Bok Choy Kimchi and Banana

by Beyond Kimchee on May 24, 2012 · 36 comments

Bok Choy Kimchi
I was quite stunned when I heard one Korean mom mentioned this everyday fruit.

I was at lunch with a bunch of Korean ladies for school related gathering and we were talking about making Kimchi with local vegetables in Malaysia.

I’ve known about making Kimchi with Bok Choy, the famous Chinese vegetable, but adding banana in Kimchi?…  that is simply outrageous.
I’ve been eating bananas all my life but the idea of connecting the banana with kimchi never – ever came across to my mind!
Some people are ingeniously creative when it comes to the food.

Well, if you think about it, banana will work great in Kimchi. It is naturally sweet so you don’t need to add sugar. Plus, it becomes sticky and slimy carb mass when mashed, that takes away extra step of making rice glue separately as a binding and fermenting component. Ha!

I was so thrilled that I had to grab some Bok Choy and a bunch of banana on the way home. And I did made a batch of Bok Choy Kimchi with my lifetime discovery.

The result?
Discovering the idea of adding banana to Kimchi in 2012 is as historic as Columbus’s discovery of the New World in 1492 .
Maybe I am exaggerating…

It is quite awesome.., both in taste and texture-wise. I was pleasantly surprised.


Grab some of these beautiful Bok Choy.
Cut in half or quarter lengthwise depends on their size.
Rinse them gently to remove dirt or anything impure. Only the pure in heart will inherit the kingdom of Kimchi…!
Place 1/3 of Bok Choy brothers in a large shallow bowl and sprinkle 1/3 of Korean coarse sea salt evenly over.

Repeat the layers. Let it sit for 20 minutes to wilt.
The turn around these Bok Choy brothers to the other side so that the top goes to bottom and the bottom goes to top facing them down.
Wait another 20 minutes.
Rinse them very GENTLY.  Drain them well in a colander.
Meanwhile, get these sidekicks ready to enter to a blender. Add the banana on the list.
Put everything except the fresh red chili and the dried chili flakes in a blender. Puree them smooth.

You can add the anchovy sauce and the shrimp sauce together at this step if you wish.
Add the chili pieces and pulse a few times to get chopped.
Mix in the dried Korean chili flakes along with anchovy sauce and shrimp sauce. The glorious filling is ready now.
GENTLY, VERY GENTLY spread the filling to Bok Choy. Add some sliced onions.
If you treat them too rough, they will yield somewhat grassy after taste. I don’t know if that make sense to you…
Add the 1/2 cup of water to the mixing bowl, swirl around and pour over the kimchi.

Enjoy this Bok Choy Kimchi on the same day you made. It taste best when freshly made. Then store the left over in an airtight container, ferment for 1 day in the room temperature, then keep in the refrigerator.

Who would have thought I would use bananas in my Kimchi?

I don’t think I will look at bananas in the same way I did from now on…

Go, bananas!

And you, too, my sweet Bok Choy brothers!

Bok Choy Kimchi
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1⅓ lb (600g) Bok-choy, halved or quartered lengthwise
  • ⅓ cup Korean coarse sea salt
  • ½ large onion, sliced
  • 2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, optional
For the Kimchi filling:
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, diced
  • ¼" slice ginger, diced
  • 1 medium banana
  • 6-7 red finger long fresh chili
  • 3 tablespoon Korean anchovy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Korean shrimp sauce, aka salted shrimp
  • ½ cup Korean chili flakes
  • ½ large onion, thinly sliced
  1. Rinse the Bok Choy to remove any dirt. Drain well.
  2. In a large shallow bowl spread ⅓ of Bok Choy and sprinkle ⅓ of sea salt evenly over. Repeat the layers and press gently on the top when finished. Cover and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn the Bok Choy to the other side, top side goes to bottom and bottom side goes to top, and let it sit for another 20 minutes. Be careful not to toss too harshly. Be gentle with Bok Choy.
  4. Rinse the Bok Choy in the cold water and drain in the colander.
  5. For the Kimchi filling, put onion, garlic, ginger, banana, anchovy sauce, and shrimp sauce in a blender. Process until smooth. Add the fresh red chili and pulse 3 times so the chili slices still remains as chopped pieces. Place the mixture in a mixing bowl and add Korean chili flakes, mix well.
  6. In a large shallow mixing bowl combine Bok Choy and the sliced onion together. Spread the chili filling to each Bok Choy and onion very gently to coat all around.
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds on top if you wish.
  8. Serve in a same day you made or store in an airtight container and let it sit in the room temperature overnight, then store in the refrigerator after.
  9. Consume within 2 weeks if possible. This kind of kimchi taste better when freshly made.




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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Tina May 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Holly, this sounds really unbelievable! I will definitely try it next time. Thanks for sharing and good luck with the new blog!
Best wishes from germany,


Holly May 24, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Hi Tina, this kimchi tastes refreshingly good. I loved it. Hope you are doing well.


leaf (the indolent cook) May 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm

What an interesting addition! Inspiration can come from anywhere. I would be very curious to taste this kimchi. :)


Holly May 24, 2012 at 10:59 pm

You are right. I just get so impressed with people with creative minds in foods. You are one of them!


Swan May 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Bananas? Ingenious! Have yet to try bok choy kimchi but it looks good.


Holly May 24, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Give it a try, Swan. It is quite easy to make and it tastes best when freshly made. Very crunch yet soft.


Erica S. May 25, 2012 at 5:45 am

wow, what a neat idea to use banana! i would never have thought of that…i’m so curious to try it out! :)


Kevin (Closet Cooking) May 25, 2012 at 11:35 am

That kimchi looks good and I like the sound of using a sweet banana in it! I will have to try using a banana in my next batch of kimchi!


