I have been jealous of gochujang, Korean chili pepper paste, since I was first introduced to Korean cuisine four years ago. Korean food cooked with Gochujang, whether the gochujang is homemade or store bought, is pretty similar. There is a unifying color, texture and taste that tells you that what you are eating is distinctly Korean. It is also incredibly easy to use gochujang since it is ready when you take it out of the package—plus, it has a very long shelf life.
Mexican cuisine, on the other hand, has dozens of peppers and salsa varieties. Salsas range from more tomato-based—fresher salsas, that you might use to top tacos or to bathe enchiladas—to thicker, paste-like moles . There is no one sauce that all Mexicans would taste and deem distinctly Mexican. I’ve been enthralled by the idea of creating some sort of standard Mexican chili paste that I can use as a soup base and marinade, much like gochujang.
A few months ago I made sopa de res and used roasted and pureed red peppers to give the sopa its dark red hue and taste. I had some chile sauce left over and naturally, I had to think of some creative ways to use it up. I tried many things (which will be shared with you in the next few weeks in a separate post), but my favorite recipe was the recipe that I am sharing today: Mexican Fried Rice.
Before I get ahead of myself, I have to confess that I love kimchi. Since first being introduced to Kimchi by my now in-laws, I loved its crunch, spice and fermented taste. When I found out that kimchi was also one of the healthiest foods out there, I began to consume it even more frequently and joyfully.
John and I definitely cook in seasons; there are months when we have a giant tub of kimchi in the fridge and our diet consists of jiggaes, fried rice, and kogi. Other months, there’s a homemade batch of salsa and beans in the fridge and we eat mostly Mexican food, and still other, sadder months, we eat mostly pasta and salads (our current season). Those in-between seasons when I have both Kimchi and leftover Mexican salsa are where the best inventions happen. This Five Chile Kimchi fried rice is one of them.
The first time I made this rice I had some leftover Mexican rice, kimchi and hot dogs in the fridge. Although I was wary of using Mexican rice in a fried rice recipe since it was already seasoned and fried, I did it anyway, cutting oil from my normal fried rice recipe. I was amazed by the result. Since then, Mexican fried rice has become a staple in our home. I love this particular iteration because the kimchi makes the recipe extra tangy and moist.
Once you have some leftover white rice (short or long grain will work) the recipe takes under 20 minutes to pull together. Enjoy!
Five Chiles Kimchi Fried Rice
Yields: 6 servings
Total Time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup of diced hot dog/spam
- 1 cup kimichi, diced
- 1 cup of mushrooms, cut
- ½ cup of corn
- 1 cup of scallions, sliced finely
- 3 cups cooked white rice
- ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil
- ½ tablespoon of sesame oil
- ½ table soy sauce
- Pinch of salt (if needed)
- 4 tablespoons of five chile paste (recipe found below)
- Finely sliced scallion, for garnish
- Seaweed for serving
- Soft boiled eggs
- In a skillet, bring ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil to medium heat. Cook meat for about 5 minutes or until fully cooked.
- Once meat is cooked, add mushrooms and kimchi.
- When mushrooms are fully cooked, add rice along with soy sauce, five chiles paste, and corn. Mix thoroughly and taste; if needed, add salt. Allow rice to cook for about 5 minutes.
- Right before turning off the flame, add sesame oil and give one last stir. Top with scallion slices and soft-boiled eggs, if desired.
Five Chiles Paste
Total Time: 15 mins
- 2 pasilla peppers
- 2 chile anchos
- 1 chile guajillo
- 2 chiles de arbol
- 3 chiles morita
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- 1/3 cup of water
- Remove stems and seeds from peppers and Toast on a skillet until soft and fragrant, being careful not to burn them.
- While peppers are toasting, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Once peppers are toasty and fragrant add them to pot making sure that they are fully submerged. Boil until peppers begin to fall apart.
- Blend rehydrated peppers, tomato sauce, 1/3 cup of water from boiling peppers, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon dry onion flakes, 1 teaspoon garlic powder for about 1 minute or until uniform.
- Put sauce on everything and enjoy!