeling a little over the edge and decided to also try to make bulgogi.

I remember making a sauce that could possibly be used to make bulgogi, and I ended up thinking in the right direction.  In my opinion, the bulgogi came out a little salty.  My friend disagrees with me, but my tastebuds are a little sensitive to salt.  Originally, I used thin soy sauce, but in the recipe, I have changed it to light soy sauce.  Now don’t get thin and light soy sauce mixed up.  Light soy sauce has less sodium than thin soy sauce and thin soy sauce is just a thinner version of regular soy sauce.  I think you kind of get the point.

For the kimchi fried rice, make sure you cook the rice a couple of days beforehand otherwise the fried rice will come out a little on the wet and mushy side.  The second time I made it, I had made the mistake of using the rice I had just cooked the night before and it came out a little more wet than I preferred.  I also used spam, but hot links, chicken sausages, chinese barbeque pork, or ham can be used.

I know, I know… what?!  You eat spam?  Well.. as nasty as some people thing it is, I LOVE IT!  Don’t judge me!

Kimchi Fried Rice

2 Tbsp. oil, plus extra if the rice starts to stick to the pan.

1/2 of a medium onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 a block of spam, diced (I used the less sodium one)

3 C. of cooked rice, cooked two days in advanced

2 C. kimchi with 2 Tbsp. of kimchi juice

2 Tbsp. gochujang

2 tsp. sesame oil

Heat oil in a wok or a large heavy pan.  When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add garlic, onions, spam, and kimchi and stir fry for about two minutes.  Add the rice to the pan and stir to break the rice apart.  Add the kimchi juice, sesame oil, and additional oil if needed.  When the rice is evenly stirred in with the rest of the ingredients, add the gochujang and stir until evenly distributed.

Bulgogi

1 lb. thinly sliced ribeye,

3 stalks green onion, sliced (green and white parts), plus more for garnishing

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1/4 C. light soy sauce

2.5 Tbsp. sugar

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

a little bit of minced ginger

1/4 tsp. chili flakes

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seed slightly chopped so they can be more fragrant, plus more for garnishing.

1/2 a small onion, sliced

In a large bowl, add the garlic, green onions, sugar, soy sauce, minced ginger, sesame oil, chili flakes, sesame seeds, and onions and mix until the sugar dissolves.  Add the slices of ribeye to the bowl one slice at a time, making sure each slice gets some sauce on it.  Cover and let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Heat a grill or a nonstick frying pan.  Add the slices of meat one at a time creating a single layer. Cook one layer at a time, including some onions each time.  Depending on how thing your slices are, each side just needs about 30 seconds cooking time.

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