Yes, these are Kimchi Fries - and oh - my - where have you been all my life!
If you're from the Austin, TX area - you KNOW they're a thing! Thankfully now I can make these at home anytime I want which I guarantee - will be a LOT!
This inspiration for this recipe came after I heard the story of entrepreneur Jae Kim and his now-famous restaurant chain, Chi'Lantros.
He was so desperate to make his food truck successful, and hated the idea of throwing out so much food every day - he threw it all into one basket instead - fries, Korean BBQ beef, kimchi, whatever he had - and put it on the menu.
His loaded Kimchi Fries are now famous, landing him a $600k win on Shark Tank, and a whole fleet of food trucks and 7 Chi'Lantros restaurants throughout Austin.
I never thought to combine french fries with kimchi!
I mean it sounds kind of odd - right? But I LOVE Kimchi so much - I actually made it myself - and it was AWESOME! Recipe here.
And then I found Joanne Molinaro, aka The Korean Vegan. She puts her own spin on the recipe in this video here, and I thought, "Man, that looks SO good!. Hey, wait! I have a cheese sauce! I have some Korean Chile Flakes! I can DO this!"
And the rest - as they say - is history. So thank you, Jae & Joanne, for the inspiration, and here is MY version of the infamous Kimchi Fries - and completely oil-free.
Oil-Free Kimchi Fries
This is really an easy recipe - promise - but you will need a few things that may be a little hard to find. Check your area for Asian Markets - that will be your best bet, especially Korean Markets. Or check Whole Foods if you have one locally.
- Kimchi - most stores have it now but watch the ingredients to make sure there's no fish products or oil. The brand you see in the photo is 100% vegan and oil-free and I found it at Kroger (Fred Meyer).
- Gochugaru - These are Korean Chile Flakes and no, no other chile powder wil work. But if you can only find the paste version - Gochujang..... go with that.
- Gochujang - is a paste made from Gochugaru. It comes in a tub, like miso. Make sure you are not buying the sauce - but the PASTE. The sauce will be thinner and have extra ingredients you don't want.
- Amazon links to follow - and as an affiliate I do earn a little but at no extra cost to you.
The first step is to make my cheese sauce.
This is my original recipe with a few modifications. I used less carrot since the Kimchi and Chile Paste will add their own color. And of course, I added some Korean spice in the form of kimchi, gochujang, and 1 Tbs of gochugaru. As I said earlier, if you skip any ingredient - skip the flakes but do try to get the paste.
I used my Instant Pot to cook the potatoes and carrot for the cheese sauce - 7 min on manual with a 10 min natural release. Then it all goes into a blender and is blended until smooth and creamy.
If you already have some of my cheese sauce in the freezer - try adding a bit of kimchi, and some chile paste to it and reblending it.
Next, I made the Kimchi Topping.
Into a skillet I added the chopped onion, the white parts of the scallions, and the garlic along with 2-3 Tbs of veggie broth. When they have softened, add the remaining ingredients and simmer until it thickens and caramelizes.
Finally, I made the fries.
I used Yukon Golds as they seem to hold together better after boiling than russets do. But, use what you got. I cut them into ½" or so strips and tossed them into a pot of cold water that I added a few teaspoons of salt. When it comes to a boil, set the timer for 10 min then carefully drain.
I then placed the (hot) fries onto my air fryer basket. I don't use oil or parchment paper in my air fryer but you do what works best for you. Set it to 450° F for about 10-12 min, flipping or shaking occasionally.
If you want to bake them instead: Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and bake at 450° F for about 10-15 min or until browned. Check and flip frequently.
I piled my now crispy fries on a plate, covered them with some of that spicy cheese sauce, followed by that Kimchi topping, then more cheese sauce.
To garnish I used those green onion tops, sesame seeds, diced white onion, cilantro, and a few shakes of sriracha.
There are enough fries and kimchi for 2 servings....but you will have extra cheese sauce. No worries - it can go on veggies, bakes potatoes, rice, whatever you want. It won't go to waste and yes, it does freeze well too.
That's it for this week and I know all you kimchi lovers will devour this. If you haven't tried Kimchi - it's basically just fermented napa cabbage, kind of like sauerkraut, with a kick. The probiotics in kimchi are really good for you and I for one, love the flavor. Hopefully, you will too.
See you soon and be sure to tell me what you think in the comments.
These are Kimchi Fries and oh my - where have you been all my life! Kimchi topped fries smothered with a spicy cheese sauce... just say yes!
- 16 oz yukon gold potatoes (about 3 small to medium)
- 2 inch piece of carrot
- ½ cup water (used to boil potatoes - plus more to thin if needed)
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup kimchi
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 1 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbs Gochugaru (Korean chile flakes)
- 1 Tbs Gochujang (Korean chile paste)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp brown mustard
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 3 yukon golds cut into fries
- enough water to boil
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ cup diced onion
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 chopped green onions (white and green parts separated)
- 2-3 Tbs veggie broth
- ½ cup kimchi
- 1 Tbs Gochujang (Korean chile paste)
- 1 Tbs maple syrup
- diced onion
- green onion tops
- sesame seeds
- Prepare cheese sauce by cooking the potatoes and carrot until softened. In an instant pot, I used 1 cup of water and set it to 7 min on manual with a 10 min NPR.
- Add the contents of the IP to a blender with all the remaining cheese sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- To make the Kimchi topping - add the diced onion, white parts of the scallions, and garlic to a skillet along with 2-3 Tbs of veggie broth. Saute until softened, about 2 -3 min.
- Then add the remaining topping ingredients and simmer until thickened and caramelized - about 3-4 minutes.
- To make the fries - cut fries into ½" wide by ¼" thick strips. Add to a large pot of cold water with 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes. Carefully drain.
- If using an air fryer - arrange the (hot) fries in a single layer on the tray and cook at 450° F for 10-12 minutes - flipping or shaking occasionally.
- If baking the fries - arrange on a parchment-lined sheet pan instead. Same temp and time but keep an eye on them and do flip them occasionally.
- To plate - pile your fries onto a plate, add cheese sauce, then add the kimchi, then more cheese sauce, and whatever garnishes you like. I used scallion tops, sesame seeds, cilantro, diced white onion, and a few shakes of Sriracha
Keywords: kimchi fries