Kimchi Chicken Quesadillas

5 from 6 votes
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Kimchi chicken quesadillas - Learn how to use minimal seasoning to create the best flavor. Tender chicken + pungent kimchi + melted cheese = perfection! | omnivorescookbook.com

Kimchi chicken quesadillas use minimal seasoning to create the best flavor. Tender chicken + pungent kimchi + melted cheese = perfection!

The minute I took a big bite of the kimchi quesadilla from Chi’lantro, I knew I would be stealing the idea. And I did.

Chi’lantro serves creative Korean fusion Tex-Mex. They have a restaurant and a food truck in Austin. Thomas and I visited the food truck for a quick lunch. We ordered spicy chicken quesadillas and the original kimchi fries. It was like a dream come true – everything on the menu had kimchi on it! The quesadillas were loaded with cheese and big cuts of tender chicken. They came with a wonderful garlic mayo that I was tempted to drink all of.

You see, this is the charm of Austin. You don’t need to make a reservation a day ahead or spend a fortune to get great food. Just park your car next to a food truck park, choose a truck that strikes your fancy, and you’ll have some fresh-off-the-stove-finger-licking goodies in 5 minutes, at a very reasonable price.

Kimchi chicken quesadillas - Learn how to use minimal seasoning to create the best flavor. Tender chicken + pungent kimchi + melted cheese = perfection! | omnivorescookbook.com

To speak of kimchi. If you haven’t added it to your must-have pantry list, stop what you’re doing, hop into your car, drive to the nearest Asian market and get a big jar of it. By the way, I got mine at H-E-B, which proves kimchi is a totally average American household ingredient!

The reason I love kimchi is that you can never go wrong with it in the kitchen. Kimchi itself contains ginger and garlic and has a sour-savory taste as a result of fermentation. It has such a bold and delicious flavor that you could easily season a dish with it in no time.

I’ve cooked a lot of dishes with kimchi, such as kimchi meatball stew, kimchi fried rice, and kimchi pancake. Among them, kimchi steamed buns are the most popular. If you look at the ingredient list, you’ll find it only requires four ingredients. No, that’s not a typo. You can create the best dumpling filling with minimal effort, thanks to the omnipotent kimchi.

Kimchi chicken quesadillas - Learn how to use minimal seasoning to create the best flavor. Tender chicken + pungent kimchi + melted cheese = perfection! | omnivorescookbook.com

The same logic applies to this recipe. You don’t really need to marinate the chicken with tons of seasoning to get a flavorful dish. The kimchi does all the work for you. I used light soy sauce here to give the chicken a golden color and a nice char. I coated it with cornstarch (a trick we use in every Chinese stir fried dish), so I could get a very tender and juicy chicken on the stove top without overcooking it. That’s it! You can then assemble the quesadillas and serve the feast in 5 minutes.

I created a nutty sauce to go with the dish. Instead of mayonnaise as a base, I went for the healthier option of Greek yogurt and honey. But even if you don’t serve the quesadillas with any sauce, you’ll still find yourself devouring them all, after you’ve picked them up from the stove and before you can set them on the dinner table!

Kimchi chicken quesadillas - Learn how to use minimal seasoning to create the best flavor. Tender chicken + pungent kimchi + melted cheese = perfection! | omnivorescookbook.com

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Kimchi Chicken Quesadillas

5 from 6 votes
Kimchi chicken quesadillas use minimal seasoning to create the best flavor. Tender chicken + pungent kimchi + melted cheese = perfection!
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Appetizer, Main
Cuisine: Fusion, Korean, Mexican
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 big Quesadillas

Ingredients

For the dipping sauce

For the quesadillas

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or 1 chicken breast, sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cups kimchi , chopped
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese , shredded
  • 2 10”/26 cm flour tortillas (burrito-sized) (*see footnote)

Instructions

  • Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Add chicken, light soy sauce and cornstarch to a bowl. Mix by hand until the chicken is evenly covered with a thin layer of starch.
  • Heat a skillet with vegetable oil over medium heat until warm. Spread chicken onto pan without overlapping. Cook until the bottom side turns golden, about 2 minutes. Flip to cook the other side, until the chicken is cooked through, about a minute and a half. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  • Assemble quesadillas one at a time. Spread chicken on one side of a tortilla, add a layer of kimchi, and scatter with cheese. Fold the tortilla into the shape of a half moon.
  • Heat a big skillet over low heat until warm. Place quesadillas in the skillet. Cook until the bottom side crisps. Flip and cook the other side, until the cheese melts.
  • Slice the quesadillas into 3 to 4 wedges. Serve warm with dipping sauce.

