Kimchi fried rice doesn’t need a weeknight makeover – it’s already so easy. But this oven method maximizes the surface area of the dish by using a sheet pan, increasing the potential for that coveted nurungji, or scorched rice. By baking this dish, you can start with fresh rice (no need for day-old), as the dry oven heat draws out the moisture from the moist grains and turns them crispy-chewy, plus the only active cooking required here is stirring together the ingredients. The oven handles the rest, which means no actual stir-frying. Eggs cracked on top, gently baked to silky perfection, are a necessary finish, as the runny yolks sauce the gochugaru-stained rice.
4 to 6 servings
PREP: 45 MINS + rice cooking time
2 cups uncooked medium-grain white rice
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
¼ cup gochujang
¼ cup napa cabbage kimchi juice, plus 16 ounces kimchi, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 large onion, cut into medium dice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter. cut into small pieces
20 grams gim (often labeled as roasted seaweed), crushed
6 large eggs
Place the rice in a sieve and rinse it under cold running water, shaking constantly, just a few seconds. Add the rinsed rice and 2 cups cold water to a rice cooker or medium pot and soak for 10 minutes. If using a rice cooker, turn it on and cook rice until soft and fluffy. If using a pot, bring the water to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to very low, cover and continue simmering, without peeking, for 20 minutes; remove the pot from the heat and let the rice finish steaming, still covered, until the grains are soft, distended and a little shiny, about 10 minutes. Uncover your cooked rice, fluff with a fork and set aside.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, gochujang, kimchi juice, soy sauce and sugar. Season generously with salt, then stir in the chopped kimchi and onion. Add the cooked rice, butter and seaweed and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt.
Transfer the rice mixture to a large rimmed sheet pan and spread out looselv. Bake until the top of the rice is crispy and chewy but not burned, 25 to 30 minutes, opening the oven door halfway through (to check on it but also, to let excess moisture out during the cooking).
Remove the pan from the oven. Using a spoon, create 6 shallow depressions in the rice. Crack the eggs into the depressions and place the pan back in the oven until the egg whites have just set, 3 to 6 minutes. Serve immediately, while the eggs are still runny.