Monday, August 28, 2006


Kimchi Pasta Salad

I have spent quite a bit of time over the last three years posting recipes on this site because I want to share something that I am passionate about: sensational food, from simple recipes, made with fresh ingredients and exploding with flavor.

I sincerely love trying new things - things that are unexpected and a little bit off the beaten path, and it's my intention that my recipes reflect that. Of course, by putting my own version of things out to the world, I do hope I can inspire a few of you to try something new too, based on what I have ventured forth and made, loved and written about. Or, you know, at the bare minimum, lure you in to admire my mind-blowing photography and witty banter. (Ha Ha)

This delectable pasta salad, which is a flawless dish for a warm afternoon, is a combination of all of the things I just mentioned. It is simple, flavorful and totally different from the norm.

It started for me with a visit to the market in Koreatown, which is like visiting a candy store. I just can't resist buying a huge pile of goodies. The shop I go to (and no, I don’t know the name, is that shameful? Super-fantastic Leiha knows. She introduced me to it) is pristinely clean and has such an abundance of interesting and (new to me) foods it makes every trip a taste-bud enticing adventure. The kimchi section alone is enough to make your eyes bug out in wonder. The seemingly endless array, in containers as small as a half pint and as large as two gallons line the refrigerated section just waiting to be dipped in to. Oh baby, is that ever a good thing.

Kimchi, for those of you unfamiliar, is Napa cabbage (and radish, and more, depending on the cook) pickled/fermented with red pepper, garlic, ginger and a small amount of fish sauce. It is a relish that is about as ubiquitous in Korean homes as salt and pepper is in ours. Lately, it has also been proven to be an a fantastic health food. "Cabbage is packed with vitamins that may boost the immune system, and fermented cabbage contains lactic acid, which helps with digestion and may weaken infections" CBS NEWS.

I personally buy Cosmo brand, because the price is right (the container pictured cost $5.00 in the Korean supermarket and is sold for $8.00 at Ralphs) it is made locally and you know how I love my MADE IN L.A. products, but any brand (or your own version) will do in this recipe. But even with my serious obsession with kimchi, I can only eat so much of it mixed with rice and cold fried tofu (my normal treatment) so I came up with this as an alternative.

The dish is perfectly crunchy, spicy, sweet and salty. It has a zip to it you won’t believe. Low-fat but high in flavor, it is different, but familiar. A fusion dish with a lot of pow, that comes together in a snap. One warning: sample the kimchi before you add it, to see how spicy it is. They can vary widely. So my petit chou, try this very non-traditional use for kimchi, and enjoy.

1 cup kimchi, diced, liquid reserved
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 small cucumber, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 carrot, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 minced chile pepper (use to taste)
1 pound farfalla pasta, cooked in salted water, drained and cooled
Minced peanuts and parsley or cilantro for garnish

Combine the first six ingredients, toss, then season to taste. Let the pasta absorb the flavors for at least 20 minutes. Garnish with peanuts and cilantro or parsley and serve.

Additional vegetables such as bean sprouts, radish and jicama would also be tasty. Soy sauce or fish sauce would also be nice additions.


Researchers wanted to know why Polish women have low rates of breast cancer. They discovered that women who ate four or more servings of raw or barely cooked cabbage per week during adolescence were 74 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than the women who ate 1.5 or fewer servings per week.

Traditional kimchi is stored in sealed jars and either buried or stored in underground cellars for up to a month.

Here is a list of Korean Markets in the U.S.

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That looks really good, I'd never have thought of using kimchi with pasta!
How fun! You know I love me some kimchee (when i eat ramen, which would be when i have nothing left in the house, kimchee tastes great with it) and I can't wait to try this recipe. Of course, I first have to find an apartment and then a korean store (thanks for the link chick).

As for the name of the market in K-town, it's either HK Market or California market. I always get them mixed up, LOL.
I've heard making homemade kimchee makes the whole neighborhood reek! lol
holy effin' brilliant!!!

of course, i also have absolutely no problem plucking kimchee straight from the jar with chopsticks and eating it, standing there in front of the fridge, my ass propping the door open. LOL!
Sadly, my love of kimchi has vanished. Commensurate with the opening of the Korean Fusion restaurant next door all my previous tastes for things korean have vanished. I'm hoping my love for this wonderful food reappears as soon as the restaurant fails or its owners suffer very painful massive strokes.

Love your site.
I love Korean food and your "fresh approach" to it looks delicious!
I make a great summer kimchi salad with rice (leftover Chinese takeout is great), tofu cubes, kimchi, and whatever vegetables I have around (cilantro?). Peanuts sound good.
Looks amazing! I definitely have to try this. Love Kimchi. I get the Cosmos brand as well. Great site too. Glad to find another LA themed food blog. I'm linking you to my site. Please feel free to check out my site as well.
I love this! I've always enjoyed kimchee with hot rice pilaf. This is fantastic! thanks!
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