It’s been a while since I posted a cooking post, but that’s not because I haven’t been cooking. One of the dishes I’ve been cooking a lot recently is this vegan kimchi fried rice. There are a lot of reasons for that, but the biggest one is that vegan kimchi has become a lot easier to get. For years most commercially available kimchi was made with the traditional recipe, which includes dried fish or shrimp in the seasoning. Over the past few years, though, several brands have been making vegan kimchi for those of us who love the flavor of kimchi but don’t want the fish. Then the Korean-owned bodega near me (the same place where they told me how to make this) started selling homemade kimchi. And in addition to more traditional kimchi they regularly make batches without the seafood. So it’s easy for me to get. The other reason I’ve been making it a lot is because it’s easy to do, and full of shortcuts. I can get a carton of cooked rice from the Chinese restaurant (conveniently located across the street from the bodega) and I only have to cook the veggies. Here’s a simple variation, though you can make it with anything.
I start by cooking up some sliced shiitake mushrooms and some firm tofu; I let everything get crisp and crunchy, and season it with salt and pepper. While that’s happening I steam some bok choy, and then set it aside for later. When the mushrooms and tofu get crisp I add the vegan kimchi to the hot pan, and stir it around with the mushrooms. When the kimchi is heated through I move everything off to one side and add the cooked rice to the open space in the pan. I season the rice with some soy sauce and let it cook for a few seconds before mixing it with the mushroom/tofu/kimchi. I check it for seasoning and adjust as necessary; sometimes it needs more soy sauce, sometimes it needs a splash of cchili sauce. When it’s seasoned properly I stir in the steamed bok choy, turn off the heat, and add a splash of sesame oil.
As I said you can make this with any combination of veggies you want. Youc ould even do it with just kimchi and rice, no extras. The point is that making the dish is super easy, all you have to do is cheat.