A Page from Roy Choi's Book

If you're a foodie, chances are you've heard of Roy Choi or the Kogi Truck. No? How about Korean short rib taco? Or Napa cabbage and romaine slaw dressed in soy-chili vinaigrette? Got it?
That's Roy Choi, the guy who made okay to put bulgogi in a taco and kimchi in a cheese quesadilla. 

I don't remember having actually tasted the creations from his mobile fleet, but I figured the culinary crossroad between Korean and Mexican food should be pretty tasty. After all, I like cheese, I salivate at the thought of Korean BBQ, and my growing appreciation for kimchi has nudged me to put it in anything from fried rice to omelets. Taking a page from Roy's book, I improvised with char siu (Chinese barbecued pork) and continued my exploration with kimchi in this East meets West creation.

You'll notice that this recipe yields many slices. The amount is perfect if you're serving them as hor d'oeuvres at a party. Otherwise be prepared to have leftovers... not like that's something to complain about.

Char Siu Kimchi Quesadilla 
Makes 4 full-size quesadillas

8 whole wheat tortillas (I'm partial to Trader Joe's Whole Grain Flour Tortilla with rolled oats and flax seeds) 
1/2 lb. char siu, sliced in thin strips (available at Chinese eateries that sell roasted meats) 
1 C kim chi, cut into thin strips 
1 C of shredded mild cheese (low fat or full fat) 
Oil, to coat pan (best to use: peanut, non-extra virgin olive oil, or unrefined coconut oil)

Start with a light drizzle of oil in the pan over medium heat. Once the pan is warmed up, put 1 tortilla in with a light layer of cheese. Scatter the char siu and kimchi in an even layer and sprinkle some more cheese over the top. Complete the quesadilla with another tortilla on top.

Using a large, flat spatula, flip the quesadilla over after the bottom tortilla gets some color. This usually takes about 3 to 4 minutes of each side.

Transfer quesadillas to cutting board and cut into slices using a sharp knife.

A mild cheese is important in this recipe because you don't want the it to compete with the char siu or kimchi. You'll notice in the photo that the fillings are sitting on squarely cut pieces of cheese. If you suspected they're sliced cheese, you're right! No particular reason for the subbing except there were extra mozzarella slices that needed to be used up. The cheese melted just fine and the flavor worked well in concert with the Asian components.

Kimchi is a general term for fermented vegetables in spices and sometimes chili paste. Most often, kimchi is associated with the fermented napa cabbage variety, but it can be made with radishes, cucumbers, or other veggies. It's a national dish in Korea and is served at almost every meal. Kimchi does contain some antiseptic properties, vitamins, minerals, and fibers, but most notably for its probiotics. Probiotics are friendly gut bacteria so just as people turn to sauerkraut and yogurt for them, kimchi is another great source for these digestive tract regulators!

See that slaw-ish type salad in the background? Don't worry... I'll have a recipe for the watermelon rind slaw coming soon!


Post a Comment

Share your thoughts!