9 Great Kimchi Combos
Learning the Delights of Kimchi
The first time I smelled kimchi I thought, “What’s that smell? That smells really bad.” I was seventeen years old and it was my first day working in a Korean restaurant in Cebu. Growing up in the Philippines, kimchi had never been on my mother’s dinner table so it was quite natural that I turned my nose up when the restaurant owner asked me if I wanted to try some. However, after two days of coaxing and after seeing another Filipina eat some, I decide to try a bite. “Hmmm…that’s not bad. Kind of spicy, I like that.” That began my love for kimchi.
Unfortunately, I only worked at the Korean restaurant for a few months. So my kimchi supply soon vanished as there was no way I could convince my mother to put it on the dinner menu at home.
Five years later, though, good fortune took me to Korea where I spent two wonderful years. During that time, I became reacquainted with kimchi. I also learned about the nutritional value of kimchi and began experimenting with kimchi fusion dishes.
Kimchi, Kimchi and More Kimchi
What is Kimchi?
Kimchi (김치) has been a traditional Korean dish for more than two thousand years. Although there are hundreds of varieties of kimchi, all are made from naturally fermented raw vegetables such as napa cabbage, radishes and cucumbers. The fermentation process involves the vegetables being stored in vats or jars mixed with a puree of special ingredients. The ingredients can be replaced or added depending on availability, preference in taste and the type of kimchi. The most common ingredients in the puree are fruits, garlic, brine, scallions, spices, ginger, red chili peppers, chopped radish, garlic, shrimp sauce, oyster sauce), fish sauce. The longer the kimchi has been stored, the thicker the taste.
Nutrition Facts Label for Napa Cabbage Kimchi
|Serving size: 100|
|Calories from Fat||0|
|% Daily Value *|
|Carbohydrates 7 g||2%|
|Fiber 1 g||4%|
|Protein 1 g||2%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 781 mg||33%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Chili Peppers for Kimchi
Health Benefits of Kimchi
- Fermented vegetables help nature do her work because the fermentation acts as a pre-digesting agent to create probiotics. These are bacteria that help keep the natural balance of microflora in the lower digestive tract.
- Rich in Vitamin A – 100 grams of kimchi has 16 percent of the daily value of vitamin A, an important natural antioxidant that may reduce the risk of developing heart disease and cancer. It is also good for healthy body growth, fetal development and vision.
- Rich in Vitamin V – 100 grams can contain 7 to 20 percent of the daily value of vitamin C depending on the variety of kimchi. Vitamin C is also a natural antioxidant that protects the body’s cells from damage from free radicals. It can help to produce collagen for healthy skin.
- No Cholesterol – Could possibly lower cholesterol levels since the garlic in kimchi has allicin and selenium, both thought to help reduce cholesterol.
- Eating kimchi may boost immunity.
- Eating kimchi helps to maintain a healthy body weight.
Warning: Kimchi is high in sodium so people with high blood pressure and those who are concerned about high salt intake should be cautious.
Great Kimchi Combo Snacks and Meals
Try these kimchi combos:
Kimchi with Cheese Omelet
This is an easy-to-make breakfast and can also be served as a lunch or a dinner side dish.
- Use kimchi that is room temperature or heat it slightly in a fry pan.
- Beat two eggs with about a teaspoon of sweet mirin.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the egg mixture into a non-stick skillet.
- Turn the heat to medium and cover skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the egg begins to set.
- Add the kimchi to half of the omelet and sprinkle some grated cheese over it.
- Fold the omelet in half and cook until done.
(You can also add some tofu, scallion or zucchini.)
Grilled Cheese Kimchi Sandwich
- Gently brush olive oil or melted butter onto one side of two slices of bread.
- Flip one slice of bread over and on the un-oiled side place a slice of cheese or sprinkle grated cheese.
- Add kimchi and scallion, and then cover with a little more cheese.
- Place the other piece of bread on top to make a sandwich, with the oiled side facing outwards.
- Put the sandwich in frying pan.
- Fry until the bottom is golden brown and crisp.
- Flip the sandwich and fry until the second side is golden brown.
- Slice in half and serve immediately.
You can also grill the sandwich in a small oven instead of frying it.
Kimchi Tuna Melt
Make the same way as the grilled cheese, but use a mix of tuna, kimchi and cheese.
Boil some noodles and top them with kimchi. Or, for some real fun food adventure, add some tofu and salmon, or tofu and shrimp...or bacon and cheese, or meatballs and extra kimchi.
Kimchi Fried Rice
Another easy-to-make meal or snack. Great for those days when you are too hungry to cook something elaborate, but still want something reasonably healthy and very tasty. Just take the leftover rice in the rice cooker, fry it up with some kimchi and add cheese.
Kimchi on a Hotdog
Instead of using sauerkraut, use kimchi for that ballpark frank. Or, try half with kimchi and half with sauerkraut and do the taste test to compare!
Kimchi on a Cheeseburger
It won't be long before this great idea goes from the trendy expensive hamburger restaurants to some mutation sold in the fast food joints.
This idea is already on the road. What a great party food for the next time Korea plays Mexico in the World Cup!
There are a couple of ways to make kimchi dumplings. There is the easy way and the hard way. The more difficult way is to make your own wrappers from scratch and hope they turn out okay. Then, fill them with kimchi, mold them by hand and fry them or boil them in some soup. The easy way is to buy the ready-made wrappers, put one in a hand-held mold, add kimchi, squeeze and fry or boil in soup. Either way, kimchi gyoza tastes great as the juices and spices mix nicely with the doughy skin to maximize flavor.
Kimchi Combos That Might Not Work
Chocolate Covered Kimchi
Don’t laugh. This is actually available in the Duty Free shops in Korean airports. It is a popular souvenir gift. I haven’t tried it yet, but maybe next trip to Seoul, I will buy some.
Kimchi in Yogurt
I almost tried this once, but then realized that the acidic quality in kimchi might not mix with the yogurt well. The same is probably true for kimchi on ice cream and kimchi milkshakes.
No, no and no.
A lot of fruits and nuts go well in bread, but would kimchi? I have a bread maker and I like to make bread so this one might be tempting to try. I was able to find a couple recipes online so I might try kimchi bread in the near future.
What kimchi combos have you tried? What combos have you heard of that you would never try? Please share your ideas in a comment below. And the next time you smile for a photo be sure to say, “Kimchi”!