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Low sodium kimchi fried rice

I've started making my own salt-free kimchi and after months in the refrigerator, it was perfect for fried rice. While fried rice is usually very salty, kimchi fried rice is the best tasting low sodium version I've tried. The strong flavor of the aged kimchi, sesame oil, and toasted seaweed add a lot of flavor and texture to this dish. I also add some of my homemade low sodium gochujang sauce.

If you don't want to make your own kimchi, see if you can find one that's relatively low in sodium that fits into your diet because a little goes a long way. Or try adding salt-free pickles to egg fried rice. I haven't tried that but one of my favorite comfort foods as a kid was fried rice and pickles, so I think it would work!

Servings: 4 Sodium: 40 mg (without the egg), or 110 mg (with an egg)

Time: 30 minutes


4 cups cooked rice

1 and 1/2 cups kimchi, drained and chopped

1-3 tablespoons of kimchi liquid

1/2 pound ground pork

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced shallots

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 sheets of roasted seaweed, cut small

3 stalks of green onions, sliced thin

Sesame seeds for topping

Up to 4 eggs (optional)

A note on ingredients:

-Rice: I use medium grain white rice but any rice is fine. Fried rice is often made with day old rice but I use fresh rice all the time. It just needs to be dry. So if you're using fresh rice, the first thing to do is scoop it out into a large bowl and let it dry out for at least half an hour. Here's an interesting Serious Eats article by J. Kenji Lopez Alt about using different types of rice for fried rice.

-The amount of kimchi liquid will depend on how dry your rice is. Add it 1 tablespoon at a time and see if you need more. When you measure out the kimchi liquid, make sure to stir it up if the pepper flakes are sitting at the bottom of the jar.

-Use kimchi that's been sitting for awhile so it's really sour. When you measure it, really pack it into your measuring cup and reserve the liquid, then chop it up into about 1/2 inch pieces.

-Fatty pork tastes the best, I usually opt for 20% fat but any kind will do. You could also use any other kind of meat or protein or leave it out entirely. If you don't want to add the fried egg on top, try an egg omelet cut into thin strips.

-Roasted seaweed often has salt added. One low sodium brand I really like is gimMe (pictured below) available at Sprouts and Whole Foods and just 5 mg sodium per sheet.

-Some optional ingredients I really like: 1/2 cup of corn, maybe a pinch of sugar, some gochujong (although I often serve that on top).

1) Prepare all the ingredients. The fried rice comes together quickly so have everything ready to go.

2) In a skillet or wok, brown 1/2 pound of ground pork on high. When I'm using pork with this much fat in it, I start it in a cold pan and let the fat render out. You won't need to add any additional oil this way. Once the pork is browned (about 3-4 minutes) set it aside in a bowl. If there's still a lot of oil left in the pan, pour that out separately also. Leave just enough oil to coat the pan.

3) Add the kimchi, shallots, and garlic and cook over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, until the kimchi is hot and the garlic and shallots are fragrant. Then add the sesame oil and rice and stir to break up the rice. Add the pork back to the pan and add the kimchi liquid, one tablespoon at a time. Cook for another few minutes until the rice is broken up and all the ingredients are mixed together. Then turn off the heat and add the seaweed and scallions. Sometimes I reserve just a handful of each for serving. Serve hot or top with a fried egg, some gochujang sauce, and some extra kimchi on the side.

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