Thursday, 23 October 2014

Kimcheese Roll

Kimchi. Cheese. Kimchiiii. Cheeeeese. Kimchiii cheeese. Kimcheeeese. Kimcheese rolls. Kimcheese bread rolls. Rolling kimchi and cheese up in fluffy bread rolls. Kimcheese bread rolls. 

Today's recipe is a savoury one. It is comforting, warm, salty, spicy, cheesy all rolled up in chewy bread. You can eat it as a complete meal. It's got all you need - carbs from the bread, fibre, vitamins and nutrients from the veg, minerals from the seaweed, good source of fat from the sesame seeds and protein from the cheese. You can eat it as an accompaniment to other dishes. You can eat it as a snack for tea time! 

The idea of this dish was born from the craving of salty food. Having tried making bread rolls with kale and cheese, I thought I'd delve deeper and explore other territories of incorporating vegetables in bread. I decided to play on the fusion concept.  In Korean cuisine, cheese is sometimes used. Spicy kimchi noodle soup with cheese on top? Cheese tteokbokki? It's non-traditional, but the spicy, savoury, refreshing taste of kimchi goes really well with the hearty flavours of cheese. Both have satisfying umami flavours, imparted by the glutamate molecules which humans have a huge attraction to. So, why not bring them together in a fluffy bread roll? 

While I am neither skilled nor in possession of time (presently) for making the traditional nappa cabbage kimchi, I decided to adapt kimchi flavours in making this quick, non-fermented 'kimchi'. Asian cooking is all about the balance in flavours - layers of spiciness from the Korean chilli flakes, fresh chilli, ginger and onion, saltiness from salt, soy sauce and nori, sweetness from tomato and a sprinkle of sugar, tanginess from tomato, all of these lifted by the nuttiness of sesame oil. The vegetables are all sliced finely into roughly the same sizes, bathed in hot brine to extract moisture and develop crunch, then tossed in the spicy sauce. Let me tell you, it was so mouthwatering and I had to refrain myself from eating straight from the pot. Had to remind myself to save some for the bread!

The 'kimchi' itself was so yummy. Just imagine it laced with melted cheese. Then all this caressed by that warm, chewy, fluffy bread. Irresistible!

Kimcheese Rolls

Makes 12 rolls 

For the bread: 
3 cups of strong flour
2 cups whole grain/mixed grain flour 
1 tbsp salt 
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup corn grits
2 cups water (luke warm)
1 tbsp yeast 
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup 

For the kimchi:
1 leaf of cabbage
1 leaf of kale
1/4 carrot
1 apple
1 sheet of nori
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

For the spicy sauce:
1 small chilli
4 tbsp Korean chilli flakes
1/4 shallot 
1/2 tomato 
1cm ginger 
1 tbsp raw sugar
salt and soy sauce to taste 
1 tbsp sesame oil 

100g Colby (or similar) cheese

  1. For the bread, mix all the dry ingredients together until well incorporated. Stir together water, yeast, olive oil and maple syrup and add to the dry ingredients. Start off by mixing with a butter knife until the dough starts coming together. Then tip the contents onto a clean bench and knead until dough is elastic and smooth (about 10-15 minutes). Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it proof for about 1-2 hours until double in size. 
  2. In the meantime, prepare the spicy sauce. Finely chop all the raw ingredients for the spicy sauce. With a mortar and pestle or a blender, pound or blend all the ingredients the chilli, chili flakes, shallot, tomato and ginger until a paste forms. Transfer to a small saucepan, add in the sugar, salt and soy sauce and cook until fragrant (a few minutes). Turn the heat off. 
  3. Bring a pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, finely chop your vegetables for the kimchi. Once the water has boiled, turn the heat off and add a tablespoon of salt. Stir until salt has dissolved. Place the vegetables in the brine and leave for about 10-15 minutes. Drain. 
  4. Dress the vegetables with the sauce. Add in the finely chopped apple, torn up sheet of nori and sesame seeds. Stir until combined. 
  5. Knock down the bread, then briefly knead the dough, folding it in on itself so the smooth side is exposed. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, about less than 1cm thick. Pile on and evenly spread the kimchi (you won't use all of it). Then grate the 3/4 of the cheese onto the dough. Tightly roll up the dough, making sure the filling is all sealed in. Divide into 12 pieces and place on a line baking tray. Let the dough proof a second time until double in size (about 45 minutes). 
  6. Half an hour into the second proofing, preheat the oven to 180C. Once the dough is ready, top with the remaining 1/4 of cheese and bake for about 20 minutes or until nice and golden. 
  7. Remove from oven, and cool slightly on a wire rack before serving with some of the kimchi. 

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