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10 ways to use leftover kimchi

Explore the exciting world of kimchi with 10 creative ways to use up leftovers. From kimchi dumplings to spicy noodles, spice up your meals with these mouth-watering ideas. Happy kimchiing!
Written by: Kelly Choi
10 ways to use leftover kimchi

You can have great fun trying out all the ways to use up leftover kimchi. One way of using up leftover kimchi is simply to experiment. Add kimchi to sandwiches, burgers, pasta sauce, scrambled eggs, pizza, avocado on toast, a ploughman’s lunch — see what works for you. Another way is to try out our 10 tried and tested favourites below. Enjoy!

10 dishes to make with leftover kimchi 

Kimchi dumplings 

One of the most popular varieties of dumpling in Korea is kimchi mandu — of course there is a kimchi flavour dumpling! Usually, these dumplings will be jam-packed with mouth-watering kimchi, tofu and minced pork, but the ingredients can be varied, depending on your preference. You can also vary the texture of the dumplings. Koreans eat dumplings on any day of the year, but especially during Seollal (Korean New Year). Dumplings at Seollal will typically be served soft, in a soup (often with rice cakes). You can steam the dumplings (for example jjin mandu) for a soft consistency and as a healthier alternative to frying the dumplings. Frying the dumplings will provide a delicious crunchy texture (yaki mandu or gun mandu for example). Fried mandu is especially delicious served with a spicy, sweet sauce. 

Kimchi fried rice 

Easy, cheap and quick to make, one of the simplest ways to enjoy kimchi is kimchi fried rice (bokkeumbap or bokumbap). Kimchi fried rice is a typical home-comfort food in Korea. If you want to add some protein to the rice you can add a poached egg or some bacon. You can also vary the vegetables in kimchi: rice, mushrooms and spring onions are popular. Simply fry some garlic and bacon in a pan and once the bacon has browned, add diced kimchi and mushrooms. Then add the steamed rice (leftover rice is perfect!) Finally, add some kimchi juice and garnish with strips of seaweed and sesame seeds. 

Kimchi stew    

The spiciness of kimchi makes it the perfect addition to a warming, hearty kimchi stew (kimchichigae or kimchi jjigae). There are many different varieties of this stew due to varying ingredients, but one ingredient is unchanging — the kimchi! Many different vegetables can be used, including mushrooms, courgettes and potatoes. This spicy stew is perfect for cold weather or to bolster your spirits on a rainy day, but Koreans will eat it any time of the year; it’s just so flavoursome.

Kimchi pancakes 

Kimchi pancakes (kimchi-buchimgae or kimchijeon) are hugely popular in Korea. You simply add kimchi (including the kimchi juice) and chopped spring onions to a flour batter and fry like you would any pancake. Keeping it simple with just kimchi, spring onions and batter offers the perfect balance of sour, sweet and tangy. Perfect comfort food! You can also add meat and other vegetables if you want to vary it. We love involving our family and friends at Kelly Loves. So how about inviting loved ones over for a Korean pancake party? A fun and sociable way to use up leftover kimchi.

Kimchi udon

Kimchi udon is a popular stir-fry. No one wants to wait around for delicious food, so here’s another dish that you can rustle up quickly using leftover kimchi. It’s a great go-to dish for evenings when you’re tired and don’t feel like cooking. Brown some bacon on the stove and then throw in kimchi, udon noodles and Korean stir-fry sauce. Spicy, sour, tangy, nutty — all the flavours are in there. Job done. 

Tofu kimchi 

There are many different types of kimchi, but this isn't a new variety! The tofu and kimchi aren’t actually cooked together. ‘Tofu kimchi’ is stir-fried kimchi served alongside boiled tofu. The different cooking methods amplify the different flavours and textures, with the mild tofu and spicy kimchi complementing each other. It is a great vegetarian dish, but meat can be included — pork is a popular addition. Tofu kimchi is often served as a snack to have alongside a drink in Korea and it is also served as an appetiser or side dish.

Kimchi dip 

Creating a kimchi dip is a delicious way to use up leftover kimchi. You can stir some kimchi into guacamole, pico de gallo or houmous. Make sure to add a splash of kimchi juice/brine too. Alternatively, you can make up a kimchi salsa by finely chopping up napa cabbage, peppers, onions, chilli and garlic and then mixing the ingredients together with kimchi brine. You can dip tortilla chips into the kimchi salsa or you can add it to fajitas, burritos or tacos. These dips are great for adding a kimchi spin on the usual classics, perfect when hosting a party. 

Kimchi rice bowl 

A kimchi bowl offers a handy lunch or dinner as you can conveniently make it in advance. A rice bowl contains fluffy white rice at the bottom and then veggies and protein (such as marinated chicken, fish, egg or tofu) on top with some sauce. These bowls are colourful, wholesome and nutritious and can be vegan, vegetarian or they can contain meat. The different ingredients provide a range of complementing tastes and textures from sticky rice to soft tofu or crunchy cucumber. Simply put your rice base in the bottom of the bowl and then carefully arrange the other ingredients on top, slicing finely (the traditional arrangement is very Instagrammable!) Don’t forget the most important ingredient — a vibrant mound of kimchi which will add spice and fiery colour to the bowl. 

Kimchi spaghetti 

Kimchi is so versatile that it is used in fusion dishes such as kimchi macaroni cheese and kimchi spaghetti. The kimchi works really well in pasta sauces. Kimchi spaghetti is made with bacon, soy sauce, mushrooms and, of course, kimchi. Simply fry the ingredients in a wok to create the sauce. Then add to freshly cooked spaghetti and garnish with spring onions and sesame seeds and sprinkle with grated mozzarella. 

Spicy kimchi noodles 

There’s so many ways you can enjoy spicy kimchi noodles. One favourite is spicy cold kimchi noodles (kimchi bibim-guksu). This dish is quick and easy to make and will use up any leftover kimchi. Simply cook somen noodles and then cool them under a cold tap and drain thoroughly. Then mix the somen noodles with some kimchi and bibimbap sauce so that all the noodles are covered and served in a bowl with a poached egg and finely sliced cucumber on top

If you’re in a rush and have no time to prepare anything, you can add leftover kimchi to an authentic kimchi ramen noodle pot to make an extra special soup when you’re on the go or short on time. Kelly Loves kimchi ramen pots are quick and convenient but don’t compromise on the high-quality ingredients. Adding some extra kimchi to the ramen makes for a substantial snack or a yummy lunch.

These are just 10 ways of using up leftover kimchi, there are numerous other ways. Pretty much any savoury dish might benefit from the addition of a sour, tangy and spicy kimchi hit. Adding kimchi is a great way to elevate your meals and make them tastier. As for kimchi and sweet dishes…we haven’t gone there yet… (but spicy kimchi chocolate exists and kimchi chocolate cake recipes are out there to try!) If you’re feeling brave why not try making a kimchi chocolate cake? Or you can experiment with kimchi juice punch by using the kimchi brine as a mixer with quite the kick! Happy kimchiing….


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