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Kimchi Fried Everything

November 6, 2018

Today is the day. If you haven’t voted yet, stop reading, put down the device, and get to your polling place. Now. Do it. The blog will be here when you return.

No matter what happens today, the next few days are going to require some self care and lots of comfort. For everybody. On both sides of the aisle. My plan tonight is to meet with a new Yelp friend over drinks and not speak one word about politics. Instead, we’ll talk about some of our favorite local businesses, and ways in which we can have more fun.

But there will be drinks. And that will be good.

We’ll be talking more about comfort food in the days and weeks ahead, because what is Thanksgiving if not a festival of comfort food. However, just yesterday we were talking about the amazing gifts immigrants have brought to the people of the United States. One of my current comfort foods is actually Korean, and that’s “Kimchi Fried Everything”.

Back in the day I was a big fan of “Buffalo Everything”. There is very little that isn’t improved with a combination of Frank’s Red Hot and butter. I’d throw that orange emulsified sauce on pasta, tater tots, and even vegetables, long before it was cool to do such a thing.

For what it’s worth, I’ll still get a hankering for “Buffalo Anything” around the Super Bowl. So most likely I’ll make a batch and suck down a stick or two of butter before the game is through.

However, lately it has taken a seat for something I consider a good bit healthier.

When I discovered how easy it was to make kimchi fried rice at home, it was a bit of a revelation. The basics are heating up a pan with peanut oil; throwing in an onion, a couple cloves of garlic, rice, kimchi, and gochujang; and finishing the dish with some toasted sesame oil, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, and a fried egg.

This is a great way to use up leftover rice. It didn’t take me too long to discover it can also be used on leftover pasta. How about potatoes? You bet!

And now, instead of pouring a spiced butter sauce all over my leftovers, I’m smothering them with fermented cabbage, sautéed onions, cloves of garlic, and red pepper paste. That’s a lot of vegetables there. Plus it still satisfies the desire for something hot and spicy.

Last night I tried the method on the leftover rice cakes with pork and capsella from Hu’s House, and the results were delightful. Does that count as Asian fusion?

The only reason I’m able to make this is because we have some fantastic Asian markets here in the Capital Region. That allows me to stay well stocked in half gallon jugs of kimchi and jars of Korean red pepper paste.

The kimchi isn’t quite as good as what’s made in house at Sunhee’s in Troy. Which is not only another immigrant owned and operated business, but also offers services to immigrants and refugees. I’m thankful to Jinah Kim and her family for what they are doing in our community.

I’m also thankful that Mrs. Fussy leaves the house sometimes, so I can make kimchi fried anything. She hates the smell of the stuff, and I can only make it when she’s gone. Presumably, this is similar to the struggle that Korean kids felt growing up in American when their family foodstuffs were snubbed by their classmates.

Although the feelings are not all that dissimilar to those who enjoy the occasional tuna fish sandwich at the office, or who are compelled to reheat a leftover fish dinner in the workplace.

Intense smells and the public consumption of food may make for a good blog topic for another day. But right now, I’ve got to get out and vote myself. If you ignored my instructions at the beginning of today’s post, then I’ll tell you again, put down the device and go vote. Now.

Or, at the very least, make sure going out to vote is on your calendar for later today before the polls close. It’s better to vote early to avoid the final crush of humanity at the end of the day. And don’t forget to bring an umbrella, because it could be wet out there.

Whatever happens, the world will keep turning tomorrow. And I’ll be back with more tales of food and thanks.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2018 11:02 am

    Our kids went to a Korean immersion school and all their classmates had kimchi in their lunchboxes every day. Pretty soon, our kids did too.

  2. November 9, 2018 4:46 pm

    Kimchi fried rice is pretty much my favorite. My dude detests it – when he was out of town earlier this year, I made it for myself every single night.

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