A spicy, scrumptious meal that comes together in one skillet in under 30 minutes! This vegan kimchi fried-rice features crispy tofu, bok choy, and flavor that will knock your socks off!
I finally acquired a tofu press. Resistant as I was to using one of these things, it definitely has some advantages. No more law school text book avalanches in the kitchen, for one. Hasn’t happened one since I started using the press! It also presses a ton of water out of the tofu, which I’m thinking will be really good for marinating tofu. I haven’t tried that yet but I’ll keep you posted.
I’ve had great success using pressed tofu in recipes where it gets pan-fried. Tofu steaks and stir-fries are perfect dishes for incorporating crispy little pan-fried tofu cubes. Oh, and lets not forget fried rice!
When it comes to fried rice, kimchi fried rice is where it’s at.
Let’s talk about kimchi a bit, shall we? Spicy, Korean fermented cabbage and veggies. If you love both spicy and sour, fermented foods you’re going to be all about kimchi.
Kimchi is available at lots of regular supermarkets these days and at most Asian markets. Be careful though: lots of varieties aren’t vegan (they might have fish sauce, shrimp paste…that kind of thing), so check the ingredients list. Mother In Law’s makes a vegan variety that’s nice and spicy and carried by my local supermarket.
The first step to making this kimchi fried rice is pan frying the tofu. Cooking the tofu separately from everything else ensures maximum contact with the pan and minimum moisture from other ingredients, so it gets nice and crispy.
Then the tofu comes out of the skillet, and the rice, kimchi and seasonings get cooked up over high heat, super quickly.
Bok choy gets added near the end, so it has just enough time to wilt, and then the tofu goes back into the skillet and gets tossed with everything else.
Your fried rice will be crispy, delicious, and packed with flavor (thanks to kimchi being super flavorful).
Tips for Making Amazing Kimchi Fried Rice…
- Use leftover rice, straight from the refrigerator! This way the rice will be just a bit dried out, allowing it to crisp up really nicely when you cook it.
- This recipe works best with kimchi that’s been hanging around for at least a couple of weeks. Kimchi continues to ferment as it sits in the fridge, making it more sour over time. More sour = more flavor.
- Check the international section of your supermarket for gochujang. If you can’t find it there, try Amazon or an Asian market.
Kimchi Fried Rice with Bok Choy and Tofu
- 2 tablespoons gochujang, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, omit or decrease the amount if your kimchi is very sour
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups vegan kimchi, chopped
- 4 cups cooked rice, preferably at least a day old, chilled in the refrigerator
- 1 small bunch bok choy chopped
- 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Sesame seeds, for sprinkling
Whisk the gochujang, rice vinegar and soy sauce or tamari together in small bowl, set aside.
Coat a large flat-bottomed skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil and place it over medium heat. Add the tofu cubes and cook until browned on bottoms, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook about 5 minutes more. Remove from skillet and transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining oil to the skillet and raise the heat to medium-high. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté until the onion in slightly softened, about 2 minutes.
Add the kimchi and sauté 2 minutes more.
Raise the heat to high and add the rice and gochujang mixture. Cook, flipping frequently, until rice begins to crisp spots, about 5-7 minutes. Add the bok choy to the skillet. Cook about 1 minute more, flipping to incorporate the bok choy, just until wilted. Add in tofu and scallions. Flip to incorporate and remove from heat.
Add the in tofu and scallions to the skillet. Flip a few times to incorporate and remove from heat.
Divide among plates or bowls and top with sesame seeds. Serve.