Yesterday was one of those days when I really did not feel like cooking anything but still wanted to have something good to eat for lunch. And then it hit me…Kimchimari. I almost forgot how great this is! I LOVE how easy this is to make and how light and refreshing it is. I used to make this all the time when I lived in Korea. And thus, this now inspired me to name my blog domain – Kimchimari.com!
Now, if you don’t have any friends or family who came from North Korea during the Korean war, you probably have not heard of this dish before. Kimchimari is very uniquely North Korean, similar to Naengmyun(냉면) or Bossam Kimchi(보쌈김치). And unlike the latter dishes, very few restaurants serve Kimchimari. I think I have rarely seen it in menus in all the restaurants I have visited in Seoul.
Because both sides of my family are originally from North Korea (both my parents escaped separately to South Korea during the war and met up again afterwards-talk about destiny..), I grew up eating many North Korean dishes such as the ones above. As a kid, I often had sleep overs at my cousins home and my aunt made Kimchimari for us as a night time snack! When I first saw it, I thought they were crazy – eating a full rice meal as a snack. But once I tasted it, I could not stop eating it. Kimchimari is especially refreshing and delicious when it is made with ice cold Kimjang kimchi(김장김치) during the winter months. But not many of us have that luxury so just use the best quality, well fermented kimchi you can get and it will still be good.
The word ‘mari(말이)’ comes from the verb ‘malda(말다)’ which refers to the act of adding and mixing rice in a broth or soup. So, Kimchimari by definition is rice mixed into kimchi soup. However, the version I introduce here is a dry version without the soup. I am not sure why my family made this version without the soup but I actually prefer this version when rice is used because it’s kind of hard to find the rice once they are swimming in the soup! So I guess this recipe is a unique family recipe.
Servings: 1 Prep Time: 5 min Difficulty: very easy
- 1 C cooked rice
- 1/3 C sliced baechu(napa cabbage) kimchi
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- sprinkling of sesame seeds
1. Measure about 1 C of cooked rice. Room temperature rice works best. Use leftover, old rice if you have any. If using freshly cooked rice, let it cool and come to room temperature.
2. Slice baechu(napa cabbage) kimchi into bite sizes pieces (about 1/3 in wide). Measure about 1/3 C. Use more if you want it to be more flavorful and spicy.
3. Add kimchi, sesame oil, sugar and sesame seeds to rice. Mix everything together with a spoon.
4. That’s it! Taste it and adjust sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds. My mouth is watering just looking at these pictures…
- Substitute or add radish or other kind of kimchi to vary the flavor
- Add some kimchi juice or dongchimi 동치미 juice to the rice if you want to make it moist. If you are making it very soupy, add some ice to make it extra crispy and zingy.
Kimchimari Guksoo (김치말이 국수) is a cold kimchi noodle soup that is similar to the soupy rice version. This is easier to find at restaurants than the rice dish.