Recipe: Grilled Cheese with a Korean Twist

Quick, easy, and unexpectedly delicious.

Blending cheese with Asian ingredients always felt wrong to me. Until I moved to Asia. There I discovered folks add cheese to all sorts of dishes with tasty results—Parmesan Cheese Ramen, Cheese Dakgalbi, and even the humble Ham & Cheese Buns found in most Chinese bakeries.

Here’s my choice for a fun and simple Asian fusion dish—a traditional grilled cheese sandwich with spicy kimchi.

I’ve made this tasty dish for lunch and dinner many times. I think you’ll absolutely love how the salty, gooey cheese and crisp golden garlic bread pair with the heat and umami funk of this Korean staple.

A crispy golden Kimchi Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Kimchi Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Makes 2 sandwiches

1/2 c kimchi
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp salted butter at room temperature
4 slices of rustic bread
200 g La Religieuse, grated

  1. Roughly chop the kimchi. Then use your hands to squeeze the kimchi over a bowl to remove as much moisture as possible. Discard the liquid and set aside the chopped kimchi.
  2. Whip the garlic powder into the softened butter in a small bowl until well combined. Spread a generous amount of the garlic butter on only one side of each slice of bread.
  3. Place two slices of bread, butter side down, in a frying pan preheated over medium heat.
  4. On each slice of bread in the pan, layer about 50 g cheese, then half the kimchi, then another 50 g of cheese. Finally, place a piece of bread, butter side up, on top of each sandwich in the pan and press flat with a sturdy spatula.
  5. Cook each side of the sandwich until it is a deep golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Then remove the sandwiches to a cutting board and slice in half. Serve immediately.
  • You can add more spicy heat by serving with a mixture of ketchup and gochujang (Korean chili paste) for dipping.
  • I also like to make this recipe with goat cheese which adds a pleasant tang.
  • Thanks to an explosion in interest in Korean food, kimchi and gochujang are available at many grocery stores. Otherwise, they can be found in Asian markets.

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