Friday, December 3, 2010

Korean Pork Belly Fries: Crazy Delicious Fusion

I'm still musing about that lusciously tender pork belly, the last of which ended up in a batch of fried rice the other night for dinner. But, I also can't stop thinking about the Korean pork belly fries we made with that first round of succulent meat.
It started with an article I read about Chicago's Del Seoul restaurant, located in Lincoln Park, which presents a delicious jumble of Asian inspired fusion cuisine -- cross-cultural tacos, banh mi sandwiches, dumplings, and a variety of not-so-traditional riffs on traditional Asian fare.

One thing on their menu that caught our attention right away were the "Kimchi fries" -- thick hand-cut fries topped with sautéed kimchi and onions, kimchi salsa, thin slices of pork and topped with melted cheddar and Jack cheeses, sour cream, and scallions.

When I mentioned the idea of making these "meal worthy" fries for Thanksgiving, Peef looked at me earnestly, a small tear developing in the corner of his eye, and replied, "Yes, please."

From there, the game was ON.

We started a few days early to give ourselves time to put together a homemade batch of Korean kimchi. Following the wisdom of a variety of recipes, we decided upon a simple version of the classic -- featuring locally grown Napa cabbage and gorgeous fuschia-flecked Beauty Heart radishes.
By the time Thanksgiving arrived, our kimchi was bubbling along nicely and it was time to think about making up a kimchi salsa. We kept things simple by putting together a few diced Campari tomatoes (not local, but as good as we'll find this time of the year in Wisconsin), about 1/2 cup of finely diced kimchi, a small handful of chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. The salsa was fresh and spicy with a pleasantly vinegary/limey kick and a LOT of flavor. This salsa would be great with tortilla chips or on fish tacos.
We also sliced up an onion and sauteed it with about 1/2 cup of the kimchi. To that mixture, we added some of the roasted pork belly and set the mixture aside.
And then it was time to make fries. We cut our potatoes (skin-on) into medium sized fries, rinsed them and soaked them in ice water for a few hours, and then gave them a double fry at 375 F -- first for about 10 minutes, and then 2-3 minutes for the second phase.
And finally... we covered those steaming hot, crispy fries with the sauteed kimchi & onions and some shredded Monterey jack & cheddar cheeses. A few moments under the broiler made everything melty -- and then we piled on a dose of the kimchi salsa, some chopped scallions, and a drizzle of sour cream.
You'd think these fries might turn out to be kimchi overload - but they're really not. The vinegar makes a great foil for the richness of the pork belly and the fries. The cooked kimchi delivers a completely different (more subtle) flavor than the fresh, and the salsa really brings a freshness to the dish that made all the other flavors pop.

The verdict? Divine! And crazy delicious.

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  1. I am still not sure if I like kimchi or not. I first heard about it a while ago and couldn't resist trying it out myself. Now with a homemade version, mind you, but with a bottled one. Which might have been the problem in the first place, as I simply did not think to make it myself.. :)
    Your dish does look so good I might give kimchi another try!

  2. I have actually never had kimchi. That sounds unbelievable just writing it.

    As for the pork belly, and the last post, I'd still be dreaming about it too. Talk about crazy delicious.

    How do I get an invitation to Thanksgiving at your house next year?

  3. Korean Pork Belly Fries is an added flavor for the the fries and creams in it. Great cooking !

  4. There's a food truck that specializes in different kinds of French fries here in LA. They have an offering like this too. Sounds good!

  5. Oh my goodness...I'm drooling! I adore kimichi, and of course, I love french fries. You have done something truly magical. Two thumbs up for creativity and I would give you four thumbs up for the recipe (if I could!) Thank you so much for sharing. I hope your week is full of joy!

  6. Its like an Asian version on poutine!

  7. I'm kimchi obsessed, this is killer!


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