Rice bowls are incredibly delicious and healthy. Generally, they’re made by mixing rice, vegetables, and a tasty protein of your choice. Rice bowls are incredibly affordable, which cements them as an excellent meal prep option. Best of all, they can be made in as little as 30 minutes.
The benefits of eating rice bowls are only multiplied when you add kimchi. This fermented superfood adds considerable vitamins and probiotics to any meal and makes for a delicious pairing with rice bowls. This article will cover how to make your own amazing kimchi rice bowl in under 30 minutes.
Why You'll Love a Kimchi Rice Bowl
Kimchi is a delicious, fermented vegetable that is a staple of Korean cuisine. In fact, many people enjoy eating it every day. And with just a little prep work, we can make quick and easy kimchi rice bowls for meals on demand.
There are so many varieties of kimchi to choose from that you might need help wrapping your head around it. The massive flavor variety can make it easy to design your perfect meal. These rice bowls are super customizable, with tons of toppings and sauces to go alongside your kimchi of choice.
Kimchi is rich in vitamins and beneficial probiotics. Eating just a small portion of kimchi will refresh your system and benefit your gut bacteria. However you prepare your kimchi rice bowls, they will be a refreshing and filling meal. These rice bowls are perfect for boosting your performance and energy.
Not all kimchi has the same probiotic benefits. If you want to give your gut the best boost, preparing your own kimchi can be a fun way to do so. Aside from being incredibly healthy, homemade kimchi has the added benefit of flavoring it in any way you like.
Ingredients for a Kimchi Rice Bowl
There’s no correct way to prepare a kimchi rice bowl. Depending on what ingredients you use, the flavor can vary widely. You can add ingredients like honey or agave to make your rice bowl sweet or stir in a little bit of gochujang to add some delicious umami and spice.
You’ll need to start by choosing your rice. One cup of uncooked rice will usually make around three cups of cooked rice, so you can use two to three cups if you plan on meal-prepping. Half a cup of uncooked rice is usually sufficient for one generous single-serving portion.
You’ll also need to choose your kimchi. If you decide to go with a store-bought brand, research it thoroughly to ensure it offers the probiotic benefits you want. You should also read the ingredients label closely to check for ingredients like jeotgal (salted seafood), anchovy, dairy-derived lactic acid, fish sauce, or beef stock.
While still delicious and vitamin-rich, store-bought kimchi can sometimes lack probiotics. The pasteurization process in making it shelf-stable can sometimes kill the good bacteria in the kimchi. This is why we recommend making your own kimchi, if possible.
Next, you’ll need to pick a protein of choice. Tofu, seitan, chicken, beef, and egg are all excellent options, but you can use anything. We recommend seasoning your protein to add some extra flavor. Consider making chicken with a ginger and soy sauce marinade or even preparing a delicious batch of sweet and sour glazed tofu.
Fresh vegetables will add incredible freshness and crispness to your Korean rice bowl. Cucumbers are a great start. Bell pepper, bok choy, spinach, radishes, scallions, carrots, and bean sprouts are other great choices. We recommend cutting your vegetables thin with a mandoline or spiralizer to give them a light texture.
Lastly, you’ll need to decide how to season your rice bowl. Gochujang chili paste, sesame oil, olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sriracha are all great options. Determining what flavor profile you want your kimchi bowl's flavor profile before selecting seasonings and sauces is vital.
Steps to Make a Kimchi Rice Bowl
1. Prepare Your Ingredients
Quick preparation is an integral part of making your kimchi rice bowl. Set some water to boil and get your pans heating up. In the meantime, chop up your protein and vegetables. When fried, you can use a little bit of flour and oil to give protein like tofu a crispy exterior. Make sure to rinse your rice, too!
2. Cook Your Ingredients
Simultaneously cooking your ingredients is vital to making a kimchi rice bowl in under 30 minutes. Add your rice to the boiling water and cook it according to the packaging instructions. Steaming your vegetables and pan-frying your protein are two great prep methods, but feel free to cook the ingredients in any way you prefer. Consider seasoning your rice by pan-frying it with ingredients like sesame oil and soy sauce.
3. Warm Up Your Kimchi
Remove your kimchi from the fridge and allow it to warm up. We don’t recommend cooking the kimchi at temperatures above 115°F because it will kill the beneficial bacteria. Allowing it to sit out and warm up is the best option for retaining beneficial bacteria. If you’re in a hurry, you can heat the kimchi in a pan at a very low temperature.
4. Mix Your Ingredients
Before mixing your ingredients, do any finishing steps (like glazing your protein with sauce). Grab a bowl (or pan, if meal-prepping) and add your rice, vegetables, and protein into the pan. Gently stir to mix.
5. Season Your Rice Bowl
Finally, you need to season your rice bowl. You can’t forget to add your tangy kimchi to the top of the Korean rice bowl. Seasonings like soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce are great choices. You can also garnish your dish with vegetables like green onion.
No matter how you prepare it, a kimchi rice bowl will surely please. The easy preparation and versatile ingredient options make this dish a winner for many meal-prepping households. You won’t regret giving this recipe a try. The unique flavor of kimchi makes this dish unforgettable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Different Types of Rice for a Kimchi Rice Bowl?
Yes. White rice, jasmine rice, mixed rice, and brown rice are all great options for a kimchi rice bowl. If you like sticky rice, we recommend shopping for short-grain white rice. Quinoa is an excellent option to make your spicy kimchi rice bowl extra nutrient-packed.
Do I Need to Use a Specific Type of Kimchi?
You don’t have to use a particular type of kimchi. In fact, the possibilities are limitless if you decide to make your kimchi at home. We recommend being careful about what kind of kimchi you use if you avoid certain ingredients.
Can I Use Canned Kimchi?
You can use canned kimchi. As mentioned, pasteurized kimchi might lack some of the probiotic benefits of homemade kimchi. However, you’ll still enjoy all of the vitamins and delicious flavors that kimchi is known for.
How Can I Adjust the Spiciness Level of the Kimchi Rice Bowl?
You can adjust the spiciness of the kimchi rice bowl by choosing your seasonings and kimchi carefully. Kimchi is produced to varying degrees of spiciness. Making your kimchi carefully or selecting a particular brand will allow you to control the spiciness. You can use chili paste to make your kimchi rice bowl spicier.
Can I Make a Vegetarian or Vegan Version of the Kimchi Rice Bowl?
Making a vegan or vegetarian kimchi rice bowl is possible. Animal-derived toppings like meat or eggs are all optional. You should ensure your kimchi doesn’t contain any meat or animal products. As for the rice bowl itself, you can use ingredients like tofu or seitan to make the rice bowl filling and protein-packed.