My 5 Faourite 'Kimchi-based' Dishes

Monday, 13 October 2014

October is not just the time when the leaves turn into beautiful shades of brown and when we enjoy warm nights filled with cups of spicy cocoa. It is also the time when Koreans begin to observe the timeless tradition of Gimjang— the art of making Kimchi. We all know Kimchi right? The dish that accompanies every Korean meal. There are so many variations of Kimchi  but the most common is Korean cabbage Kimchi.

My first taste of this fermented dish was very memorable because I was expecting to like it but didn't. I decided it wasn't my cup of tea and moved on. But then a few months later I had a try of Kkakdugi~Radish Kimchi — upon a Korean friend's recommendation— and I liked it. That was the first time I knew of Kimchi having variations. My friend told me that kimchi is an acquired taste and sometimes it takes people a while to get used to it.

With many trips to Korean restaurants under my belt, I have slowly discovered the world of Hansik and with it came some knowledge on different dishes. I have grown to like the taste of Kimchi, and like many Koreans, it is now a staple dish accompanying my Korean meals and it can usually be found in my refrigerator — sitting on the top shelf and affecting the taste of everything.

This year I plan on having my very first Gimjang experience and I am very excited about that. To share in my excitement, here are my 5 favourite kimchi based dishes.

Kkakdugi~깍두기 — This is exactly the same as regular cabbage kimchi except it is made using daikon radish. It is very crunchy and spicy and a great accompaniment for the Tang soups.

Kkakugi. Photo Source: Tri Food.

Kimchi Bokkeumbap or Kimchi Fried Rice is my go-to Korean Food and also my favourite Kimchi-based dish and Hansik. It is very easy to make and takes a relatively short time to prepare. It mainly consists of Kimchi and Bap~rice stir-fried with gochujang~red pepper paste and sesame oil. You could experiment with different vegetables or meat for a richer taste or have it striped to the basics. Either way, with a 'sunny side up' fried egg, be sure to have a delicious Korean dish.

Kimchi Fried Rice at Assa. They have the best I've ever had :)

Kimchi Jeon also known as Kimchi pancake is another easy dish to try. This crispy and sour tasting dish is good for a rainy day— and I hear it tastes especially better with a glass of makgeolli!! As long as you have Kimchi, you're good to go because the other ingredients are what you usually have in your pantry. The secret to a good tasting Kimchi Jeon is to thinly spread the batter and make it extra crispy. This makes a lot of difference. 

Kimchi Pancake served with soy sauce

Kimchi Bibbimbap doesn't need much introduction. Bibimbap like kimchi is a staple Korean food that has gained international popularity. This dish is made of rice and vegetables with a choice of tofu, chicken or beef mixed together with gochujang~red pepper paste. You could opt for Kimchi to replace the meat as a vegeterian option.

Kimchi Bibimbap before Gochujang was added

Kimchi Jjigae or Kimchi Stew is a dish I have always been curious about but never gave it a try—that is until recently. I was craving some Korean food and wanted to try something new so I went online to check for recipes I could make with the ingredients I had. I found this tuna fish recipe for Kimchi Jjigae and decided to give it a try. I was glad I did because it was very masisseoyo!! The tuna added a lot of flavour to the dish and I can't believe I waited so long to try this out. The surprising thing is that the stew tasted as good when cold as it was when hot.

The recipe I tried from Aeriskitchen. I forgot to take a picture of mine :(

 Be sure to try out these recipes. Not only are they delicious, but Kimchi has a lot of health benefits. These can be found in all korean restaurants or if you're feeling adventurous you can try it out at home :) And don't forget to give Kimchi a few tries before you give up on it.

Have you tried any of these? What did you think? Any more Kimchi-based recommendations?


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