Notes

  1. I used spinach tortillas in this recipe, because the green color made the dish a bit fancier looking. You can use standard flour tortillas if you like.

Nutrition

Serving: 226g, Calories: 417kcal, Carbohydrates: 18.4g, Protein: 37.7g, Fat: 20.7g, Saturated Fat: 7.6g, Cholesterol: 104mg, Sodium: 1169mg, Potassium: 326mg, Fiber: 1.7g, Sugar: 2.6g, Vitamin A: 300IU, Calcium: 250mg, Iron: 1.8mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don't forget the last step! Tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. lindsay Cotter says:

    you must know my love for kimchi! it’s true food love! and i was just thinking about making a spin off grilled cheese with it, but i think I’ll go for your quesadilla first! PINNING!

    • Maggie says:

      The grilled cheese idea sounds so lovely and I’m sure it will turn out great! I made a kimchi sausage burrito the other day and they worked out wonderful as it should be!

  2. Marissa | Pinch and Swirl says:

    5 stars
    I have a bit of a kimchi obsession, but have never tried it in quesadillas. Yum!

  3. Kathleen | HapaNomNom says:

    5 stars
    Wowza!!! This… looks… amazing! And that gochujang dipping sauce… I’d pour that over everything! Really loving this fusion dish and so glad you’re liking Austin!

  4. Prash @ YummilyYours says:

    Maggie, would you believe me if I told you, I am yet to try kimchi! Oops! You make it sound and look so awesome, I am getting myself some kimchi soon 🙂

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Prash, you need to try out kimchi! I think they work very well in vegetarian dishes too 🙂

  5. Jasline (Foodie Baker) says:

    Cheese, kimchi and chicken all in one wrap, give me one please!

  6. 5 stars
    Bring. It. ON! Kimchi is a staple in my household. It’s like a quick fix flavour addition for so many things! Noodles, fried rice, asian pancakes…and now quesadillas!! MUST TRY!

  7. Bam's Kitchen says:

    5 stars
    Maggie, I know my boys will love this. Full stop! I have chicken on the grill now and kimchi in the refrigerator. Perfect fun weekend food. Sharing, everywhere! of course!

  8. Helen @ Scrummy Lane says:

    Maggie, I’ve been eyeing this creation up all week on social media! It’s genius! I’d especially love to try that sauce!
    I’m slowly getting around to having a go at a recipe with kimchi in it. It’s definitely popular at the moment.
    Also, I’m VERY jealous of all those amazing food trucks over there in Texas! Street food is just the best. I would rather eat that than go to a restaurant any day! 🙂

  9. Thalia @ butter and brioche says:

    I love quesdillas! They are so quick and delicious.. and I often make them. Definitely inspired to make a kimchi chicken version like this Maggie. And I love how you used spinach tortillas too – I’ve never tried that before.

  10. Monica says:

    This is such a great idea! Sounds delicious. We buy kimchi occasionally but it’ll be more and more as we figure more ways to use it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Robyn @ Simply Fresh Dinners says:

    5 stars
    Wow, wow, WOW! This is so awesome, Maggie. I love that you are getting so much inspiration from your new environment. It makes the kitchen even more exciting, doesn’t it?
    You have gone to another level, my friend. Your new fusion dishes are out of this world. Fantastic! I will make this tonight if I have time. If not, it will be on the table tomorrow. Can’t wait!

  12. Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine says:

    5 stars
    Yum Maggie! Yes, Kimchi is such a great flavor booster. And such a healthy way to add flavor too. Love this fusion idea– man, I miss the creativity of American restaurants! Always something interesting to try.

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