I can’t say that I have a lot of fond memories eating bokkeumbap as a kid simply because my parents (more like my father) liked his rice freshly cooked and leftover rice was few and far between. However, now that I’ve settled in Korea with friends who have little ones, bokkeumbap is a regular weeknight meal since it’s convenient, fairly healthy, kid-friendly, and always satisfying (when done the right way). Well, here’s another winning recipe that won’t disappoint, especially since it has Korea’s favorite, most-consumed protein: pork belly.
As with most fried rice recipes I make these days, I scour the fridge trying to use up any ingredients that are about to go bad (mostly vegetables and greens) to limit any waste; this particular batch included bell peppers, onion, and potatoes. I had some leftover pork belly to work with (previous day BBQ session) that provided some much-needed protein and a nice texture (cooked them to a crisp). More importantly, the lone kid in the house—who just happens to be one helluva picky eater and my greatest critic—really enjoyed it, meaning that I’m destined for great things in the f&b sector if I choose to do so. Seriously though, he keeps me on my toes when making this weekly dish and likes to remind me verbatim, “Why’s there so much vegetables?” lol. Kid or no kid, don’t hesitate to use or mix-n-match ingredients to your liking because there’s no such thing as bad fried rice, at least in my book.
Want a more traditional Korean recipe? Try out this classic version of kimchi fried rice.
“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” ~ Anna Thomas
- 4 cups cooked rice (refrigerated or cooled before use)
- 1 lb. pork belly, thinly cut
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 3, 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 green onions, finely diced
- 4 beaten eggs, scrambled or sunny side
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp sugar
- salt n pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp butter (optional)
- 1 tbsp ketchup (optional)
- 2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
- After washing the vegetables, dice accordingly into bite-size pieces; set aside.
- (Optional) Rub the pork belly with salt n pepper on both sides; let sit for 15 minutes. Cut into small pieces and saute on non-stick pan until slightly golden brown; do not use any oil as pork belly contains plenty of natural fatty oil. Add minced garlic halfway through to provide aromatics.
- Add all of the vegetables and sauce ingredients. Fry for about 5 minutes on medium-high, adding necessary olive oil to add separation of ingredients.
- Lastly, combine rice and thoroughly mix together. Sample and adjust taste accordingly.
- In a separate pan coated with olive oil, make scrambled or sunny side up eggs.
- Transfer the fried rice and eggs to a serving plate, serve warm immediately.
Note: All recipes, or more specifically seasoning and spice measurements, contained in MYKOREANEATS are approximations. Growing up in an old-school Korean kitchen where everything was measured by hand, there was a strict but important rule called “son-maat” (손맛), literally meaning “taste from one’s hand.” My mom would swear by this and always cooked all the dishes using her raw cooking instincts to provide comfort food at its best. This concept of “son-maat” is pretty important in Korean cooking, so I’ve always wanted to keep that tradition alive even with the blog. Another aspect that I love about “son-maat” is the idea of putting one’s signature or stamp on a dish. What makes your food taste like yours, not like anyone else’s, is literally and figuratively the “taste of one’s hands.” As a side note, most Korean dishes like stews, stir fries, and banchan (side dishes) are cooked to taste, meaning that the addition of extra spices is, more often than not, added during the cooking process itself. In that sense, don’t fuss and worry about exact measurements, but rather focus on developing your own “son-maat.”