Kimchi Twists

One of my favorite things about living in LA is seriously all the readily available and authentic Korean food in K-town. It's no more than a 35 minute drive and then you're in heaven!! Don't get me wrong, Chinese food and flavors will always have my heart but I've been on a Korean food kick for the last 3 years that only seems to be growing and growing. If you ever want my favorites, message me and I'm happy to provide you with a healthy list of specialty stews, hand cut noodle places, the BEST k-bbq and of course tofu restaurants. 

When I found out I was on the show, I really wanted to showcase Korean flavors somewhere on the menu since it's such an influence on my pallet in the recent years. The savory hors devour challenge was perfect! Since then, I don't have a reason to make 36 tartlets for anyone so I adapted my recipe for just making these highly addictive and delicious kimchi twists! 

These are a great recipe for pairing with your cheese and charcuterie platters or just to have as little snack bites!! The kimchi takes on a new flavor when it's baked and rolled into all this amazing butter goodness. It's not overly KIMCHI in your face just as an FYI. It's more like an acidic, salty aftertaste. So so good! Give it a shot! 

Kimchi Twists
Makes about 3 dozen 4" twists or 15-20 long twists. 

Kimchi butter:

  • 226g of European butter, 8 oz - slightly softened but not fully soft
  • 1 cup of mat napa cabbage kimchi, pureed 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Kimchi Dough: 

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup of ice water


  • 1 egg 
  • 1-2 tablespoons of kimchi puree leftover juice 

Make the lean dough: 

1. In a small bowl, prepare ice cold water. In a medium stainless steel mixing bowl, mix flour and salt together. Add a couple of tablespoons of water at a time and fluff the dough with your fingers and keep your fingers loose using a scooping motion. Do not get any ice into the dough. 

2. Continue until alternating adding water and scooping flour together until the flour comes together in large pieces and holds together when pressed.

3. Shape dough into a square and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. It’s ok if it is shaggy and not clean looking.

Make the kimchi butter:

1. Cream the butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for a couple minutes until light and fluffy. You don't want this to become completely whipped since you're just trying to break it down a bit. 

2. Take the kimchi and blend it with a food processor until fine. Strain out all the liquid from the puree and set aside. You will end up using some of this later. 

3. Add kimchi, salt and black pepper to butter and beat together until just incorporated. 

4. With a spatula, remove butter mixture from mixing bowl and place on a large piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap to form into a square block that is 4” by 4”. Wrap and put it into the fridge to chill for at least 30-45 minutes or till hard. 

Making Kimchi Dough:

1. Roll out the lean dough to approx. 7” x 7” square.

2. Remove the butter and place as a diamond on the square dough so it’s at a 90 degree angle. Wrap the corners of the dough over the butter so they meet in the middle. Then pinch to seal and flip over so the seams are on the bottom. 

3. Next you will be preparing this similarly to how you make puff pastry. Complete First and Second Turns. Flour the surface lightly and flip the dough with butter over so the seams are facing the counter. Roll out to be a rectangle approx 12 inches by 6 inches wide. Fold it in thirds by the top third over the bottom third and bottom over the top third.

4. NOTE: Dough may be very wet because of the kimchi so just add flour at every spot that starts leaking or if butter breaks through skin. Make sure counter is properly floured at all times. Rotate the dough so it looks like a book then roll it out again into a rectangle of 12 x 6” and fold again. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Mark down that you’ve done 2 turns.

5. Complete Third & Fourth Turn: Repeat same rolling out and folding dough two more times. If any butter pops out cover it with a little flour.

6. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Mark down that you’ve done 4 turns.

7. Complete Fifth and Sixth Turns: Repeat same rolling out and folding dough two more times. If any butter pops out cover it with a little flour. Dough should be smooth and easy to roll out.

8. Chill for 1 hour in plastic wrap.

Baking the Kimchi Twists:

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 F / 218 C. Prepare baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

2. Roll out the pastry dough so the dough is between 1/4 and 1/8 inches thick. Then cut out desired shapes/size strips using a floured pizza cutter. 

3. Prepare your egg wash by mixing 1-2 tablespoons of kimchi juice to your beaten egg. Place kimchi strips on the baking sheets by twisting and then lightly pressing the ends down on the sheet. Brush each twist with your kimchi egg wash. Don't cover too much with the egg wash, just brush lightly. 

