Korean Chicken Sandwiches with Braised Kale & Kimchi

My (now-ex)coworker Kimberly and I both like Korean food, and while my Korean friend laughed and wondered what the heck this was when I showed her this recipe, it at least was a good excuse for Kimberly and I to get some kimchi in a last meal before she moved away. The original recipe used sliders, and said it makes enough for a dozen, but neither Kimberly nor I saw the point in tiny sandwiches – just ups the mess factor, in my mind, but you’re welcome to do sliders if you’d like!

IMG_6781Ingredients:

Chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons gochujang
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6 small thighs)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger,peeled, washed, and cut into 1/4-inch coins
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed

Kale/Kimchi:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cabbage kimchi, chopped
  • 4 ounces kale leaves, thick ribs and stems removed, chopped (5 cups chopped)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, plus optional additional soy sauce

Plus:

  • 12 small slider buns or 6 burger buns
  • mayonnaise

In a small bowl, combine the gochujang, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the water, then set aside.

IMG_6775Heat the oil in a 10″ pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, then brown the chicken on both sides, working in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pot. Set browned chicken aside.

Once all the chicken is browned and removed from the pot, pour the gochujang mixture in and stir, scraping up any browned chicken bits from the bottom. Add the ginger and garlic, then return the chicken to the pot in a single layer, along with any juices that have collected below it.

IMG_6776Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Remove the covered pot from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes.

IMG_6778Once the chicken is underway, make the kale mixture. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, then add the kimchi and cook for 30 seconds, or until hot and fragrant (as if kimchi is ever not fragrant). Add the kale, water, and soy sauce and stir together.

IMG_6777Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover, then let this mixture also simmer 30 minutes, until the kale is very tender. Taste the cooked kale and add more soy sauce if desired.

IMG_6780When the chicken’s 15 minute rest is over, remove the chicken to a bowl and shred the meat, using two forks. Pour 1/4 cup of the braising liquid into the bowl with the chicken and stir together.

IMG_6779Place a sheet pan in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Place the buns, cut-side down, on the preheated pan and bake 3-5 minutes, until just toasted. Spread a bit of mayo on the bottom buns, top with chicken, then the kale mixture, and the top bun, and serve.

IMG_6782Both the chicken and kale mixtures can be done a day in advance and reheated, plus you can make the recipe gluten free by using tamari instead of soy sauce and some corn taco shells instead of buns, so there’s a good amount of flexibility here!

Korean Chicken Sandwiches with Braised Kale & Kimchi

From the kitchn.

Chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons gochujang
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6 small thighs)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger,peeled, washed, and cut into 1/4-inch coins
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed

Kale/Kimchi:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cabbage kimchi, chopped
  • 4 ounces kale leaves, thick ribs and stems removed, chopped (5 cups chopped)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, plus optional additional soy sauce

Plus:

  • 12 small slider buns or 6 burger buns
  • mayonnaise

In a small bowl, combine the gochujang, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the water, then set aside.

Heat the oil in a 10″ pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, then brown the chicken on both sides, working in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pot. Set browned chicken aside.

Once all the chicken is browned and removed from the pot, pour the gochujang mixture in and stir, scraping up any browned chicken bits from the bottom. Add the ginger and garlic, then return the chicken to the pot in a single layer, along with any juices that have collected below it. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Remove the covered pot from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes.

Once the chicken is underway, make the kale mixture. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, then add the kimchi and cook for 30 seconds, or until hot and fragrant. Add the kale, water, and soy sauce and stir together. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover, then let this mixture also simmer 30 minutes, until the kale is very tender. Taste the cooked kale and add more soy sauce if desired.

When the chicken’s 15 minute rest is over, remove the chicken to a bowl and shred the meat, using two forks. Pour 1/4 cup of the braising liquid into the bowl with the chicken and stir together.

Place a sheet pan in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Place the buns, cut-side down, on the preheated pan and bake 3-5 minutes, until just toasted. Spread a bit of mayo on the bottom buns, top with chicken, then the kale mixture, and the top bun, and serve.

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About sparecake

My name's Corinne, and I like cake, cookies, and chocolate! Also, non-c-things such as ponies, Star Trek, and biking. I write a food blog and a blog about life, wide open spaces, and museum work. Nice to meet you!
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