Holly May 25, 2012 at 11:58 am

Thanks Kevin. Hope you can give it a try.


Jade Asian Greens May 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Love this! How unique, simple and just plain genius! We’re going to feature this on our Facebook page and link here so people can see how you did it, and your lovely photography. If you wish, come LIKE us on Facebook for more recipes and tips on Asian green vegetables like baby bok choy, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), dau miu (pea shoots), yu choy, etc.

–Your friendly farmers at Jade Asian Greens


kitchenriffs May 29, 2012 at 12:24 am

I’ve never heard of Banana Kimchi! And what’s great about this is it’s ready to eat right away – good for impatient sorts like me. Terrific recipe – really eye opening. Thanks.


sue May 29, 2012 at 9:20 am

hi holly!

i’ve been a silence reader to your blog for quite a while. i love korean food (thanks to korean drama) and i’ve been following how you make those kimchi. i’m from malaysia and i’m so so happy to have this “malaysian” version of kimchi. i will try it and i’ll let you know how it turns out .. :D

have a good day!


Holly May 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Hi Sue
Thanks for the comments. I would love to hear how it turns out. Hope you like it.


Caroline May 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Wow, how interesting! I never even heard of bok choy kimchi and using a banana?! I can’t wait to try this, it looks delicious! My husband is Korean, I hope he will like it…


Holly May 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Hi Caroline, I hope your husband will like it. Serve with Doenjang Jjigae (soybean paste stew), if he likes Jjigae, that would be quite traditional meal.


Lucy L June 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm

When I first read the title of this post, I thought eurgh, no way!
Now I feel an urge to try this out for myself! Thanks Holly!


Holly June 2, 2012 at 8:08 am

Lucy, I hope you to try this Bok Choy kimchi. It tastes quite nice and you don’t taste much of banana flavor at all.


ellenbcookery June 2, 2012 at 12:00 am

This looks delicious. YUM!


Quamrul Haque Yousufi June 11, 2012 at 2:58 am

It’s a colourful food


Nami | Just One Cookbook June 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Banana was a real surprise! The last shot with rice and kimchi. Aw, that’s a great photo!!


Julia June 29, 2012 at 7:09 pm

This is genius! :)
I will have to try this myself soon. I am wondering though, you said the kimchi tastes best fresh, but have you observed anything unusual after it has fermented in regards to looks/taste/shelf life? I like using the natural sweetness of fresh fruit in my kimchi instead of adding sugar and sticky rice glue/sauce/paste (eek, such an awkward name for it!) is a must for me when I make kimchi, so this would be a perfect alternative.. But, I have noticed that some fruits don’t work as well (persimmons, for example, seem to affect the looks negatively), so I’m just wondering how well banana ferments.


Holly June 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Hi Julia, banana would be great alternative for sugar in kimchi making. However, if you prefer the ideally fermented flavor of kimchi, it is better to use rice glue (or use ordinary rice blended with water). I didn’t taste any strong banana flavor in my freshly made Bok-choy kimchi, which tasted really great for the first a few days, but once strongly fermented (after about a week), I am not sure if Bok-choy is the right choice for the ferment flavor. It is hard to say that is because of banana or bok-choy itself. I am going to try banana with nappa cabbage to see how the fermentation is like. If you ask me, Bok-choy is such a tender cabbage and it is better to finish while they retain their fresh flavor and the texture with a hint of fermentation, but not overly like nappa.


Julia June 29, 2012 at 9:09 pm

I see, thank you for the quick reply! I don’t usually have bok choy at home, but I will give the banana thing a try with some napa next time. :)


akki January 16, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Hi there…I am an Indian, just happened to be surfing blogs and came across yours. I must tell you, reading about all the delicious kimchi has made my belly i’ll have to run to the kitchen now..although m sure m not going to find kimchi there.. :)

In between two kinds of kimchi I kept thinking, why not try this at home in India…It sounds interesting but plain challenge due to availability of the ingredients. I am not going to give up on this idea…

will let you know about the Indianised version of this.. thanks for the beautiful post


Holly January 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Hi Akki

I would love to hear about you adventure of cooking Korean food, especially with ingredients available in India. Please, Keep me posted.


Rina March 6, 2013 at 12:59 am

I came across your blog just to find about kimchi and i found this awesome recipe!
For your information, I’m from Malaysia and yes, we do have lots of banana here.
I normally love eating raw banana and sometime i use it in my cakes and etc.
Maybe I can try this recipe! Thanks alot for this great great recipe!


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Alvaro April 5, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Why don’t we not fritter away an excessive amount of time with the specifics. It’s obvious
you’re coming up with a excellent point here.


SOtt August 7, 2013 at 1:05 am

i taste it kimchi and banana! it is really incredible! thanks for sharing. best regards from hamburg


marketing radom October 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Thanks to my father who stated to me concerning this blog, this weblog is actually


loveskimchibutdontknowhowtomakethem April 14, 2014 at 8:33 am

Plz don’t tell me you live in Malaysia…
But if you do plz tell me where you buy your ingredients(Korean salt,Korean chilli flakes ,Korean anchovy sauce and Korean shrimp sauce and of course Korean radish)
I can’t find them anywhere…


Holly April 14, 2014 at 8:32 pm

There are several Korean groceries in Ampang and Mont Kiara areas. Hope you get to find them.


loveskimchibutdontknowhowtomakethem April 15, 2014 at 2:55 am

Thanx for the help^^


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