If you've never heard of kimchi paste, you're not alone. It's a simple combination of red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, sugar, lime juice, water, salt, and fish sauce, but the easiest way to get it is to buy it at Korean grocers and Asian specialty markets, where it's often labeled as "kimchi base." It's punchy and sharp, tangy, and incredibly invigorating. To turn it into a dip for dumplings, we temper it with honey, sesame seeds, and melted butter to create a smooth sauce that's intensely sweet, spicy, buttery, and just a little nutty all at once.
'kimchi' on Serious Eats
Mixing mayonnaise into chicken salad is the most common way to add moisture, but it's not the only way. Vinaigrette works well too, like this tangy Korean-inspired rendition with kimchi, pine nuts, and lots of fresh ginger.
Making real-deal ramen is a lengthy project that requires planning in advance. But there are days when you just want a delicious bowl of it, without the fuss. This easy Korean-style kimchi ramen is for those times. It's loaded with flavor, but takes less than an hour to throw together, thanks to several umami-rich ingredients and a cool baking-soda trick that turns angel-hair pasta into ramen-like noodles.
This pot of noodles with kimchi, mushrooms, and beef can be made ahead and taken to work. Just add boiling water, seal it up for three minutes, add the contents of the fresh herb packet, and you've got a hot lunch ready.
There are too many great meat dishes in the Korean canon to pick a favorite, but this one of stir-fried marinated pork with kimchi is definitely in my top five. Easy to make, it features thin strips of pork shoulder in a spicy-sweet blend of Korean chili paste, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil—plus a bit of Asian pear for both flavor and its tenderizing effect on the meat.
This spicy, Korean-inspired chicken, kimchi, and napa cabbage stir-fry comes together in about 10 minutes.
Roy Choi's recipe for brussels sprouts and kimchi in his new cookbook/memoir, L.A. Son, is a prime example of his effortless expertise in Korean fusion. He throws sprouts, butter, kimchi, lemon, and shiso all together in a hot pan for a dish that looks like a miss-mashed stir-fry but tastes like a dish that's been made by countless cooks for generations.
I realize now that I haven't been adding enough of the liquid from the kimchi jar when I make kimchi fried rice. It makes all the difference.
I don't know about you, but kimchi stew (jjigae) reminds me of winter. But it turns out summer vegetables are equally at home in this dish. Plus, haven't you heard that adage that you should eat a hot soup on a hot day?
The cucumber and carrot salad provides a crisp and acidic counterpoint to the kimchi and bacon, and it's all housed in a steamy and super soft bun, which is "airy" in a way few foodstuffs can ever hope to be.
Pizza with spicy kimchi, soppressata, and scallions on a soft and crisp New York-style crust.
A grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with spicy tangy kimchi.
A quick sauté or stir-fry of ginger, garlic, beef, and chopped kimchi goes remarkably well when poured atop a pile of Fritos. While some may see this version of Frito Pie as sacrilege, I see it as a nice change of pace for your Super Bowl party.
Mussels are one of those easy dinners that can so easily get overlooked when bombarded by quick-cooking fish fillets and chicken breasts at the market. But mussels are just as quick and easy (if not easier) to prepare than fish, and they're a year-round sustainable source of seafood. Pop them in a pot of flavorful broth, and they'll be done before you can set the table. Adding even more reason to pick up a couple of pounds of shellfish is the Red Curry Mussels with Kimchi from Lauryn Chun's new Kimchi Cookbook. Here, she swaps in kimchi for more traditional lemongrass in a coconut-red curry sauce. The kimchi brings funk, spice, and salinity to the broth, enhancing the creamy brininess of the mussels.
Okay. Grilled cheese is not the kind of dish that really needs a recipe. Bread, cheese, butter, plus a moderately hot pan, and dinner is served, right? Sure, these steps will lead to a tasty sandwich, but it is easy to get into a grilled cheese rut without the proper inspiration. Enter the Grilled MILKimcheeze from Lauryn Chun's Kimchi Cookbook. Nothing more than a standard gooey warm sandwich, except for the generous application of napa cabbage kimchi. Not only does the kimchi add welcome crunch to the melty cheese, but its spicy funk adds an addictive layer of flavor to the lunchtime favorite.
Preparing homemade dumplings can often seem like a daunting task, and when the filling is a simple mixture of ground beef or potatoes, the one-note result makes the project seem less worthwhile. Not so with Lauryn Chun's Pan-fried Kimchi Dumplings from The Kimchi Cookbook. Loaded with bright, crunchy kimchi; tofu, beef, and sesame oil, these dumplings are worth every minute spent filling and crimping.
When most of us think of kimchi, we think of spicy fermented napa cabbage, swathed in a bright red, fishy sauce. Lauryn Chun's white wrapped kimchi from The Kimchi Cookbook is not that kimchi. Dating back to before the 16th century, this white kimchi was being made before chiles were introduced to Korea. As a result, the kimchi is mild and slightly sweet, yet still retains the signature crunch and funk from natural fermentation. Instead of simply tossing the mixture in a jar, however, Chun elevates the recipe by wrapping the kimchi mixture in brined napa cabbage leaves.
I don't often have time during the week to bust out some serious banchan, but is there a way to turn a Korean scallion pancake into a quick meal? Yes, and this is it.
Tofu and pork are good friends, especially in Korean cuisine. Tofu with Kimchi and Pork Belly, or dubu kimchi, is an amazing match up of mild tofu, fatty pork belly, and spicy-sour kimchi. Doctored up with a few chiles—powdered and fresh—and a drizzle of sesame oil, this is Korean drinking food at its finest. But you don't have to be knocking back the soju to enjoy Andrea Nguyen's Tofu with Kimchi and Pork Belly from Asian Tofu. It makes for a great anytime meal, quick to assemble, easy to love, and full of a very satisfying array of textures and big tastes.