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Kimchi Fried Rice (Bokkeumbap)

May 14, 2012

Do you like spicy food? Crave comfort food? Think those are two separate categories of edibles? This kimchi fried rice says otherwise.


If you’re not yet sure about kimchi (Korean spicy fermented cabbage) this dish could be just the right gateway drug for you. Once sautéed, kimchi loses some of its pungent harshness, but answers back with an addictive tangy spicy warmth that deepens with a little time spent sizzling.

Kimchi is so flavorful, it makes the perfect fried rice base. No need to mix in egg or smother it with soy sauce. You could probably dispense with every other ingredient; all you really need is kimchi, rice, and heat. It would still taste so good.

Garlic chives (buchu)

This recipe has a little more than that going for it, though. I found it in a Japanese cookbook of all places, and just modified it a bit to be more like dishes I’ve enjoyed in restaurants in Korea: I added sesame oil and a fried egg on top!* This time I opted for shrimp, but I’ve also made it with chicken before (and the original recipe called for pork). Or leave the protein out entirely. Like I said, all you really need is kimchi, rice, and heat to make this spicy, tangy comfort food.

* In my opinion, many, many savory dishes can be improved with a fried egg on top. Think about it…


Print this recipe.

Kimchi Fried Rice (Bokkeumbap)
(Adapted from a Japanese-language cookbook called “One Dish Cooking“– in Japanese: ひと皿完結まんぷくごはん.)

(Serves 4)

~ 3-4 cups cooked rice
~ 1 cup of kimchi, chopped
~ 1/2 lb. pork or chicken (cut into bite-size), or shrimp
~ 4-5 whites-of-scallions, finely sliced (or small piece of an onion, diced)
~ 1-2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
~ 1 tsp. sesame oil
~ 2 tsp. soy sauce
~ 1-2 Tbsp. kochujang (Korean chili paste)
~ pinch of salt, to taste
~ 1/2 bunch of buchu (garlic chives) with ends discarded, chopped in inch-long pieces
~ greens of scallions, to garnish
~ fried egg, to serve on top
~ shredded seaweed, to garnish

Note: Many people assert that fried rice tastes better with day-old refrigerated rice, and I do like to use that in Chinese-style fried rice, where I mix in more soy sauce and some egg, but for this recipe I’ve found that warm just-cooked short-grained rice also works great!

How to make it:

1. If using chicken, pork, or raw shrimp, heat canola or vegetable oil in a large/deep frying pan over high heat. Then add meat and cook, stirring frequently, for several minutes until the meat changes color and begins to look nearly cooked. Add more oil if necessary.
If making vegetarian, or using pre-cooked shrimp, simply heat the oil over high heat, then proceed to step #2.

2. Add the scallion whites or the onion, and cook while stirring for 1-2 minutes. Next add kimchi and, optionally, kochujang, and cook while stirring for 3-5 minutes until the kimchi starts to get soft. (Then add pre-cooked shrimp, and stir to coat with kimchi flavors.)

3. Add the rice, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Then mix well until the rice is coated with the kimchi. (You can always add a little bit of the brine-y liquid from the kimchi jar if it seems like there’s not enough color or spice for all of your rice!)

4. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for just a few more minutes until the rice is warmed through. Add the garlic chives in the last minute of cooking, and stir well until they start to wilt. Season with salt, to taste.

5. Serve topped with a fried egg and sprinkled with scallions or shredded seaweed.

Print this recipe!

Related posts:
> Broiled Bulgogi Chicken (recipe)
> Naengmyon (Cold Korean Noodles) (recipe)
> Bibimbap and Banchan in Korea (travel photos)

31 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2012 9:08 am

    I’ve nominated you and your blog for the One Lovely Blog award because I always find new and wonderful recipes here! Your dishes are masterpieces (truly). For more award information, please stop by It’s not just about the recipe . . . . Thank you so much for sharing with all of us!

    • May 14, 2012 10:58 pm

      Wow, thank you, Stephanie! That’s very kind of you. I enjoyed reading your post about the award on your blog, and I’ll try to come up with my own post for it soon! (I’m also looking forward to checking out the other blogs you listed.) Thanks again!

  2. May 16, 2012 12:12 pm

    I love kimchi and this recipe looks sooo good! Thank you for sharing! Allen.

  3. May 17, 2012 8:39 am

    Yummy! Kimchi fried rice is always better with a fried egg!

  4. May 17, 2012 1:47 pm

    A truly Korean comfort food.

    • May 17, 2012 4:46 pm

      Yes, and probably my favorite Korean lunch! (Other than Naengmyon.)

  5. Dani permalink
    May 19, 2012 5:00 pm

    Ever since I first saw this recipe, I have been CRAVING kimchi. But, it’s not available in Thunder Bay. Today we went to Grand Marais (MN) for lunch and lo and behold, their co-op sells kimchi! I am making this recipe right now, and I’m SO EXCITED to eat it. Thank you so much for sharing this — it will remind me fondly of Matsuya’s bibinbap bowl.

    • May 20, 2012 8:52 pm

      That’s awesome you found kimchi in MN (can’t believe it’s not available AT ALL in Thunder Bay though?! …You should totally try making your own; it’s not that hard!). Anyway, I hope your kimchi fried rice turned out well. : ) I never tried the bibimbap at Matsuya, since I’m guessing it probably had beef.

  6. May 23, 2012 6:27 am

    Reblogged this on jenchansblog and commented:
    i think im in love. Spontaneous Tomato i thank you so much

  7. May 23, 2012 6:35 pm

    What a great idea to mix kimchi and rice! So simple yet seems so delicious. I definitely want to give this a try!

    • May 24, 2012 9:29 am

      Yes, it’s super tasty, and a popular lunch dish in Korea. Plus it’s definitely a different take on kimchi, as the flavor changes and mellows a bit when the kimchi’s been cooked. Hope you like it! : )

  8. Pauline T permalink
    May 27, 2012 6:21 pm

    Allison, this post has been tormenting me ever since you published it. I start to drool every time I see the picture, which is often. (I actually started drooling when I just *thought* about it the other day… is that a bell ringing?)
    To put me out of my misery, I resolve to go to T&T this week and cook up this deliciousness within seven days. I promise.
    (Hope you are well!)

    • May 28, 2012 9:41 am

      Yes, do it! You won’t regret it. Really, the only things you need are kimchi and any kind of rice… the other ingredients are just extras. (Hope you’ve been well, too!)

  9. June 15, 2012 4:08 pm

    I just started getting into Korean food and I just love this idea…I can definitely do this at home :)

  10. September 20, 2012 1:04 pm

    Looks fabulous!

  11. August 16, 2014 1:53 am

    MMmmm. I love the taste and smell of fried kimchi. I’m Korean and I’m still super clumsy with cooking Korean food. I love all of your recipes!!


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