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.
Notes: Kimchi paste/base is sold at Korean or Asian specialty markets, and online from Mama O's. If unavailable, combine 8 tablespoons Korean gochujang with 1 tablespoon liquid from a jar of kimchi. Leftovers will stay emulsified but harden in the fridge. Microwave on high power for 15 to 30 second or heat gently on the stovetop to soften.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 9 tablespoons kimchi paste (see note)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add kimchi paste, honey, and sesame seeds. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until emulsified and combined into a rich sauce. Transfer to a bowl and serve.