Kimchi chicken curry is a fusion of Korean and Indian flavors. One of the ingredients I love to play around with is kimchi. Kimchi is spicy Korean-style fermented vegetables. The most popular version is made with Chinese cabbage, which is what I also use whenever I make it.
I like to add it to omelets, soup, sandwiches, even dal (Indian lentil dish). It’s a fun ingredient to play around with because it’s delicious, packed with flavor and it’s healthy too! It’s an easy way to increase our consumption of vegetables. Plus, fermentation makes nutrients present in the food easier for the body to digest and absorb. There is also beneficial bacteria for the gut (probiotics) present in fermented foods, although they die off if you cook it.
Here, I have combined certain components of Indian cooking like browning the onions and using spices, with kimchi. This dish has butter too, but because I don’t want to receive a backlash from the many individuals with a Butter Chicken fetish, I have chosen to play it safe and call it Kimchi Chicken Curry 🙂
Know that I don’t like super spicy food (weird, I know) so in general I like to use less spices and chili than other Indian cooks. You can always increase (or decrease) the amount of spices you use though!
Kimchi Chicken Curry
- 500 g chicken legs and thighs
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp kimchi juice
- dash black pepper
Caramelized onions and kimchi
- 3 medium onions, diced
- 2 tbsp butter (I used unsalted)
- 1/2 cup chopped kimchi, juice squeezed out
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp coriander powder
- 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1-2 tsp sugar, or to taste
- 2-3 tbsp cream (I used 25%)
- 1/8 tsp chili powder, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- At least two hours before cooking, combine the chicken pieces, soy sauce, kimchi juice and black pepper in a container and keep it in the fridge.
Caramelized onions and kimchi
- Over the lowest heat you can manage, melt 2 tbsp butter in a flat, heavy-bottomed pan (a deep one is ideal) and add the diced onions.
- Let the onions cook and caramelize slowly, but move them around every 5 minutes, scraping anything that sticks to the bottom with a wooden spoon. It took me 20-25 minutes to get my onions as brown as I wanted them to be. You can do it for longer for a darker, sweeter flavor.
- Once the onions were brown enough, I added in the 1/2 cup of chopped kimchi (juice squeezed out) and continued cooking over low heat for another 5 minutes.
Gravy (sauce) and cooking the chicken
- Scrape off any brown bits that are at the bottom of your pan and add 2 cups of water.
- Transfer this mixture to a blender to blend this mixture into a smooth gravy and then transfer this mixture back to the same pan (or use an immersion blender for less hassle).
- To the gravy, add the chicken along with its soy sauce-kimchi juice marinade and all the spices: cumin powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder, the bay leaf, and the soy sauce and cream.
- Over the lowest heat you can manage on your stove (I put my pan on an iron tawa/pan on the lowest fire for even lower heat), cover your pan and cook the chicken for 1 to 1.5 hours until the meat is falling off the bone and the gravy is the consistency you like.Check it every 30 minutes to see if you need to add a little water. I didn't have to add any in mine but yours might need it.If your sauce is too thin after 1.5 hours, cook it a little bit more, maybe for ~10 minutes.
- Once your chicken is done cooking, add the garam masala, chili powder (optional, to taste), sugar (optional, to taste), 2-3 tbsp more butter and salt, if needed.
- Garnish with green onion or coriander/cilantro and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with rice of choice – steamed rice, jeera rice, or Korean short grain rice :p