We’ve already reached midsummer and are riding the huge wave of summer activities. Summer camp, swimming lessons, and just general mayhem. Then there are the not so pleasant surprises – new sump pump, french drain, getting rid of a dead tree, and other annoying home maintenance issues. Basically, I feel like I’m constantly treading water with my face barely above water.
I barely have enough time to think, let alone cook. I have to admit that I’ve been really uninspired to cook for the last several weeks. I longingly stare at all my “recipe ideas” scrawled on post-its that adorn the side of my microwave oven and fridge (Kind of like how I stare at my running shoes). And with my husband’s unpredictable work schedule and my children’s unpredictable finickiness, it’s really hard to convince myself to take the time to experiment (yes, please get your violins out). Don’t even get me started on my struggles with patience…my poor little kids.
As uninspired as I am, I still try to cook something tasty and healthy. Some meals are overwhelmingly successful with the kids, and others…not so much (Did I mention their finickiness?). But one dish that is usually successful and always comforting is bokum bap, Korean-style fried rice. It’s quick and easy and you can improvise like nobody’s business with chockful of tasty bits. It all depends on what you have on hand. The other day I included hot dogs, zucchini, and corn. It’s what I had in the fridge and I always try to include a protein and plenty of vegetables. Refrigerated day-old rice is perfect, whether it’s from last night’s takeout or straight from your rice cooker. Bokum bap is completely satisfying on days when you’re being pulled in all different directions. And if you have a couple of extra minutes to spare, you can fry up a simple egg omelet and top off your mound of deliciousness with an “egg hat”.
The keys to successful bokum bap:
- Dice the ingredients down to the same size so they cook evenly and quickly.
- Cook everything over medium high heat so that it cooks quickly.
- Cook the protein first, then the “hard” veggies, and the softer veggies last.
About 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Usually a handful of or about 1/2 cup of each protein and vegetable. (I typically include 3 to 4 different ingredients.)
About 1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
Day-old rice (I usually have about 1 to 1-1/2 cups or a takeout carton of rice)
About 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 stalks green onions, sliced thinly (optional)
- Heat the cooking oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
- Toss in your protein and saute until cooked or warmed (if using leftovers) through.
- Add vegetables from firmer to softer texture. Cook each until tender. (I cooked my zucchini and corn at the same time.)
- Add garlic.
- Add about 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and season with salt and pepper. Adjust to taste. If it seems a little on the salty side, don’t worry, the rice will mellow it out. Keep sautéing.
- Add the rice and heat through. At first the rice will be crumbly and a little difficult to handle, but it will soften as it warms up. Stir and toss. The rice will turn a light brown as it gets lightly coated with the soy sauce.
- Take the skillet off the heat. Add green onions and drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil and toss. Remember, a little sesame oil goes a long way.
- Serve immediately.