Kimchi and Rice

My dad has always wanted a clothes line in our backyard. He is in love with the romantic image of white sheets ruffling in the summer breeze and going to sleep in a bed that smells like fresh air. However, my mom mom requires that this hypothetical clothes line not look “tacky.” Just the other day, Dad finally found one that looks beautiful.
When I moved into my first apartment, there was a clothes line available. It had its pros and cons (pro: don’t have to pay for drying at the laundromat, con: doesn’t work as well when the temperature is below freezing). But no matter the inconveniences, that fresh-air smell kept me coming back for more. So twice a month, I would take a basket of laundry one block over, along with 45 minutes worth of homework. But my attention never stayed on my work. Waiting for the spin cycle to finish, hunger would start to creep on. And this was a pretty sneaky business model. The laundromat was owned by a lovely Korean woman who sold the most delicious kimchi. (For those who have never been so lucky to try this, kimchi is fermented vegetables, specifically cabbage. It’s amazing.) $4 for the kimchi and $3 for 2 washed loads.

Once my chores were over, I would sit at the kitchen table, looking out on my drying sheets, eating a bowl of kimchi and rice. Eat your heart out, Dad.

Kimchi and Rice
Yes, you can eat kimchi without dressing it up, but occasionally the strong fermented flavor can become overwhelming. At least for me. This is easy to make and turns a snack into a meal. I often top the thole thing with a fried egg over easy, especially if it’s been fried in animal fat. The runny yolk over everything is like heaven.

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, chopped
3 cups cooked rice
3/4 cup kimchi, drained and chopped
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 egg

Pre-heat your largest cast-iron skillet or wok over maximum heat. Add the oil, and immediately follow that with the garlic and green onions. Stir-fry for 20 seconds.
Add the rice and toss to coat with the oil. Continue to fry over high heat, tossing only occasionally and mostly letting the rice stay in contact with the pan so that it has time to brown. Keep this up as long as you can stand it, because the more brown crispy bits you develop, the more delicious it will be. You want to break the rice up somewhat but also leave some smallish clumps.
(Now would be a good time to fry your egg. Multitasking is key if you want everything warm.)
Add the kimchi and salt and stir-fry for one more minute.
Serve immediately with the fried egg if you are using it.


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