Tag Archive for salty cabbage kimchi

KimChi Grilled Cheese

For a Christmas gift this year, I got Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat cookbook.

I have been in love with Nosrat since I discovered her on a cooking show a while back, and was tickled pink when she released the Netflix documentary based on her cookbook (see some of my other favourite Netflix cooking shows here)

What I love about Nosrat is that she is truly a food nerd. I spend a lot of my time doing chemistry experiments in the kitchen, and so does she. I feel like I could just nerd out with her.

Her cookbook is huge, but also in some ways not so much a cookbook and more of a how-to guide. She explains, in great detail, the properties of salt, fat, acid and heat, and how to use them to make the best possible food.

Oh by the way, she has a pandemic podcast as well.

Vegan Kimchi Grilled Cheese

One of things Nosrat has been very vocal about loving is a Kimchi Grilled Cheese.

Now, if you are at all familiar with this blog, you’ll know that, despite not being even a tiny bit Korean (that I know of), I love KimChi. For those of you unfamiliar, KimChi is a fermented cabbage condiment that has been made for thousands of years in Korea. Its base is cabbage, and then you add salt and spices to it and let it sit for about a week and it gets all funky and spicy. It’s weird and hot and also because it’s fermented, it’s really great for your gut health.

KimChi, however, is usually made with fish sauce, so it’s not considered to be vegan. However, we have a local Vancouver business that does make a vegan version, and I’ve been loving Salty Cabbage KimChi since they launched a year ago, and have been including it in loads of recipes.

But I’d never had a KimChi grilled cheese.

Nosrat is right. It’s great. I used a nice crusty homemade sourdough bread, and the play of the textures and flavours makes this a winner. You’ve got the crusty bread, the spicy, funky kimchi, and the soft, melty, fatty cheese.

If you aren’t vegan, or you don’t want to make it vegan, just use regular cheese.

Here’s how to make a Kimchi Grilled Cheese: 

Vegan BiBimBap

You know, everyone is all about “power bowls” and “poke” these days. But the reality is, those are just bowls of rice topped with stuff. Okay, yummy, delicious stuff, but still, just rice bowls topped with stuff. 

You maybe could argue that the Koreans were the first to create such a thing. The term “bibimbap” literally means, “mixed rice.” Yup. Originally, you’d be looking at a bowl of rice topped with thinly-sliced meats (often beef), vegetables and pickles. Boy, the Koreans love their pickles. It’s very often also topped with a sunny-side-up egg, which, when you cut up and mix in with the other ingredients, makes a kind of jammy egg yolk sauce. It’s a pretty magical dish, filled with every different flavour and texture you can imagine.

I was inspired to try this in a vegan format after getting my hands on some vegan Kim Chi. I was testing a new vegan cookbook a few weeks back, and one of the recipes called for kimchi. Now, I love kimchi, I even sometimes make a version of it myself. I try to incorporate as many fermented foods (for their health benefits) as I can into my diet. But most kimchi includes fish sauce, which makes it not appropriate for vegans. 

Then I found out that a local gal was starting up her own line of vegan kimchi, and I got my hands on some. It makes a perfect addition to this dish. 

These are the toppings I put on mine: 

  • Gochujang tofu
  • quick-pickled cucumbers
  • shredded carrots
  • blanched spinach 
  • stir-fried shitakes 
  • Salty Cabbage Kimchi

A radish version of kimchi from Salty Cabbage Kimchi–it’s the most beautiful shade of pink!

Vegan BiBimBap

Start by making the rice. Traditionally, this would be white rice, but I used brown for the extra health benefits. 

Next, make the gochugang tofu. Take a block of firm tofu and cut it into small, 1″ squares. Toss the squares into a bowl, and add to the bowl 2 tbsp of cornstarch, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Toss well. In a cast-iron frying pan over medium-high heat, heat a few tablespoons of canola oil. Toss the tofu into the pan, and stir-fry until crispy, about 5-8 minutes. While the tofu is frying, mix together the sauce: 1 tbsp gochujang, 1/4 cup warm water (warm will help the gochujang dissolve better), 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, and 1 tsp brown sugar. Once the tofu is browned, toss the sauce in the pan with it, and stir well. The sauce will thicken and stick to the tofu. Remove and place to the side. 

To make your Vegan BiBimBap: scoop cooked rice into the bottom of a bowl. Top with gochujang tofu, quick-pickled cucumbers, grated or spiralized carrots, fresh or quickly-blanched spinach (or if you want to be real fancy, gomae), stir-fried shitake mushrooms, and finish it off with a big blob of kimchi. 

Mix everything together in your bowl and enjoy!