i was (and still am) lucky to have grown up in an asian american centric culture. stories i hear about not seeing any asians in the media or being the token “asian kid” in school never applied to me. i grew up watching kristi yamaguchi skate in the olympics, seeing brenda song in the suite life of zack and cody, drooling over what ming tsai made on simply ming. i was never the only asian child in any of my schools, and instead was able to count the number of caucasian students on one hand.
outside of the bubbles of california that i’ve lived in, this is probably rare. but representation is still important- if we stop, who will make our voices heard in all the ways that matter? who will help bridge the social gap if we don’t talk about our experiences and culture?
so in my small way, i’d like to think i’m doing that. unsurprisingly, the dun dan collection on pinterest is a lot more sparse than say, the chocolate cake arena.
and sometimes i still have to define what kimchi is, or what it goes well with (kale and pasta, spicy pan-fried tofu, etc). so world: meet these kimchi chicken sliders on hawaiian rolls. eat your heart out.
i'm not a huge chicken (or meat in general) fan, but with that slightly spicy, slightly sweet sauce? i'm all over it.
and if you wanna roll with me, then layer some crispy chicken skin onto your sliders. use skin-on chicken, pan-fry it real good, and then peel it off when you shred the chicken.
all that chicken goes really well with some sweet/tart vietnamese-style quick pickles (which i could munch on plain all day long), and tender kimchi + kale. if you don't feel like doing the pickles, you can use more kimchi (might i recommend dongchimi, the not red, not spicy kimchi? it has a similar ish flavor to quick pickles).
and then the tender on the inside, crispy (bc if you aren't toasting your buns, what are you doing?) on the flat edges hawaiian rolls. mmmmm. you could go gluten-free and use lettuce; they're still delicious, but roll your sleeves up and change out of that white top, because the sauces don't get soaked up by the lettuce (whereas they definitely do with the hawaiian rolls).
and even if you're not a mayo person, use it. USE IT. it's creamy and you can't even feel any gloppy mayo-ness on your tongue.
now, excuse me while i overload my kimchi chicken sliders on hawaiian rolls with quick pickles.
- 2 tablespoons gochujang
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2" knob ginger sliced into 1/4" coins
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and lightly smashed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6 small thighs)
- 1/2 medium daikon peeled and julienned
- 1 medium hothouse cucumber julienned
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup cabbage kimchi chopped
- 4 ounces kale leaves thick ribs and stems removed, chopped (5 cups chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 12 Hawaiian rolls
In a small bowl, whisk together everything but the chicken until combined. Whisk in the cup water.
In a large pot, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, pan-fry the chicken and set aside on a plate.
Add the gochujang mixture to the pot and use it to deglaze the pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer until reduced slightly.
Use two forks (or your hands) to shred the chicken. Add the chicken back into the sauce, and mix until combined.
Combine everything in a medium bowl, and let sit for 15-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are pickled to your taste.
In a large skillet, warm some oil over medium-high heat. Add the kimchi and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, until hot and fragrant. Add the kale and soy sauce. Saute until the kale is wilted and tender.
Split the Hawaiian rolls cross-wise, and spritz or brush them with some oil. Toast until golden brown.
Spread mayo on the bottom bun and top with the chicken, followed by the sauteed kimchi and kale, the quick pickles and the top bun. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Anjali Prasertong via The Kitchn.