Chicken Dinners: Kimchi Chicken and Cabbage Stir Fry


[Photograph: Yvonne Ruperti]

I never take for granted that I live in such a food-rich city. Not only is Singapore teeming with Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Thai, and Malay restaurants, but there must be at least 20 Korean eateries (including a Korean market) within a stone's throw of my apartment. As a lover of kimchi—an assault-on-the-senses but addictive dish made of hot and sour, crunchy fermented cabbage—this makes me a happy camper.

So potent is kimchi that it's mostly served quite modestly in tiny dishes as a complement to your meal, but if you're like me, that's not enough kimchi action. Kimchi can be so much more than a side dish—kimchi soup and kimchi fried rice are some examples. Here, I paired kimchi with chicken in a delicious main course.

This chicken stir-fry comes together at lightning speed. Instead of the usual large chunks of meat (which would end up dry and flavorless in a stir-fry), here the lean meat is cut into thin julienne-like strips for maximum absorption of flavor and to ensure a quick cook. Kimchi, with its mouth-burning heat, briny acidity, and fishy undertones, can overwhelm this dish, so to rein in its potent flavor, a few handfuls of fresh napa cabbage are tossed into the wok (or skillet) towards the end of cooking. And if you're game, adding a tablespoon of Korean chili sauce and a few teaspoons of fish sauce at the end will ensure that this is no timid dish. But the best part? It all comes together in about 10 minutes. That's right—10 minutes.

Mellow out this wildly intense dish with a fresh bowl of steaming white rice. Serve with an ice cold soju and you'll want for nothing more.