Chicago chef Bill Kim marries Korean and American flavors in Korean BBQ. From kimchi-spiked potato salad to these drunken lamb chops, change up your typical barbecue fair.
One of the great mysteries for me when I go out to traditional Korean barbecue restaurants in America is that they all serve the same generic mayonnaise-based potato salad that you can find in the deli section of any grocery store in the country. Who said potato salad was a Korean banchan (snack or side dish), anyway? I always shake my head when the mayo potato salad hits the table and think that it would be so much better to combine potatoes, which are pretty mild, with kimchi. This recipe is my chance to prove my point!
I learned about nuoc cham from Arun Sampanthavivat, whose Chicago restaurant, Arun’s, is considered to be one of the best Thai restaurants in the world. Nuoc cham is a Vietnamese dipping sauce with big, bright flavors; it’s tangy, funky, sour, and sweet all at once. I add green Thai chilies to give it some heat and use it not only as a dipping sauce but also as the base for marinades and dressings. This sauce is also a great foundation for things you wouldn’t consider very Asian, like my Korean pesto and even my pimento cheese dip.
- 3 pounds small red potatoes, halved
- 1 1/2 cups Nuoc Cham Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups kimchi, homemade or store-bought
- 1/4 cup extra-hot prepared horseradish
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Nuoc Cham Sauce (makes 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 green Thai chilies, minced, with seeds
For the nuoc cham
Combine the brown sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, water, garlic, and chilies in a small bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months. Or freeze in standard ice-cube trays, then transfer the cubes (2 tablespoons each) to plastic freezer bags and freeze for up to 2 months.
For the potato salad
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, add water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and cut them into smaller pieces if you like.
Place the Nuoc Cham Sauce, ½ cup of the kimchi, and the horseradish in a food processor and process for about 1 minute, or until well blended and smooth. Transfer the sauce to a large bowl and stir in the remaining 1 cup kimchi, celery, onion, and cilantro, mixing well. Add the potatoes and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to eat. It will keep for up to 3 days.