“Kimchi fried rice, to me, is a taste of everyday love that feels as safe and comforting as a mother’s hug and as familiar as one’s mother tongue in the foreign city. It is also the dish I often think I’d like to share with my daughter one day, to feed her midnight hunger; standing quietly in my softly lit kitchen, hovering over the hob side by side, we would frivolously dig straight in for the scorched rice at the bottom of the pan, while frantically blowing our mouths to temper the heat (both temperature and chilli) as we both know, us Koreans like to eat our food steaming hot. [I sometimes wonder, as ordinary as it seems, if something like kimchi fried rice is what she might reach out for when she misses her home, and become the bridge that enables her to preserve her Koreanness.] I use spicy Calabrian cured pork spread, nduja, here, which quite conveniently allows me to scoop it straight from the pack without fuss. Melted into softly fried kimchi, within minutes it unleashes the heat, and the buttery texture of nduja really mellows into the soured kimchi to bring lip-smacking unctuousness. I like to use a skillet or frying pan (skillet) instead of a wok to yield the wonderfully crispy scorched rice that crusts at the bottom of the pan. Top with a crispy olive oil fried egg with an oozy golden yolk, it becomes the binder and relief that offset spiciness. Eat it straight from the pan. ”
Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. Add the kimchi and sugar and sauté for 3 minutes to soften the kimchi. Stir in the ’nduja and mirin and cook for 1 minute to incorporate. Stir in the rice followed by the soy sauce, gochujang, oyster sauce and black pepper. Continue frying for 3–5 minutes.
Reduce the heat and, using the back of a spatula or a large wooden spoon, spread the rice thinly and evenly around the pan, while pressing down quite firmly. Let it sit over a low heat for 3 minutes without disturbing the pan to form a light crust. Remove the pan from the heat after 3 minutes. Let it sit for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, to fry the eggs, heat the olive oil in a frying pan for a couple of minutes over a medium heat. You want the oil to get nice and hot but not smoking, so that when you crack the eggs in they sizzle. Crack the eggs in, ensuring they are not too close together. Let them fry for 2 minutes without touching. After 2 minutes, tilt the pan slightly away from you to pool the oil and carefully baste around any whites that still appear raw. Keep the yolk nice and runny. You should have perfectly fried eggs with a crispy edge. Remove from the heat.
Serve the rice immediately, topped with the eggs and crumbled seaweed and drizzled with the sesame oil. Eat straight from the pan to scrape off the caramelized rice at the bottom.