My first impression of Korean food was its striking similarity to eastern European cuisine. Some dishes reminded me a lot of my grandmother’s goulash. I noticed that gochugaru had sweet aromatic properties similar to Hungarian paprika. Kimchi jjigae tasted a bit like borscht, which is why it’s great with a dollop of sour cream.
It wasn’t until I was in that international cooking contest that I saw a dish by Maria Bakhmurova that made me smack my forehead–Kimchi Golubtsy.
They’re just like my grandmother’s cabbage rolls (which we called “Pigs in a Blanket”) but with kimchi. Yes, I know the LiteralNet will point out that kimchi is pickled cabbage, but you see why I slapped my forehead. Such a simple leap in ingredients. And the tartness in the kimchi reduces the need for a sour vinegary sauce. I wasn’t able to talk to Maria and ask for her recipe, so I had to try to make this on my own. But make sure that credit goes to her for the original idea.
Kimchi Golubtsy (Cabbage Rolls)
Category: Modern Korean, Top Posts, Top Posts - Winter
1 lbs. Ground Pork
1 Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/4 cup Red Wine
3 Sesame Leaves, chopped
1/2 cup White Rice, cooked
Salt and Pepper
1 head Cabbage Kimchi
Score the tomatoes by making a cross on one end. Start some boiling water and get ready a bath of ice water in a bowl. When the water boils, put the tomatoes in for around 20 seconds and immediately douse them in the bowl of ice water.
Peel the tomatoes and squish them to get out the seeds and excess juice. Chop them up and set aside.
Brown the pork in a skillet over medium high heat.
Add 1/4 cup of the tomatoes, onion, garlic and red wine. Let much of the liquid boil out so it's a little thick.
Add the sesame leaves and take off the heat.
When the meat has cooled a bit, add the egg, rice, salt and pepper and mix by hand.
Separate the kimchi leaves from the main head and steam them in a steamer basket over boiling water for two minutes. Let cool.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Take a kimchi leaf and put around a tablespoon or two of the meat mixture near the root side. Roll the root side over the meat like you're tucking it into bed. Fold the sides over and finish rolling it like a burrito or egg roll. You may need to cut some of the leaves in half if they're too large.
Place all the kimchi rolls in a casserole dish and cover with the remaining tomatoes. Layer any remaining leaves on top.
Cook in the oven, covered, for 30-45 minutes. Let settle a bit and serve.
Joe McPherson founded ZenKimchi in 2004. He has been featured and sourced in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, CNN, KBS, MBC, SBS, Le Figaro, Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, Harper’s Bazaar Korea, The Chosun Weekly, and other Korean and international media. He has consulted for "Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain," The Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” Lonely Planet, National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, the PBS documentary series “Kimchi Chronicles,” and other projects in the UK, Canada, and Australia featuring celebrity chefs such as Gizzi Erskine and Gary Mehigan. Mr. McPherson has written for multiple Korean and international publications, including SEOUL Magazine, JoongAng Daily, The Korea Herald, Newsweek Korea and wrote the feature article for U.S. National publication Plate magazine’s all-Korean food issue. He has acted as dining editor for 10 Magazine and was on the judging panel for Korea for the Miele Guide. He spoke at TEDx Seoul on Korean food globalization, at TED Worldwide Talent Search on the rise of Korean cuisine, and in New York City on Korean Buddhist temple cuisine. The company ZenKimchi International organizes food tours for tourists and corporations and acts as a media liaison for foreign and Korean media and local restaurants and producers.