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Kimchi Chili Cheese Tots

After completing my surgery rotation, I've been trying to clear out the fridge of all kinds of stuff that have been sitting in there for too long. I have a gallon sized bucket of kimchi, an assortment of all kinds of shredded cheese and a family size pack of tots in the freezer. There's just this appeal to buying bulk and making the most of my costco membership even if I'm only cooking for one! Blame it on my Asian-ness and for my love of coupons. I'm not like the coupon lady you see on TV, but I'm pretty close :P!
Kimchi reaches a point where it's pretty much too sour to eat, but perfect to cook with. Frying the kimchi also helps mellow out the sourness and spicyness, and goes well with heavier items like cheese and sour cream. So, I've made a rendition of my favorite comfort food, chili cheese tots! And added kimchi and more spice with gochugaru (Korean chili powder). It's a lot of flavors, but they really work well together.
I would serve it in a skillet so you can put easily put it back in the oven to make the cheese all bubbly and gooey. I used Revol's mini ramekins that look like they are cast iron pans, but are actually porcelain. I baked the tots in them and put them back under the broiler to melt the cheese. I love the look of cast iron without getting carpal tunnel from lifting them! They're also pretty cute and perfect size for serving appetizers. I can't wait to show you guys my next dessert post using these coming up next week!

Kimchi Chili Cheese Tots

serves 3-4 people

1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup kimchi, diced (aged)
1 jalapeño, diced
1 16oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 tsp gochugaru (Korean chili powder)
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp ketchup
salt and pepper
1 16oz can chick peas
1 bag tots
2 stalks green onions, diced
Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, bacon bits, cilantro, sour cream
  1. In a medium stockpot over medium high-heat, add some vegetable oil and diced onion. Stir continuously and add garlic, kimchi and jalapeños
  2. Saute until the onion beings to turn translucent and add the can of diced tomatoes. To the chili, add gochugaru, bay leaf and ketchup. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened (about 15-20 minutes)
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F and bake frozen tots until hot and crispy on the outside (according to package instructions)
  4. Add chick peas and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Stir in chopped up cilantro and diced green onions
  5. Ladle a generous helping of chili over the cooked tots and sprinkle with lots of cheese. Place in oven again until cheese is melted and bubbling
  6. Sprinkle any desired toppings like bacon bits, sour cream and garnish with cilantro, jalapeño slices and green onions
I developed this recipe for Revol; all opinions expressed are my own. I love their beautiful and creative kitchen bakeware, serve ware and cooking tools :) Thank you for the support!


  1. MABEL OMG YOU ARE A WIZARD! I totally love this idea. Asian fusion is my fav :D
    And congrats on finishing surgery!!! It's such a beast even though it's fun in the OR if you ask me. I'm almost done with internal medicine and this is on my list of things to make post-rotation!! Hope all is well friend!!

    1. hehe thanks! I love being in the OR too! (are we looking at 2 budding surgeons??) Internal medicine is a totally different beast. So much brain work it hurts :P

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