Why It Works
- Cutting the chicken into thin strips ensures that it cooks quickly without drying out and absorbs a lot of flavor.
- Fresh cabbage is added in addition to kimchi to keep the strong kimchi flavors from overwhelming the dish.
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 captivating 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 pair 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), 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 nothing more.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin 1/4-inch strips (see note)
4 teaspoons sesame oil
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups kimchi, drained (see note)
12 ounce head napa cabbage, horizontally sliced into 1-inch strips
1 to 3 teaspoons gochujang or other chili sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce (optional, season to taste)
Rice, for serving
Toss chicken with sesame oil, sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, and soy sauce; set aside. Heat vegetable oil in wok or large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kimchi and heat until hot. Add chicken and cook until almost cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add cabbage and cook until cabbage is just beginning to wilt, about 1 more minute. Season to taste with chili sauce and fish sauce. Serve immediately with rice (see note).
To cut the chicken into 1/4-inch strips, cut chicken into 1/4-inch slices, then cut each slice into 1/4-inch strips. This shape ensures minimum cooking time and maximum flavor.
Kimchi is a type of Korean fermented cabbage which can be found in the refrigerated section of most well-stocked supermarkets, and at Asian markets. Gochujang is a shelf-stable Korean chile paste often sold in tubs or in tubes. The amount of chili sauce and optional fish sauce will depend on the strength of your kimchi. Season to taste.
The longer the dish sits, the more liquid will collect at the bottom from the weeping cabbage. It's best to serve immediately.
Wok or large skillet
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 9g||12%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||8%|
|Total Carbohydrate 12g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 3mg||14%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|