The 5-2 Challenge. Exploring New Food Trends. Kimchi and Korean Style Fried Rice With Egg Omelette.

Kimchi Fried Rice

Today’s 5-2 challenge focus? Transforming simple meals into something amazing by introducing new flavours.  One of the hottest new food trends of the year is kimchi. A traditional Korean fermented pickle that’s crunchy, sour, sweet, salty and spicy. Its flavour is complex and definitely has umami. That elusive fifth taste. Utterly delicious and more than a little addictive. Conventionally made with cabbage, carrot and green onion. Salted. Brined.  Combined. With with the holy trinity of chilli, garlic and ginger. And a dash of fish sauce for good measure. Traditionally aged underground in earthenware jars.

Kimchi is often referred to as Korea’s national dish and is served with almost every meal. It can be served on its own as a condiment or side salad, but it is also used extensively to flavour  a variety of dishes;  fried rice, stir-fry, noodles, sandwiches and even pizza. Here in Australia kimchi is readily available at good Asian grocers, but is not that difficult to make.

With a whole head of cabbage in my refrigerator courtesy of my father’s winter garden I thought I’d give making it a go. Googling kimchi I came across a rather quick and simple recipe at My recipe is loosely based on this taking into account what was on hand in my pantry this morning. Most kimchi recipes incorporate gochujang, a Korean style fermented chilli paste, or red pepper flakes. Both of which I am sure are also available at a good Asian grocer. Of course neither of these ingredients are staples in my pantry. So more improvisation was the order of the day, and  have included my cobbled together recipe for a substitute hot chilli paste.

Notwithstanding the liberties I have taken in producing my  first ever batch of kimchi, the result was sensational and received a big tick of approval from my appreciative family. I used the kimchi in a simple Korean styled fried rice dish with egg omelette.    Delicious. Satisfying. A real fast day treat.

Here is my day on a plate, The chicken breast was an unintended extra. I’d roasted a free range chicken to round out my family’s meal. Once carved I couldn’t resist sampling a slice. Or two. Thankfully this time it didn’t take me over the daily 500 calorie limit. And as an aside. I use basmati rice as it has a lower calorie count than other varieties.

1 Cup of Tea
Skim Cappuccino
Mid Afternoon
2 Cups of Tea
1 Serving Kimchi Fried Rice
50 grams Roast Chicken Breast
1 Cup of Tea With Sugar
Total Calories


Kimchi Fried Rice With Egg Omelette.
Makes 6 generous servings (324 calories per serve)

2 tablespoons  sesame oil (240 calories)
4 eggs, lightly beaten (300 calories)
5 cups cold, cooked basmati rice (900 calories)
3 cups kimchi, chopped (with its juices) (390 calories) (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean fermented chilli paste) or hot chilli paste substitute (35 calories)(recipe follows)
4 long green spring  onions, thinly sliced, plus 1 long green spring onion sliced on the diagonal as garnish (75 calories)

HEAT  oil into a wok or large sauté pan, over medium heat.
POUR egg into the pan and gently but quickly cook, stir to break apart into large pieces.
ADD rice. Sauté for a further 3 – 5 minutes or until rice is warmed through.
ADD  prepared kimchi, its juices and the gochujang or chilli paste to the pan.
STIR together until all the rice has been well coated, about 3 to 4 minutes.
STIR in the spring onions and and remove from heat. Season to taste.
SPOON into warm serving bowls. Garnish with the remaining spring onions.

Hot Chilli Paste: A Substitute for Gochujang (Korean Style Fermented Chilli Paste)

Makes approximately 3 tablespoons; use 2 tablespoons for kimchi and remaining tablespoon for the fried rice. (35 calories per tablespoon)

3 (about 80g) fresh long red chili peppers (trimmed of stems, seeded if desired) (54 calories)
1 tablespoon sugar (45 calories)
1 tablespoon  fish sauce (6 calories)
1/2 tablespoon sea salt

PLACE long red chillies, sugar, fish sauce and one tablespoon sea salt into the bowl of a small food processor. Process until smooth. Season to taste.

Quick Korean Kimchi
(Loosely based on a recipe from

Makes about 4 cups (130 calories per cup)

1 small head cabbage (176 calories)
1/4 cup sea salt flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced (8 calories)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (120 calories)
4 tablespoons  rice wine vinegar (100 calories)
2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean style fermented chilli paste) or substitute homemade hot chilli paste (recipe follows) (70 calories)
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated (4 calories)
3 long green spring onions sliced (15 calories)
1 carrot, peeled and grated (25 calories)

REMOVE outer leaves from the cabbage, quarter and remove the core. Slice cabbage into 2cm chunks. Place in a colander, add sea salt and mix well. Cover and drain over a bowl until just wilted, about an hour.
RINSE wilted cabbage and combine with garlic and water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring once or twice, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain well and allow to cool.
WHISK together vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and two tablespoons of the chilli paste in a bowl.
ADD cabbage, spring onions and carrots. Toss well to combine. Season to taste. Cover with glad wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

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