On Tuesday I turned Chicken Soup & Homicide in to my publisher. All summer there was a lot going on with life in general, beyond my writing life, so getting the book whipped into shape over the last month and a half was intense. I’ve written before about how I end up with food obsessions whenever I work on big writing projects. Beyond the always present coffee, the editing phase of this book brought on a craving for kimchi. Yay for a healthy obsession, for once!

Kimchi is spicy fermented vegetables that is also the national dish of Korea. Traditionally it’s made with cabbage, but it can be made with all kinds of vegetables. It’s one of those dishes that has seemingly endless varieties and every cook that makes it has their own version. I would love to try making it, but the last few months I haven’t had the time to experiment in the kitchen. If you want to try it here are a bunch of recipes from the Beyond Kimchi blog. 🙂

For the most part, I buy the mild version of the commercially made brand of kimchi at my local grocery store. A rather standard napa cabbage variety. It is garlicky, mildly sour, slightly salty and pleasantly spicy. I like the taste of the fermented cabbage, so I’m not particularly interested in the sinus clearing spicy version. A few weeks ago I found the cucumber kimchi pictured above at a farmer’s market. What a difference! Even though it is red with chili pepper flakes, it isn’t extremely spicy. You can definitely taste the ginger in this variety and the cucumber gives it a rather grassy “green” flavor. I love it.

So kimchi has been the flavor-packed ingredient that I’ve been adding to my quick lunches while I’ve been writing. One ingredient = a cornucopia of flavor. It’s great with ramen noodles or rice. I also like to accompany it with eggs, either poached in ramen broth or fried and slid on top of rice. My favorite dish so far has been rice topped with low-sodium soy sauce, a fried egg and kimchi. I actually do a one-pan version of this in my little 4-cup rice cooker, by cracking an egg on top of the almost cooked rice then letting it cook from the residual heat. Add soy sauce and the kimchi. Stir to break up the egg into bite-sized pieces and enjoy!

Have you tried kimchi? If you have, do you have a favorite variety?

This post is part of Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads



12 thoughts on “Kimchi Craving

    1. I actually didn’t like it the first time I tried it. Maybe it’s one of the flavors you have to grow into learning to love if you weren’t raised eating it. 🙂

  1. I should get more creative with my rice cooker — I use it to cook rice and grains but never thought of cracking an egg in there. I love kimchi too but have never had any but the usual cabbage kind. We go for spicy. 🙂 What an awesome find at the farmer’s market.

    And yay on turning in the ms.

    1. I use my little $10 rice cooker for one pot lunches all the time. 🙂 I can’t remember where I first heard of the egg trick, but it works like a charm.

  2. I’ve been seeing Kimchi on lots of menus lately (even at restaurants serving regular American food) and never really understood exactly what it was. I tried it in a pork and rice bowl with a fried egg and the whole thing together was amazingly yummy! Thank you for giving me some more information about kimchi the itself and some easy ways to try it at home!

    1. If you really want to do some American/Korean fusion…try kimchi on a hamburger. I love it! Sort of like an olive burger, but a really delicious twist. 🙂

    1. Thank you for the recipe! It’s so easy. I’m definitely going to try it. The cucumber kimchi I have has very thinly sliced cucumbers, so I’m very interested in seeing what your chunky version tastes like. See…every family does have their own recipe. 🙂

  3. First–congrats on submitting your book! Must feel good to have that off your plate…at least for now. I’ve never had Kimchi before but I do love spicy foods. I also love the idea of cooking an egg over rice. Yum!

  4. I think I first heard about kimchi on The Splendid Table, but I’ve been seeing it a lot around the blogosphere since then! We are going to try some Korean recipes that my husband got from the students that he’s tutoring in ESOL. I’ll have to see if anyone gave us a recipe for kimchi. Congrats on submitting your ms!

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