Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish, usually made with fermented cabbage. I lived in Seoul from the age of 1 to 3, and so this deliciously spicy and sour dish has always been a staple in my family – our fridge is rarely without it. Kimchi is low in calories and full of fiber (a winning combination), and has the added bonus of being addictively delicious. The first time I made this meal for Mr. A, I woke up in the middle of night to find him raiding the fridge for the leftovers – it’s that good.
Despite having lived in South Korea, the only words that still remain with me (besides the first word I ever spoke, which was 고양이, the Korean word for ‘cat’) are off a menu. If you have never tried Korean food, you should – get yourself down to a restaurant and get yourself an order of kimchi, with pajeon (a Korean seafood pancake) and Bulgogi (Korean marinated beef). I’d recommend those dishes for a newbie – but definitely not for a first date, as Korean cuisine is very garlic-heavy!
As with all my recipes, this isn’t a strictly traditional recipe for Korean BBQ. In my family, we usually have this for Sunday lunch – it’s perfect for eating family style, and can get quite messy.
- Some steak, or good-quality beef
- Sesame oil
- Coarse salt (I use kosher salt)
- Frying pan and camp stove, or hot plate
- Kimchi (one packet)
- A lot of napkins
- You really can’t get more simple than this – prepare all the trimmings.
- Cook the rice, wash the lettuce, decant the kimchi into bowls.
- Put sesame oil in a small dish with a small heap of the coarse salt (around 5 tablespoons of oil).
- Once you are ready to eat, turn on the hob to a high heat and start frying the beef.
- There’s no need to oil the pan, and I recommend cutting the beef into small, bite-sized strips.
- Take a lettuce leaf, and fill with a small spoonful of rice and some kimchi.
- Once the beef has cooked, pop that in as well, and wrap it up into a deliciously crunchy bundle.
- Dip the parcel into the salty sesame oil, and enjoy the different textures and flavours.
It’s fresh, but also feels indulgent – and is a fairly fuss free meal, too! Perfect for having friends round, as everyone can take part, and is a great for a dinner party, especially if the guests don’t all know each other.
Serve with a nice red wine, or even some sake or soju!