4. Place cut pastry back into the freezer to chill/firm slightly for 5-10 minutes. Bake for 15-25 minutes at 375 F and plan to flip the twists at least once half way through baking. 

5. Cool baked twists completely on a cooling rack then enjoy!! Keep in an airtight container if storing for 5 days. 


Dim Sum Beef Curry Puffs

When we were asked to make 2 different hand pies for The Great American Baking show, I knew instantly that I wanted to showcase the two sides of my culture growing up Chinese-American. The first hand pie was an American Breakfast Pie with eggs, sausage, peppers, onions all in a cheddar cheese pastry crust. You can find that recipe here. The other hand pie was something I ate at Dim Sum throughout my childhood. It's one of my favorites and a serious crowd pleaser! 

The key to this is to make sure the crust stays extra extra cold so you may make a few trips to the freezer during the process of making these. Also, make sure you dock little holes on the top of the puffs after you've shaped, chilled and before you add the egg wash. The same way you take a fork to your pie crust before blind baking it. This will ensure the puffs not getting soggy in the middle since they have little steam escape holes. 

This is a great recipe to make for day-of treats or make them in advance and keep them in the freezer until ready to bake. If you're baking from frozen, make sure to give them a little extra time in the oven.  

Dim Sum Beef Curry Puffs
Signature Savory Hand Pies Challenge on The Great American Baking Show
Makes about 13-14 hand pies  

Pastry Ingredients: 

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter very cold, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup ice water (watch as you add it) 

Filling Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 yellow onion, finely cut
  • 1/2 lb of lean ground beef (90% lean, 10% fat)
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  •  4 tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce (to taste)
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic granules

Other Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons of milk (to seal the dough)
  • 1 tablespoon of roasted white sesame seeds
  • Egg Wash (1 egg, 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon of milk)
  • Extra flour for dusting/rolling

Make the dough: 

1. Fill a measuring cup with water and drop ice cubs into it and set aside. Cut butter sticks into cubes and place into the freezer for 5 minutes. 

2. Place flour, sugar and salt into food processor. Pulse to incorporate. Remove butter from freezer and add into processor. Pulse to cut the butter until most of them are the size of peas. Adding 1/2 cup of ice-cold water into the mixture a little at a time while pulsing the processor to incorporate. Watch as you add the last 1/4 cup of water to ensure you aren't adding too much of it. Only need enough for the dough to come together.  May need more water for the dough to stick together but only add it 1 tablespoon at a time. 

4. Once you have large clumps and the dough can be pushed together with your hands, turn dough out on a lightly floured surface.  Gather and knead the dough together into one large disc. Divide dough in half, shape them both into a flat disc and wrap with plastic wrap. Place into the fridge to chill for at least 1 hr to overnight.

Make the filling: 

5. In a large frying pan, heat vegetable oil and sauté the onions with 1 tablespoon of curry powder until the onions become translucent.

6. Add the beef, soy sauce and remaining curry powder. Cook until the beef is brown and then add salt to taste. Add MORE salt or soy sauce to ensure mixture is salty enough since some of the flavor will get absorbed into the crust after baked. 

Assemble & then bake the puffs: 

7.  Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper. Place chilled dough on a lightly floured workspace and roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Just like you would any normal pie crust. Using a 3-inch circle cutter, cut out as many circles as possible. Regather scraps then repeat rolling and cutting. Place cut circles on baking sheet and into the freezer to re-chill for 4-5 minutes. 

8. Take cut pastry out of the freezer and make sure you're ready to work quickly! Lightly flour your surface, and using a smaller rolling pin roll out each circle to 1/8 inch thick. Brush the edges lightly with milk then place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the pastry circle. Fold over onto itself so it creates a half circle. Do your best to push the filling into the center so it doesn't get caught as you seal the edges. Use are fork to seal the edge of the puff. 

9. Place filled puff on baking sheet and repeat until you're all out of filling or pastry circles. Before you stick them into the freezer to chill, take a fork and lightly dock the tops of them.  Let the filled puffs chill in the freezer for about 5 minutes. 

10. When ready to bake, brush the tops with egg wash then sprinkle with roasted white sesame seeds.

11. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry turns golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let it cool a few minutes then chow down!!