Kogi Kimchi Quesadillas

We finally got to try something other than our usual haemul pajeon (Korean scallion & seafood pancake) for our late-night snack when I ran into an article mentioning Chef Roy Choi, the man behind the famous Kogi BBQ truck and the man who inspired us with tonight’s appetizer recipe–kimchi quesadillas. I’m not sure why we haven’t done this dish before but it was well worth the wait. For those of you who don’t know about Roy Choi and the Kogi BBQ trucks, they combined the best of Korean food (kimchi and kogi, or bbq beef) and Mexican (tacos and quesadillas) and revolutionized the food culture in LA and beyond.  Fortunately, during my time in San Francisco I was able to try out a hybrid food truck called Seoul on Wheels that served similar food fare.  After one bite of their fusion burgers, I could definitely tell why this combination was such a big hit with the masses. That was a long time ago but I still remember their burgers packed with flavors I never knew existed (no joke!). Well anyways (and sorry for the digression), the quesadillas we made were simply delicious, giving off a nice crunch with each bite followed by an unbelievable combination of smooth tasting kimchi, beef, and melted cheese.  As with most recipes that we undertake, we usually tweak them to our liking and this was no exception. The original recipe included the main combination of kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage) and cheddar cheese, but the addition of thinly sliced beef really made it heartier and tastier. The only thing we forgot to include were the sesame seeds, which would have provided a nuttier taste and texture to the dish. Oh well, there’s always a next time.
Servings: 4 quesadillas
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb sirloin or ribeye, cut into thin strips
  • 1, 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups kimchi, drained and chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 8 (10-inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1, 2 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar (or mozzarella)
  • 1/2 tsp salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or vegetable oil)
Directions:
1. In a skillet or non-stick frying pan, melt the 1 tbsp butter and add the chopped kimchi, cook over medium heat until softened, 10 minutes. Remove any excess kimchi liquid and set aside. Seasoning with garlic powder is recommended.
2. In the same pan, saute the thin slices of beef on medium heat until browned. Add salt and pepper for seasoning. Remove any excess liquid and set aside.
3. On a large pan or griddle, brush small amount vegetable or olive oil on pan and coat evenly. Place 1 tortilla on the pan and spread the kimchi, meat, cheese, and green onions according to preference. Make sure to leave an inch from the edge clear and then top with another tortilla. Slightly press down by hand to compress the quesadilla. Drizzle some oil on the top tortilla and brush evenly to coat.
4. Heat the quesadilla until browned on the bottom, flip carefully and continue cooking until browned and blistered on both sides. When finished, carefully transfer to a cutting board and let cool for a few minutes. Cut into 4 equal pieces and transfer to serving plate. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 4 quesadillas. Mixing and matching ingredients to your liking is encouraged. ^^

 

*If you want a nice crispy crust to the tortillas, applying the oil is imperative. This will drastically improve the taste and texture of the quesadillas, while preventing them from getting soggy over time. ^^

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