Our Kimchi Fried Quinoa Grain Bowl is a fan favorite, but the story of this dish dates back further than our launch in 2021. Our Director of Food Innovation, Rene Lozzi, has been making this dish – or a version of it – for her partner Jesse Pierce for years. It is their favorite meal. So much so, it would be their choice for their last meal.
We spent the day with Rene and Jesse in our Splendid kitchen to cook Rene’s version of Kimchi Fried Rice, and talk all things food.
What was the inspiration behind you picking this recipe to cook?
RL: During the pandemic I got really into reading about Korean food and also watching Korean Chef’s youtube channels. One of my fave Korean Youtubers is Emily Kim, also known as MaangchiI. She is so fun to watch and makes cooking Korean food so approachable. She also talks about the rich history Kimchi has in Korean’s diets. I also wanted to start eating kimchi because of the probiotics and gut health benefits that are a result of the fermentation process that happens when kimchi is made. After trying a few different recipes I found a Kimchi Fried Rice recipe in the New York Times, that was super easy to follow. You just chop up the kimchi and cook it in butter, and I was like “okay, this is delicious.” I haven’t turned back and now make a version of Kimchi Fried Rice on a weekly basis for me and my partner.
What was your experience taking your at-home recipe and translating it into a Splendid meal?
RL: So almost anytime I am eating, anywhere in the world, I try to think about how I can make something Splendid. How do I remove the animal products? So the task is pretty second-nature to me at this point! I replace butter with olive oil, I up the protein with ingredients like edamame and tofu. It was a really easy and straightforward dish to take from a traditional recipe and make it Splendid without the animal products.
What do you love the most about this dish?
JP: Rene is a very excellent cook, this is no surprise to anyone, so I’m very lucky. The dish is just something that’s special between us. Rene demonstrates her love via cooking, and it’s something that I really love to eat and so it’s something that I think brings us together whenever she makes it. It's something that we connect over. This dish was, I felt, particularly warming and homey, and also complex with the kimchi. There's a lot of nice rich flavors in it, so it always felt like a treat but really comfortable.
What are your other favorite Splendid Spoon meals?
JP: I eat a lot of Splendid Spoon, so I have a few. I really like the Kabocha Congee Soup, the Aloo Gobi Quinoa Bowl, and the Red Lentil Dal. I’m also a big fan of the Smoothies. I like the new ones: the Blue Majik and Pineapple Passion Fruit, and the Dragon Fruit Berry as well.
What are your favorite things to cook together?
RL: I think we cook breakfast together, I think that's our favorite meal time to cook. Jesse makes really good soft scrambled eggs, they’re delicious.
JP: We do sautéed kale as well with toast and butter. And Rene is being very kind cause I’m a much better sous chef and dish cleaner than I am a partner chef.
What are other recipes/constants in your dinner rotation?
RL: A “clean the fridge out” grain bowl. Any veggies that are going bad, greens are so easy to sauté, sweet potatoes: we roast them up, any kind of legume or bean, some chickpeas. Jesse also loves a sauce so I also always make some kind of mayo-y tangy sauce to drizzle on top with a little spice, and some fresh herbs on top. Super simple and super quick and easy.
JP: Rene is very passionate about limited food waste so it's a big focus. Every week we try to go for something along those lines.
What’s one thing that one of you loves and the other hates?
JP: It might be cilantro.
RL: Yes it’s definitely cilantro. I love it, I put it in everything. Jesse is not a fan - you don't have the gene where it tastes like soap…
JP: It doesn’t taste like soap, it’s just not for me.
RL: Bless, but I still put it in a lot of things…
JP: …I still eat it