5 New Ways to Eat Kimchi

December  4, 2013

Lauryn Chun from Mother-In-Law's Kimchi is sharing five new ways to enjoy the funkiest condiment around. Grab your own DIY kit in Provisions, make a batch, and then start putting it on everything. 

Kimchi on Food52  DIY Kimchi Kit on Food52

To me, November signals Kimjang, the traditional Korean cabbage harvest, when families used to gather together to ‘put away’ the last napa cabbage for the winter months. It was like a "kimchi block party," where several families would gather together to make hundreds of pounds of kimchi to be shared and eaten all winter long. The cabbage halves were brined, seasoned, and stacked into earthen barrel pots buried underground to protect from frost and allow for slow fermentation.

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More: Add kimchi to your fried rice.

Kimchi Fried Rice on Food52

When using kimchi, be creative! Think of adding the bright, spicy, tangy kimchi flavors to all your winter meals. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Do you know the magic of kimchi and cheese? Add kimchi to grilled cheese sandwiches -- its spice and tanginess is the perfect complement to the sandwich's creamy texture. Kimchi also makes a delicious topping for quesadillas and lasagna with béchamel. In Korea, Pizza Hut even has a kimchi-topped pizza! 

More: Learn how to make the perfect grilled cheese.

Grilled Cheese on Food52

3. Top baked potatoes with kimchi, plus more traditional toppings like sour cream and scallions. Scalloped potatoes au gratin can also get a lift from the tanginess of kimchi. 

2. Sautée kimchi with winter greens like kale, Swiss chard and Brussels sprouts. When cooking with kimchi, a well-aged (1 month or more) batch will have complex, fermented flavors that take well to sautéed dishes. Add kimchi with olive oil or butter -- as its smokiness and umami are released, you can even add a dash of soy sauce for deeper flavors.

Pink Greens on Food52

4. Add kimchi to you leftover turkey sandwiches -- it goes well with gamey flavors and mayonnaise! It also makes a great addition to Philly cheese steaks or brisket sandwiches.

5. Pan sautée firm tofu, kimchi, and bacon for a delicious weekday meal. Wrap in lettuce leaves and you've got instant saam! Drizzle sesame oil on top for even more toasted flavors.

Tofu on Food52

Photos by James Ransom

Tell us: What's your favorite way to cook with kimchi?


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Kate
  • Sophia R
    Sophia R
  • EmFraiche
  • ZombieCupcake
I am the founder of Mother-in-Law's Kimchi, a line of artisan kimchi based on an original recipe from Jang Mo Jip ("Mother-in-Law's Kimchi"), my mother's beloved restaurant in Garden Grove, California. From my mother's kitchen to working in the fine dining and wine industries, my deep love for food and wine led me from the Rhone Valley and Spain to Italy's hills, where I worked harvesting grapes. While living in New York City, I recognized the beauty of Korea's tradition of handcrafted kimchi, which inspired me to launch Mother-in-Law's Kimchi in 2009


BONGO March 16, 2014
I made a (big) batch of kimchi recently, we've tried it with turkey & mayo (plus cilantro and scallions) in a sandwich as advised - it's soooo good ! Thank you very much for the idea...
Kate December 7, 2013
Kimchi in deviled eggs (top with a drop or two of sriracha). Don't knock it til you try it!
Sophia R. December 5, 2013
Love love love kimchi - delicious with basically everything. Love kimchi fried rice, kimchi quesadillas or adding kimchi to ramen bowls. I bet kimchi mac and cheese would be amazing as well!
EmFraiche December 4, 2013
Made a batch of your kimchi on Sunday, and we've already started digging into it. I think we're going to need a bigger batch soon. We haven't tired of eating it plain, but thanks for more ideas of ways to use it!
ZombieCupcake December 4, 2013
I had to tell sauerkraut that, I had moved on and found kimchi.
MILKimchi December 4, 2013
Thanks for all the kimchi love... it is truly an ingenious ingredient and condiment that goes with everything. The tangy, spicy, umami flavors brighten any dish with a does of probiotics for our gut. Make some kimchi at home so you always have some in the fridge like any good Korean household!
laurenlocally December 4, 2013
I love this post and the ideas in here. My host mother in Japan ate kimchi almost nightly, and it has become a favorite of mine. I am particularly excited to try it with grilled cheese! Genius idea, Lauryn!
Joy B. December 4, 2013
Love kimchi with ramen!
Steve H. December 4, 2013
Kimchi is such an unknown food in the west. Nice to highlight it!
HalfPint December 4, 2013
Love kimchi str-fried with tofu and pork belly!