Kimchi risotto with a poached egg, cheddar and sesame

  • 4
  • 60 minutes plus 3 hours to prepare the kimchi and a minimum of 7 days to ferment it
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Joo Won's kimchi risotto combines the iconic Italian rice dish with the wonderful and distinctive flavour of the Korean ferment kimchi to create a truly delicious starter or light main. The recipe includes instructions to make your own kimchi but you can use good-quality shop bought kimchi instead.

First published in 2021
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Crispy nori

To garnish


  • Microplane



Begin by making the kimchi, as this needs to ferment for at least 7 days (if you're using shop-bought kimchi, you can skip this step). Chop the cabbage into roughly 2cm strips and submerge in the water with the salt for 2 hours. After 2 hours, drain and rinse twice in cold water. Leave for at least one more hour to fully drain (it needs to be as dry as possible before adding the chilli paste)


To make the paste for the kimchi, use a microplane to grate the onion and pear into a paste. Finely chop the salted shrimp, garlic and ginger and mix with the paste then add the gochugaru and fish sauce. Taste and season with salt or more fish sauce if needed. Leave at room temperature for at least one hour before mixing with the cabbage


Once the cabbage and paste are ready, mix together and pack tightly into a sterilised jar. Push the cabbage down so that it is fully submerged under the fermenting liquid and weigh it down with a stone. Close the lid and leave to ferment for a minimum of 7 days but anywhere up to 6 months, opening the jar every few days to release the gases and prevent the jar from exploding. The longer you leave it to ferment, the stronger and more pungent the flavour will be. You ideally want a strong-tasting kimchi for this dish. Store in the fridge once you’re happy with the flavour


To prepare the crispy nori, wet the sheet of rice paper and stick it to the nori. Leave to dry out completely, then cut into portions. Place a pan of vegetable oil over a medium heat and once hot, deep-fry until crisp (1-2 minutes). Drain on kitchen paper and season with salt


To make the risotto, heat the chicken stock until simmering. Place a separate pan over a medium heat and add 45g of the butter and the oil. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add the rice and toast for a minute


Add a couple of ladles of warm stock and stir well. Let the rice keep gently bubbling and stir it continuously, adding more stock a ladle at a time as the rice absorbs it and gets thicker. You need to keep it at the consistency of thick soup for about 12 minutes. After this time, keep stirring, adding a small amount of stock if needed, until the rice is cooked to your preference. This usually takes around 18 minutes in total


In the meantime, weigh out 200g of the kimchi and strain it well, reserving the liquid. Chop the kimchi up and place almost all of it in a pan with a pinch of sugar to heat through and mellow the flavour a little (reserve the rest for garnishing)

  • 1 pinch of sugar

When the rice is ready, stir in the kimchi along with the fermenting liquid. Remove from the heat and beat in the remaining butter and cheese, then season to taste with salt and pepper and cover and leave to rest for a few minutes whilst you poach your eggs


To poach the eggs, place a wide saucepan on the hob filled with boiled water from the kettle. Bring to a gentle simmer and then stir to create whirlpool. Crack your eggs into the pan swiftly. The motion of the water should help them spin and form. Set the timer for 2 minutes, then swiftly hoist them back out and place on a tray lined with kitchen paper to soak up any excess water


Divide the risotto between 4 bowls and top each with the reserved kimchi, an egg and some crispy seaweed. Sprinkle over some spring onions and sesame seeds, drizzle with sesame oil and serve warm

First published in 2021

Combining the flavours of his native Korea with the European dishes and techniques he's prepared professionally for years, Joo Won's cooking style is offering a new twist on a much-loved cuisine.

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