Korean Nachos with Kimchi and Bulgogi Beef


Last week at this time we were collectively stress eating – and cooking – me doing my best to distract myself in the kitchen, simultaneously trying to come up with something munchy-snacky-comforting we could eat on the couch in front of the TV, when this passed through my Instagram field of vision. A pile of nacho-style fried wontons topped with salty-sweet bulgogi beef, kimchi and cheese sauce. Brilliance? I think so.


First of all: the crispy wontons, which are simply wonton wrappers, halved and fried in a shallow skiff of oil in a small skillet (you don’t need much – and they cook up in less than a minute) which transforms them into a delicious cross between cracker and chip. I am so keeping this technique in my back pocket for those nights when we need some salt and crunch with structural integrity – they would do well with a hefty, cheesy baked artichoke dip. Mental note.


In this scenario, they’re topped with bulgogi beef – paper-thin slices of beef (I pick up mine at Arirang on 10th Ave SW – it’s difficult to cut that thin yourself) marinated in garlic, ginger, soy sauce and brown sugar, and often a diced Asian pear, but I li. Bulgogi beef is delicious as-is, and cooks up in a couple minutes in a hot skillet – to use fried wontons as a vehicle is just the best idea ever. As is adding chopped kimchi, and making a cheese sauce with a splash of the fermented kimchi brine. You don’t need to bake them – just assemble the layers and bring them to the coffee table.

This combo came from the brilliant minds at Serious Eats (seriouseats.com) – they also like to cook the kimchi in a hot skillet, which tames it somewhat, and drizzle the finished nachos with lime-spiked sour cream. If you’re so inclined.


Korean Nachos with Kimchi and Bulgogi Beef


November 14, 2016



1/2 lb sirloin or tenderloin, sliced paper-thin (bulgogi-style)

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. lime juice

1 green onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger


2 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. flour

1 cup milk

2 cups grated aged white cheddar

1/4 cup (or more) juice from the kimchi jar

Other stuff:

fresh wonton wrappers, halved diagonally

canola or other vegetable oil, for cooking

sea salt

1/2 cup chopped kimchi

fresh cilantro leaves

gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste - optional)

lime wedges (optional)


1To make the beef, toss it with all the marinade ingredients in a bowl or heavy duty zip-lock bag, coating the meat well. Refrigerate for a couple hours, or overnight.

2To make the cheese sauce, whisk together the butter and flour in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer, stirring as it thickens. Stir in the cheese and kimchi juice, stirring until melted and smooth.

3To cook the wontons, heat an inch or two of oil in a small, shallow pot or skillet until it’s hot but not smoking; cook about 4 pieces of the wonton at a time - or enough so that they aren’t overlapping - until they’re golden on both sides, turning with tongs. (This should only take a minute.) Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and shower with salt while they’re still warm.

4Set a skillet over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of oil and cook the bulgogi beef in batches, just until cooked through. (This will also take just a minute or two.)

5Top the wonton chips with bulgogi beef, cheese sauce, chopped kimchi and fresh cilantro; add a squirt of gochujang if you like, and serve with lime wedges. Serves 4-6.


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2 comments on “Korean Nachos with Kimchi and Bulgogi Beef

  1. Amy
    November 15, 2016 at 7:30 am

    LOVE Bulgogi beef! The more ways to eat it the better!

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