In addition to traditional, authentic Korean recipes, I decided I should also share some modern recipes that have Korean flavors but not necessarily traditional and also non-Korean recipes that are worth blogging about. As long as they taste yummy, why not? Right? OK, so hope you will all follow me on this new journey of mine.
This recipe is great if you have no access to Kimchi but you are craving for the taste of it. As my siblings (3 sisters and 1 brother) all live spread out between Korea and US, we try to have family reunions every couple years so that we can be all together, even if it’s just for few days. It has actually been several years since our last reunion due to various reasons but when everyone comes, our group gets as large as 20 including my mother. We all love cooking and love eating much more! So… each family take turns shopping and cooking for everyone else.
This works out great most of the time except we usually have problems ending up with too much groceries at the end of the stay. We always joked that we end up shopping enough food to feed ourselves for a month when it is just a week! Towards the end of our vacation, we may have 3 – 4 meals worth of food out on the table at one sitting and would tell each other to “eat.. Eat.. EAT!!!”. We all probably gain a few pounds by the end these vacations…still those were happy times… ;)
Now, because each sister has a different style of buying groceries, we made it so that no one goes shopping alone. At least two with different styles always grocery shopped together so they will balance each other out. One sister likes to buy more than less, another likes to buy less than more..you can see how that goes..haha…And I won’t say who is which. So, which end of the spectrum do I belong to? In the middle of course!! Well, to be honest, probably not. I am probably towards buying more because if there’s one thing I hate is not having enough food for people. :) As I always say, it’s better to have leftovers than have everyone eyeing the one last piece on the plate. Oh btw my brother also loves to grocery shop but he is usually interested in buying snacks – or should I say junk food?
Now, let’s talk about the menu. We all have very international tastes and we go from cooking Mediterranean Couscous to Paella but the Korean blood in our bodies require that we feed our stomachs with some kind of a Kimchi dish. And one year, when there was no Korean grocery store to be found, my sister #3 made a dish with sauerkraut, bacon and rice that was surprisingly Korean in its flavor but without any Kimchi used. Sauerkraut has that sour fermented taste just like Kimchi minus the strong smell and then the flavor of bacon is more prominent with sauerkraut than kimchi so I think this is just a heavenly combination. I always wanted to cook this dish and finally got to cook it recently.
With this weekend being Memorial Day weekend, I think this may be a perfect dish to make as potluck or if you get tired of eating all the BBQ and want something different.
Servings: 4 Cooking Time: 30 Difficulty: Easy
- 3 cup (20 oz/540g) rice, soaked in water
- 1 tsp red chili powder or more for spicier version
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder or 1 tsp fresh chopped garlic
- 8 – 10 pieces of bacon
- 2 cup sauerkraut
- 3 1/2 cup water (if you like your rice dry and flaky), add more water (1/4 cup?) if you like your rice moist.
- Soak rice in water for 30 minutes and drain.
- Measure 2 cups of sauerkraut after draining the liquid.
- Cut bacon into small slices.
- In a nice thick pot (cast iron pot is great), add bacon slices. Render most of the fat from the bacon by frying them on medium heat for 4-5 min or until it looks lightly brown and crispy like below.
- Discard most of the fat and leave about 2 – 3 Tbs in the pot. (just enough to coat the bottom)
- Add sauerkraut, garlic powder and chili powder. Saute sauerkraut with bacon for 1-2 min. Garlic powder and chili powder is optional. Adding them really makes it taste like Kimchi. Skip these if you want, it should still be yummy.
Doesn’t this look exactly like Kimchi?? You will be surprised how much it even tastes like Kimchi!
- Now add rice to pot. But WAIT!! OPTIONALLY, you can set aside about 1/2 cup of the sauerkraut/bacon mix and later use as topping when serving. This allows extra texture and punch of flavor. Spread remaining sauerkraut and bacon evenly in pot and add soaked rice on top. Add 3 1/2 cup of water which should be enough water to cover all the rice. Because we want sauerkraut and bacon to brown at the bottom, do not mix rice.
- Cover and cook on med heat for 10 minutes. Rice should be boiling. Always smell the pot to make sure the bottom is not burning.
- Lower heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes or so until no or very little steam come from the pot.
- Turn off heat and keep covered for 3 min more.
- And now it’s done! Mix the bottom of the pot with the rice and serve with some of the topping you set aside in step 7.