Sautéed Kimchi-Tuna with Pickled Ginger

~ Eaten as a side dish or as the sole accompaniment to rice.


  • high-smoke point oil such as canola or grapeseed oil
  • a cup of cabbage kimchi (either new or ripe is fine though I prefer the latter) + a good amount of kimchi juice
  • two stalks of celery
  • two bok choy
  • half an onion (yellow or white)
  • a can of tuna (my parents prefer solid white albacore, meh)
  • 1 TB of soy sauce (or as much sodium you can handle)
  • 1 TB of fish sauce (trust me, don’t sniff)
  • 1 TB of sesame oil
  • a pinch or more of dashi powder (optional)
  • ground garlic or a clove of garlic, minced
  • a sprinkle of sesame seeds
  • ground pepper
  • pickled ginger

You start off by chopping the onions. We know the drill, right? Chop off the ends, place it on one of its flat ends, cut in half, then slice the half-onion into slivers,etc… Turn on stove to medium high, place the pan on top and oil it with a high-smoke point oil. Being a poor college kid, you usually grab the canola oil but being home, you naturally ransack all your parents’ resources: so, pull the grapeseed oil off the shelf and drizzle generously over the pan.

As an “azn,” strangers have often inquired about my ethnicity. Once discovering that I’m of the Korean flavor, they often divulge the fact that they love k-pop, k-drama, or kimchi. Being used to that, it surprised me to recently find out that my own close friends have never tried kimchi (and I mean, how long have we been friends?! lol mind-boggling, this is). Let me tell you (my dear close friends), there are many different types of kimchi!

Lo, behold.

Cucumber kimchi! Red pepper kimchi! Green onion kimchi! Radish! Spinach! Just how many vegetables can we damn azns ferment with spices?! Ohhh yess..

—Ah, but here I am digressing.

Anyway, here’s a picture of cabbage kimchi for you dears:

Stir that onion. Before the onion caramelizes and turns transparent, go superman on some celery sticks and wash, chop, and drop them goods in record time into the pan. Let it sizzle, stir, stir. The same thing for the bok choy, chop off the ends, rinse, drop it into the pan (though others will insist that you chop that too but whatevs). Then dump in the tuna, kimchi, soy sauce, garlic, dashi, and fish sauce. Keep stirring until the kimchi juice+sauces have more or less evaporated.

Take a nibble. Adjust according to your tastes. Do you prefer the celery crunchy or soft? These decisions are all yours. And very much dependent on timing and heating. Just keep stirring. Lest your unchopped bok choy cooks unevenly. 🙂

At the end, when you know it’s done and it tastes and feels right in your mouth, shut off the heat and drizzle some sesame oil over your finished goods. Then, if you want, sprinkle some sesame seeds to top it off. There, admire.

I get off on food photog. Yeaayuh.

Now it’s like fried rice; there are innumerable variations and you can pretty much add anything you want, given that it suits your taste. I used what was in my fridge this time but usually, I also throw in mushrooms, carrots, and/or cucumbers. And yes, one can do without the pickled ginger although I think it perks up any palate especially to those not partial towards the taste and smell of fish. My mom (not a big fan of the pungent taste of ginger) opts to eat the kimchi-tuna on a bed of rice and sunny side up. I’ve also seen my mother use the beef dashi for this recipe but I believe you can use whatever dashi at hand to deepen the flavor.

Questions? Shoot.

Otherwise, just improvise. 😉

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