I have a bit of a confession to make. I’m not very good at eating fermented foods. It’s a bit hypocritical because I like to tell people how good it is, and I like making it. But the jar of sauerkraut or kimchi tend to languish in the back of the fridge, making me feel guilty every time I open the fridge to get something else out. I’m not sure what it is, perhaps it’s because we’re only just coming out of winter and the idea of eating raw sauerkraut doesn’t appeal at all. Plus it’s sour, and I’m not brilliant with sour flavours.
So I was really pleased when I hit upon the idea of making a kimchi fried cauliflower rice because it meant I could finally use up the kimchi we’d made at the Natural Chef course back in October that had been sitting in the back on the fridge, and it ended up being a really tasty use for it. Obviously no recipe is entirely original and it turns out that kimchi fried rice is an actual thing in Korea. According to my research, Koreans tend to make kimchi fried rice with slightly old and sour kimchi…the sort that languishes in the back of the fridge. It’s a really easy way to make a quick stir-fry because all the chopping is done for you, and it’s fast to cook because the fermented vegetables are already soft from the fermenting. In fact the most effort involved here is grating the cauliflower!
It goes without saying, perhaps, that the best way to consume fermented vegetables is raw as, according to Sandor Katz, godfather of fermenting, cooking destroys the bacteria that is so beneficial. However, it’s an excellent way to get used to the idea of eating fermented vegetables and helps to use up any over-soured ferments.
The recipe for the beef takes inspiration from a bulgogi recipe that appears in the new Fitter Food book, although I’ve simplified the ingredients since this dish is a part of a larger meal. You could just fry up the marinated beef before adding the vegetables and make it a one pot meal, but by cooking it separately you give the beef a chance to catch and caramelise slightly, which makes it really tasty. Topped with a runny fried egg and garnished with sesame seeds, this is a quick, tasty dinner.
Ingredients. Serves 4.
For the beef:
- 450g beef mince
- 3 tbsp. coconut aminos (or tamari)
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ tbsp. ground pepper
- ½ tsp. sesame oil
- 4 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. coconut oil, ghee or duck fat
For the kimchi fried cauliflower rice:
- 1 small cauliflower
- 4 shallots
- Large handful of greens (kale, spring greens, spinach or pak choy)
- 5 tbsp. (200g) kimchi, drained
- 1 tsp. coconut oil, ghee or duck fat
- Four eggs
- 3 tsp. coconut oil, ghee or duck fat
- Toasted sesame seeds or furikake
Method. Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes
- Place all the ingredients for the beef into a large bowl and mix well; set aside to marinate while you prepare the fried cauliflower rice ingredients.
- If using a food processor, break up the cauliflower into florets. Grate or process the cauliflower until it resembles rice.
- Thinly slice the shallots and the greens.
- Cook the beef: melt the fat in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add the beef and allow to cook, stirring often. When the meat is no longer pink and the liquid has evaporated, turn the heat low and allow to continue cooking, stirring now and then.
- For the kimchi fried cauliflower rice: melt the fat in a wok on a medium-high heat. When hot, add the sliced shallots. Stir until beginning to soften, then add the cauliflower. Continue to stir, and after three minutes add the sliced greens; mix well again. Add the kimchi and stir-fry until vegetables are cooked. Dish out and keep warm. Wipe the wok clean with some kitchen paper.
- Turn the heat up to high under the bulgogi for the last five minutes to allow the beef to catch a little and become sticky. While this is happening, fry the eggs: melt another teaspoon of fat in the wok; when hot break in the four eggs and fry until the white is fully cooked but the yolk is still runny.
- Serve the kimchi cauliflower rice in deep bowls, topped with the beef bulgogi, a fried egg each and a sprinkle of sesame seeds or furikake.