Korean-Inspired Vegetables & Dumplings

While my visit to Kalbee might not have resulted in the most satisfying meal, it did inspire me to play around with some of the menu concepts and break out the pepper paste I’ve been lugging around with me through all these moves. A couple of years ago I made a few Korean stews and soups, Korean Tofu Soup and Soybean Paste Stew (to the amazement of my Korean aunt), and I was inspired by Kalbee to play around with the idea of chicken & dumplings, but with a Korean twist.

I love the idea of a Southern/Appalachian-Korean dish. Food, I believe, should be local and locally-inspired–even when another culture is influencing the dish. So to take chicken & dumplings and give it a Korean twist is pretty darn awesome. I wasn’t jazzed about the execution, but I think there’s a lot to celebrate in the concept. So my version (vegan) marries vegetables with rice cakes and dumplings, and I’ve added a bit of pepper paste for oompah. While I wish I hadn’t make so much of it (we’ve been eating the soup all week with some left in the fridge), it’s really quite tasty and a good homage to Kalbee and it’s Appalachian-Korean cuisine.

Korean-Inspired Vegetables & Dumplings

Also inspired by Kalbee in Pembroke, VA

2 c rice cakes, soaked overnight
olive oil
1 onion, diced
2-3 medium carrots, sliced into rounds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small cabbage, chopped
10 c vegetable broth
Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) to taste
12 frozen, pre-made vegetable dumplings (I used kimchi-filled dumplings from H Mart)

In a stock pot, warm 1-2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook until the onions are soft and turning translucent. Add the garlic, cook 1 minute.

Add the cabbage and vegetable broth, stir, bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the cabbage is soft. Add pepper paste to taste (I used 2 tbsp).

Add the rice cakes and frozen dumplings, raise heat to a low boil, and cook 5 minutes more.

Serves 8

5 Responses to “Korean-Inspired Vegetables & Dumplings”
  1. Renae says:

    I love everything about this. It’s Korean-inspired, it’s soup, and I always have those H Mart kimchi dumplings in the freezer! I even have that same bowl. It’s like you were cooking at my house!

  2. chow vegan says:

    Looks delicious! I love fusion food like this! 🙂 I guess the leftovers aren’t really freezable?

  3. Barbara says:

    This soup looks delicious, Jes. I like how you used the ready-made dumplings for ease. I have a couple of cabbage heads in the garden that are ready to use, so I think this soup is in my immediate future.

  4. eileen says:

    Yes, absolutely! I make soup like this ALL the time, with just about everything you’ve got up there but the rice cakes. I also use sambal oelek instead of the gochujang, but those sound almost identical from your description.

    Kimchi dumplings sounds particularly great. Maybe one of these days I’ll get super ambitious and actually ferment some kimchi (or, uh, buy it) for future dumpling application.

  5. Monica says:

    Kimchi-filled dumplings sound potentially addictive (funny, it reminds me of sauerkraut pierogi, which I love). This is what I dislike about living in the countryside – no asian grocery stores. Next time I’m in London I’ll have to stock up on materials.

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