Kimchi Mac and Cheese

A Korean twist on the classic Mac and Cheese, brace yourself for an umami tsunami!

Kimchi Mac and Cheese Recipe

The weather’s starting to get a bit chilly now and you know what goes perfectly with the cold? MAC AND CHEESE. And you know what else goes with cheese? Kimchi. This absolutely phenomenal fusion pays homage to Korea’s stroke of genius – the addition of cheese to just about everything e.g. tteokbokki, buldak, chicken galbi, the list goes on! The tanginess of the kimchi perfectly cuts the richness of the cheese and brings about an umami and almost fruity sort of flavour. The dashi then adds another depth to the cheesy sauce and elevates it to another level. This Kimchi Mac and Cheese is guaranteed to make you the most popular person at any party. Trust me, this is THE dish that is going to convert all you kimchi-hating individuals.

Kimchi Mac and Cheese Recipe

This Kimchi Mac and Cheese recipe is everything wonderful that a mac and cheese should be. It’s not overwhelmingly gooey, and is just the perfect balance of inner cheesiness with crispy edges and a crunchy top – comforting on every single level. The mac and cheese bit takes less than 10 minutes to put together, but the kimchi slices take a little more time to dry out in the oven. This dehydration process both caramelises and intensifies the kimchi flavour, 100% worth the effort!!! 

Kimchi Mac and Cheese Recipe

Kimchi Mac and Cheese Recipe

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Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup kimchi (Note )
  • 40g panko breadcrumbs
  • 200g dried macaroni
  • 150g smoked bacon, diced
  • 15g butter
  • 15g flour
  • 80g red leicester cheese (or cheddar), shredded
  • 1 tablespoon dashi stock powder
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Gochugaru (optional)

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 120°C.

2

Lay out the kimchi slices on a baking sheet in a single layer, ensuring that the edges don’t touch. Pop it in the oven for two hours (or until it becomes crispy and charred but keep an eye on it) then let cool for 20 minutes. Chop the dried kimchi into small pieces (or blitz it in a food processor) and set aside (Note 2).

3

In a pot, cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain when ready.

4

While the pasta is cooking, heat a pan over medium high heat (no oil) and toast the breadcrumbs until lightly golden. Add in the dried kimchi pieces and toss until well-combined. Remove it from pan and set aside.

5

In the same pan, fry the bacon for 8 minutes, then remove from pan.

6

Melt the butter in the pan, stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes. Add in the milk gradually, and stir until incorporated before adding more. Mix in the macaroni and bacon, and season to taste.

7

Transfer the macaroni mixture into a greased baking dish, top with the kimchi-panko mix and bake at 160°C for 10 minutes.

8

Serve immediately and garnish with gochugaru (korean red pepper flakes) if using.

Notes

1. I used pre-sliced kimchi from the supermarket. If you made your own, 1) well done you and 2) slice them into strips that are about 2 inches long before baking them.
2. How charred the kimchi slices get in the oven depends on the sugar content in your kimchi. Mine looked quite dark but it definitely didn’t taste bitter so don’t worry!

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