Korean Chili Con Carne
Red Beans, Kimchi, Shishito Peppers
Sesame Garlic Yogurt, Yellow Pickled Radish, Scallion
How’s your Korean food vocabulary? Gochujang, gochugaru, kkwarigochu, pat, kimchi, danmuji, pachae, chamgireum and bokkeun-kkae are some of the ingredients that transform a traditional chili con carne into this super-flavorful Korean Chili with a unique topping.
Gochujang and gochugaru are sold in varying degrees of spiciness. For this recipe, I use medium-hot heat level as shown on the packaging. Gochujang is a Korean red chili paste with sweet heat and a fermented umami richness. It has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried Korean red peppers. Gochugaru, also made from sun-dried red peppers, is a coarse-ground chili powder. Together, they give this chili its distinctive Korean spiciness. Kkwarigochu (shishito) are thin-walled mild peppers with a fresh green vegetal flavor and just a whisper of heat. But beware, every once in a while, there’s a hot one in the bunch! Kkwarigochu stand in for green bell pepper used in standard recipes.
The usual Western chili toppings of onion, cheese, and sour cream are replaced with a Korean flair. Pachae (curled green scallion) stands in for the diced white onion. Yellow cheddar is replaced by danmuji, a yellow pickled radish that is sweet, sour and crispy. Thick tangy yogurt gets a punch from garlic and rich toasty notes from sesame oil. Finally bokkeun-kkae (toasted sesame seeds) add visual appeal, nutty notes, they are a common Korean garnish.