Must-try Kimchi Inspired Dishes

If you didn’t grow up having jars of kimchi tucked away in your fridge, and if you still have to discover the perfection that is kimchi, then chances are that you’re missing out on something great. Kimchi originated in Korea and is used as both a condiment and a side dish. It can be made using various vegetables, but the most popular versions include baechu kimchi (made using nappa cabbage) and kkakdugi (made using daikon radish). These vegetables are submerged in a salty brine, covered with a spicy paste made from gochugaro, and fermented for several days. During fermentation, the vegetables retain their fresh crunchiness yet are also soft to bite into, accompanying an addictive umami flavor balanced with their slightly spicy, slightly acidic, and fragrant nature. However, if you’re trying kimchi for the first time, refrain from having it on its own. Instead, try experimenting by incorporating it into dishes you already love.

Getty Images/ Moment/ photograph by dorisj

Some beginner-friendly dishes to ease you into kimchi’s rich and complex flavor profile include fried rice, grilled cheese, and ramen. For kimchi fried rice (kimchi bokkeumbap), add one cup chopped kimchi, ¼ cup kimchi juice, ¼ cup water, three tablespoons gochujang, and three bowls steamed rice with one teaspoon vegetable oil into a pan and stir fry over medium heat. Once everything is mixed together, add three teaspoons of toasted sesame oil and garnish with green onions and roasted sesame seeds. Next up, kimchi grilled cheese is another unconventional combination bound to get you hooked from the get-go. Firstly, stir fry two cups of chopped kimchi with two tablespoons of brown sugar and six slices of bacon and transfer to a bowl. Then, butter two slices of sourdough bread, add any cheese you like, layer the kimchi mixture, and toast until golden brown. Finally, making kimchi ramen is as easy as it sounds. All you’ll need to do is create a kimchi-infused chicken broth with gochugaru, sugar, and sesame oil and then pour it over your instant noodles.