Dinner Tonight: Kimchi Quesadillas Recipe

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Dinner Tonight: Kimchi Quesadillas Recipe

"These suckers are cheesy, greasy, and spicy: that perfect trifecta."

[Photographs: Nick Kindelsperger]

Kimchi plus melted cheese and tortillas—this shouldn't work. It doesn't even sound that appealing. I told fellow Dinner Tonight contributor Blake about this recipe and he looked at me like I had just committed some kind of heinous crime.

The kimchi is sauteed with butter (!) until it gets just the slightest bit crispy. Then it's mixed with a couple handfuls of cheese and a heavy sprinkle of sesame seeds. The fact that this doesn't just blow up from pure evil is beyond me. But wait—your fears will melt away when I tell you this recipe came from Roy Choi, the man behind the Kogi BBQ truck and was printed in the October issue of Gourmet.

Feel better, now? Though I haven't eaten at this mobile eatery in Los Angeles, I can't stop thinking about it. Korean and Mexican are two cuisines that I cook often, yet have never combined in such an interesting and dramatic way as they are done here.

It's spicy and crunchy, with a wonderful nutty aroma from all the sesame seeds. It's also a tad cheesy, but that can easily be corrected. It makes for a hilarious dinner but to be perfectly honest, what really crossed my mind was how wonderful it would taste as a drunken snack. See these suckers are cheesy, greasy, and spicy: that perfect trifecta that only gets better the more drinks you have.


  • Yield:2


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup cabbage kimchi, drained and chopped
  • 4 fresh perilla or shiso leaves (optional)
  • 2 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup grated Sharp Cheddar
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack
  • 1 tablespoon Canola oil


  1. 1.

    Add the butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When melted, and the kimchi. Cook fo about 6 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the edges of the kimchi start to turn a little golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for a few minutes.

  2. 2.

    Divide the kimchi, cheese, sesame seeds, and perilla leaves (optional) between the two tortillas. Fold each tortilla in half.

  3. 3.

    Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium heat. Add both folded tortilla to the skillet, cover, and cook for about 2 minutes per-side, or until they are golden browned and the cheese has melted.

  4. 4.

    Slice into serving portions, and serve.