Kimchi is hands down one of my favorite pickles. It’s delicious on its own, but it has many uses, making it much more than just a simple condiment. It’s this versatility that makes it special, and I love using it as an ingredient to boost the flavor of foods like tacos, pasta, and even baked beans.
This time around, I made a Kimchi Rice Sandwich. With buns made from rice and a filling made of stir-fry pork and kimchi, it’s a cool combo that’s as fun to eat as it is delicious. Getting rice to stick together enough to hold the kimchi in might sound like a feat of magic, but the trick here is to use Japanese short-grain rice (a.k.a. “sushi rice”). When pressed together the grains of rice stick to each other making a solid patty that can then be pan-fried to crisp the exterior, making it a bit like a rice-based tater tot.
A sweet and savory glaze adds a bit of flavor, and the buns are ready to be filled with the kimchi and pork. This is where the beauty of kimchi comes in: because it has so much flavor, there’s no need to add any additional seasoning to the pork, making it the world’s simplest stir-fry. If pork isn’t your thing, try using other proteins such as chicken, beef, or tofu. For something a bit more decadent, try putting a fried egg on top of the kimchi and pork.
As for the kimchi, a ripe kimchi works best as the tart taste balances out the richness of the meat, but if you don’t have time to let your kimchi mature, a fresh one accompanied with a squeeze of lemon juice will do the trick.
Kimchi Rice Sandwich
- 11.3 ounces cooked short-grain rice (sushi rice)
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon mirin
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
- 3.5 ounces pork (sliced as thinly as possible)
- 3.5 ounces kimchi
- 1 scallion (finely chopped)
- To make the rice "buns" line a 3 to 4-inch mold with plastic wrap and then press 1/4 of the rice into the mold, pressing down to make the rice hold together.
- Make the glaze for the rice by whisking together the soy sauce and mirin and get a brush ready to brush the rice.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil in a 12-inch frying pan and then add the rice patties. Fry on one side until the rice has browned.
- When the rice is browned on one side, flip and fry the other side. Use a pastry brush to glaze the rice.
- While the rice browns, heat a second small frying pan until hot. Add the vegetable oil and pork and fry until the pork is half cooked. Add the kimchi and stir-fry until the pork is fully cooked.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes
Yield: 2 sandwiches
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.