Cooking with Kimchi

Kimchi Steak Tartar, Kimchi Yukhoe, 김치육회


I love to make and eat all sort of tartar around the world, whether it is French, Italian or Spanish. Hugh Johnson, the British wine expert, once mentioned that he thought Korean yukhoe was the best tartar in the world. I don’t think he is exaggerating.

Instead of the traditional way of serving kimchi on the side, I dare venture to add a wee dollop of chopped kimchi next to the usual pear, an act of blasphemy to Korean haute cuisine.  I think kimchi gives the hoe an extra intriguing dimension. Of course, the choicest of beef tenderloin is a must. I love serving sweet melt in your mouth yukhoe to my dear friends to woo their hearts. It is heavenly!

Serves 4

15 minutes to prepare


1 lb beef tenderloin filet mignon, sliced into thin strips

For the marinade:

½  teaspoon freshly squeezed garlic juice or ¼ th teaspoon granulated garlic

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon dry vermouth or white wine

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1 green onion, white and pale green part only, finely minced

1 knob fresh ginger, skinned, finely grated and juice extracted

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Korean yuja juice (if possible) or 1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 medium Korean pear, chilled, peeled, cored and julienned into matchsticks

1 egg (optional)

2 tablespoons mature whole cabbage kimchi, stem part only, finely minced and seasoned (see p     )

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted, finely chopped, for garnish

1 tablespoon silgochu (Korean Red pepper threads), preferably, or crushed red pepper flakes


Several hours in advance, wash the filet and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the meat in a one gallon Ziplock plastic bag and firm it up in the freezer for a few hours for easy slicing. Do not freeze. Bring out and slice along the grain. Let it set at room temperature for an hour. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the sauce and mix well. Reserve some black pepper for garnish. Add the meat and toss all gently with a pair of chopsticks or with your fingers. The tender filet strips must not to be massage-rubbed or squeeze mixed. Wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Just before serving, bring all out to the work surface. Add egg, if using and toss all gently again. Divide into 4 individual chilled low rimmed bowls and garnish each with kimchi, pear sticks and pine nuts. Sprinkle with remaining black pepper and silgochu on top. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Growing Up In A Korean Kitchen.