Kimchi is the single most important dish in Korea. There are many pickled varieties but the most commonly known is wombok also known as napa cabbage and it is pickled with chilli. If every person in South Korea has 1.5 tablespoons of kimchi with their breakfast, lunch and dinner that adds up to an astonishing 36 kilos consumed annually per person. The word ‘kim chi’ has gone through many variations and one ancient meaning literally translates to “submerged vegetable”. Like all pickles it was a way to prolong the life of a vegetable and became popular as far back as 57 BC as the religion Buddhism was growing and encouraged vegetarianism.
So incredibly important is kimchi to the Korean palate that when they sent their very first astronaut Yi So-yeon into space 13 years ago scientists devised a special “space kimchi” that would survive bacteria-free. On earth the microorganisms that occur when fermentation take place are essential in producing the powerful probiotic bacteria, antioxidants and vitamin C which make this side dish such a powerful healthful super food. And what is so good about this that an entire population wants to add it to every meal? Kimchi is surprisingly sweet although vinegary, the thicker more substantial parts of the stalk are bouncy to bite into and bursting with juice and drooping tendrils are delicately drenched in hot sauce. Perhaps the addictive quality is the fault of the chilli. Whatever savoury dish you add it to it provides a lovely contrast in flavour, texture and even temperature.
This recipe has been inspired from the Korean dish kimchibuchimgae which is a giant pancake version and often made with slices of meat inside. Like all the tastiest recipes which have survived the ages, passed down through generations of fond memories, it is a common way any ordinary person can use up an abundance of produce. Nothing goes to waste. The bright red juice reserved from the kimchi combined with flour make a tangerine coloured pancake. The fritter has a lovely warm heat from the chilli harmonised with umami notes and is overall chewy and slightly crispy. The vegetables inside give it a nice bounce. Note as kimchi typically contains fish sauce it’s not vegan however some supermarkets do sell a vegan variety.
The beauty of this recipe is it is literally 4 ingredients. Very fast. Simply chop, mix and fry! This is a tasty rapid recipe and quite unique in the savour. Whip up the spicy mayo as a dipping sauce or serve to the side. The gochujang “red chilli paste” contains glutinous rice which make it starchy. Gochujang hits you not only in a fiery way but has an interesting smoky and sweet effect at the same time. It is a great addition to have in your pantry as it can be added to so many dishes not just Korean but also a pasta sauce or marinade. It adds a wonderful deep flavour with a hit of spice, and different levels of heat are available.
These kimchi fritters are tasty as an entree or finger food to dip in the spicy mayo or to make this simple dish more substantial and even more wondrously wholesome you can poach a couple of eggs and smash some avocado too. The simpleness of this recipe yet the complex yielding results you receive in terms of flavour and texture make this a very rewarding one to have in your repertoire. Golden egg yolks bursting over chilli umami chewy crispy kimchi fritters with creamy smooth smashed avocado and smoky spicy sauce. Can we salivate any more? What a probiotic, protein rich, vitamin C powerful puncher this is! Perhaps the nourishment of kimchi is more the beauty secret than the natural genetics of the shining porcelain skin of K drama stars.
No need to add any seasoning like salt , pepper or spice as the kimchi is loaded with seasoning already.
Use gloves when handling kimchi and be careful of your kitchen bench top from staining.
Order of Preparation
1. Make fritter mix and put in the fridge
2. Make spicy mayo
3. Smash avocado with juice of ½ a lemon
4. Cook poached eggs
5. Cook the fritters
6. Assemble the dish
Serve with poached or fried eggs, smashed avo, and spicy mayo.
Or serve as an entrée with spicy mayo as a dipping sauce. If serving fritters as an entrée you can cook them as a smaller finger food size.
As they say in Korean “mas-issge deuseyo” (enjoy your meal!)
- 500 gms of Kimchi strain and reserve brine
- 6 long shallots finely sliced
- 1 Cup SR flour
- 2 eggs
Spicy mayo Ingredients:
- ¾ cup kewpie mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon of Gochujang
- ¼ teaspoon of Korean chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- Mix all ingredients together in bowl.
- Optional extras for serving:
- 1-2 avocados smash with ½ a lemon
- Eggs poach in water with a dash of vinegar
- Finely slice the kimchi.
- In a large mixing bowl add the green onions, flour and eggs and mix.
- Add 4 Tablespoons of kimchi brine (or water if you want a more mild version) and mix.
- Cook heaped tablespoons of fritter mix in a frying pan on medium heat for a few minutes on each side.
If you loved this recipe check out our Leek & herb fritters Recipe!