Kimchi fried rice with spam is a delicious way to use up leftover ripe kimchi and day old rice. Add fried spam and a fried egg to take this to another level!
Kimchi fried rice with spam is a comforting Korean dish made with ripe kimchi, leftover rice, and spam. It’s a quick and easy Korean meal that’s a favorite in Korean households.
Does Kimchi Go With Spam?
Spam pairs well with the spices and flavors of kimchi because they complement each other. They’re both salty, strongly flavored, and the brightness from the kimchi cuts through the fattiness of the spam.
Spam is surprisingly popular in South Korea because it’s a relic from the US military presence during the Korean war. As a result, spam made its way into several Korean dishes and kimchi fried rice with spam (called kimchi bokkeumbap) is just one example of this.
Adding gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) adds a subtle sweetness that balances perfectly with the salty bites of spam. Top it off with a sunny side up egg and let the runny yolk add richness to this dish!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- It’s a great way to use up leftover ripe kimchi and day old rice.
- It’s versatile enough to add in other veggies and protein.
- There’s a perfect balance of flavors – salty, sweet, sour, umami. Cooking the ripe kimchi mellows out some of the sourness you get from the fermentation without losing its flavor.
- If you like spicy, this is your dish. Add extra Korean red pepper flakes or gochujang to kick up the heat!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Step by Step Instructions
- Fry the spam until it’s brown and crispy. This helps render out the fat and flavor the oil. Remove it from the pan and set it aside.
- Add in the chopped kimchi, gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), and the Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru). Stir fry it together for a few minutes.
- Add in the cold, day old rice and break apart any clumps with the flat side of your spatula or spoon.
- Make sure each grain of rice is separated and coated in the kimchi and oil. This step is crucial for making a good kimchi fried rice since you want each grain of rice seasoned.
- Next, add the fried spam back into the pan and add in the kimchi juice and sesame oil. Adding the kimchi juice at this step adds a bit of brightness and fresh kimchi flavor back into the fried rice.
- At this point, taste the kimchi fried rice and see if it the flavors are balanced. If your kimchi was very ripe, it may be too sour. If that’s the case, add a bit of sugar to balance it out. If your kimchi was very mild, it may need more gochujang or a drizzle of soy sauce.
- After adjusting for taste, sprinkle on sesame seeds and chopped scallions. Top with a sunny side up egg for extra protein.
Expert Tips & Tricks
- Since all kimchi varies in seasoning and spice, give your kimchi a taste to see how sour, spicy, salty it is.
- If the kimchi is too mild, add in minced garlic, ginger, and chopped onions. You can also increase the amount of Korean red pepper flakes and gochujang.
- If your kimchi is too sour, you can either balance out the flavor by adding in a bit of sugar or you can rinse your kimchi under water to remove some of the juice.
- Crisp up the spam – it flavors the oil and creates a nice crust on the spam.
- Use ripe kimchi – it adds more umami flavor to this dish. The sourness from the fermentation will mellow out from the cooking process.
- Use cold, leftover rice – day old rice is preferred when making fried rice because the grains separate easily. Avoid using warm rice since it’s very easy to mash the grains of rice together.
- Separate and coat each grain of rice with the oil and kimchi. This is the key to making a good kimchi fried rice. You want to flavor each grain of rice so that every mouthful is seasoned properly.
Ingredient Substitutions & Variations
- Instead of spam, you can substitute with chicken, bacon, ham, shrimp or even ground meat. If you’re using ground meat, try marinating it in equal parts soy sauce and sugar for extra flavor!
- Additional veggies: green peas, corn, or carrots. Frozen veggies work great.
- If you don’t have gochujang, you can either leave it out or substitute it with sriracha and a half teaspoon of sugar since gochujang is a sweet and spicy red pepper paste.
Storing & Reheating Leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can reheat it in the microwave for about a minute. You can also freeze it for up to one month.
- Serve with a sunny side up egg and mix the runny yolk into the rice.
- Optional: sprinkle on some crushed toasted seaweed for more umami flavor
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s a balance between spicy, salty, slightly sour from the fermented kimchi, and tons of umami flavor. The gochujang adds a bit of sweetness and extra spice to this dish.
Although ripe kimchi can be sour, cooking it in fried rice mellows out the flavor and creates a delicious umami flavor.
Yes! I know a lot of Korean people that actually prefer it without gochujang. You can either leave it out or you can substitute it with extra kimchi juice or replace it with sriracha and a pinch of sugar since gochujang is a sweet and spicy red pepper paste.
Yes! You can keep it in the freezer for up to one month. Store it in a freezer safe container and cover the surface with plastic wrap before closing the lid. This prevents freezer burn and keeps your dish tasting fresh.
More Fried Rice Recipes to Try:
More Korean Recipes:
Kimchi Fried Rice with Spam
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 cups ripe kimchi drained and chopped into bite size pieces
- 3 Tablespoons kimchi juice
- 8 oz spam cut into ½ to 1 inch cubes; 8oz is about ⅔ of a tin of spam
- 3 cups cooked rice it's best to use leftover cold rice
- 1 teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes
- 1 Tablespoon gochujang – Korean red pepper paste
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 stalks scallions chopped; for garnish
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar optional
- 4 large eggs optional – cooked sunny side up
- Heat a pan over medium high heat and add about a tablespoon of the oil and the cubed spam. Fry the spam until it's browned and crispy on one side and them flip it over and brown the other side. This should take about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove it from the pan and set it aside.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the kimchi, gochujang, and Korean red pepper flakes. Stir fry it together for about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the day old rice to the pan and break up any large clumps of rice by pressing down with the flat side of your spatula or spoon. Keep stirring together to make sure each grain of rice is coated with the kimchi and oil.
- Add the spam back into the pan along with the kimchi juice and sesame oil. Stir fry everything together. Give it a taste at this point to see if the flavors are balanced. If your kimchi is very ripe, it may be too sour and may need a bit of sugar to balance out the flavors. Add ½ teaspoon of sugar if needed and taste again. Otherwise, leave out the sugar (see notes below for additional information). Remove from the heat and portion out the servings.
- Optional: Top with a sunny side up egg and garnish with chopped scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
- If your kimchi is very fermented and sour – you can balance out the flavor by adding a bit of sugar to the fried rice. Or you can rinse your kimchi under water to remove some of the juice. You can also skip adding the kimchi juice if you prefer and substitute with soy sauce if it needs extra seasoning.
- If your kimchi is mild and lightly seasoned, add in minced garlic, ginger, and chopped onions. These are all ingredients in making kimchi so add as much as you prefer. You may also need to add more gochujang and Korean red pepper flakes to give it more spice.
- If you don’t have gochujang, you can either skip it or substitute it with the following: extra kimchi juice OR sriracha sauce with a pinch of sugar since gochujang is sweet and spicy.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days or keep it in the freezer for up to one month.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.