Korean Chili Con Carne
Red Beans, Kimchi, Shishito Peppers
Sesame Garlic Yogurt, Yellow Picked Radish, Scallion
How’s your Korean food vocabulary? Gochujang, gochugaru, kkwarigochu, pat, kimchi, danmuji, pachae, chamgireum and bokkeun-kkae are some of the ingredients that transform a traditional chili con carne into this super-flavorful Korean Chili with a unique topping.
Gochujang and gochugaru are sold in varying degrees of spiciness. For this recipe, I use medium-hot heat level as shown on the packaging. Gochujang is a Korean red chili paste with sweet heat and a fermented umami richness. It has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried Korean red peppers. Gochugaru, also made from sun-dried red peppers, is a coarse-ground chili powder. Together, they give this chili its distinctive Korean spiciness. Kkwarigochu (shishito) are thin-walled mild peppers with a fresh green vegetal flavor and just a whisper of heat. But beware, every once in a while, there’s a hot one in the bunch! Kkwarigochu stand in for green bell pepper used in standard recipes.
The usual Western chili toppings of onion, cheese, and sour cream are replaced with a Korean flair. Pachae (curled green scallion) stands in for the diced white onion. Yellow cheddar is replaced by danmuji, a yellow pickled radish that is sweet, sour and crispy. Thick tangy yogurt gets a punch from garlic and rich toasty notes from sesame oil. Finally bokkeun-kkae (toasted sesame seeds) add visual appeal, nutty notes, they are a common Korean garnish.
Korean Chili con Carne with Red Beans and Kimchi Recipe
- 1 1/2 c. pat (dried red beans, aka adzuki)
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 5 oz. kkwarigochu (shishito peppers), mostly seeded, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 c. napa cabbage kimchi, chopped, including juice
- 1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes (preferably san marzano)
- 1 1/2 c. beef stock
- 4 T. tomato paste
- 2 T. gochujang (red pepper paste, medium heat)
- 2 T. gochugaru (red pepper powder, coarse-ground, medium heat)
- 1 1/4 lb. ground beef
- 3/4 lb. ground pork
- salt and pepper
Soak red beans in water overnight. Rinse, then place in a medium pot. Cover with water 2 inches above the beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered, for approximately 45 minutes or until the beans are tender taking care not to overcook. Drain beans.
Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot, sauté onion until translucent. Add shishito peppers and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant but not browned. Add kimchi, cook a few more minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle gochugaru over the mixture, stir to incorporate.
Add canned tomato, break up tomato (with a potato masher works great). Continue to cook over medium-low heat.
Blend tomato paste and gochujang with hot beef stock. Whisk until smooth. Add this mixture to the pot.
Meanwhile, cook beef and pork in separate pans, broken up into bite-sized pieces. Cook until browned. Drain the fat then season the meats with salt and pepper. Add meats to the chili pot. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Finally, add beans, mix it all together, taking care not to break up the beans. Simmer an additional 10 minutes or more. Taste and adjust the salt. Ladle chili into bowls and top with garnish.
Yield: about 4 qts.
Sesame Garlic Yogurt
- 6 oz. greek yogurt
- 1 t. olive oil
- 1 t. chamgireum (korean sesame oil)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt to taste
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- sesame garlic yogurt
- danmuji (pickled yellow radish) sliced or diced
- pachae (curled scallion, how to here)
- bokkeun-kkae (toasted sesame seeds)
Place a generous dollop of sesame garlic yogurt on top of the chili. Top with pickled radish and curled scallion. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
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