My favorite Japanese restaurant, Go Japanese Restaurant, on St. Marks Place in the East Village closed a few months ago for no apparent reason. Nate and I have been going there for 7+ years for sushi, Japanese hot pot, and its addicting fried green tea ice cream. On Monday night we were in the neighborhood lamenting and decided to check out the Japanese restaurant across the street, Taishu Izakaya Kenka. You know, the one with the cotton candy machine at the door when you walk out. We asked our waitress if she knew what happened to Go across the street. She said she’d heard rumors that the owner ran off with unpaid bills and the last of the company’s money. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but the reason it closed certainly wasn’t because the place was not popular. There was almost always a wait to be seated. The food at Taishu Izakaya Kenka was delicious and its super-sized mugs of Sapporo beer were only $5 each (need I say more?). Nate had bonito sashimi which we’d never tried before and I ordered a Japanese barbecue grilled beef dish that I can’t pronounce (yakiniku). It had that same sweet kick that great teriyaki sauce and a lot of Korean dishes have that I love.
This got me researching the ingredients of these dishes and I noticed a common theme: an ingredient called Mirin. It’s a Japanese sweet cooking rice wine with a taste similar to sake used in a lot of Japanese dishes (and notably Korean bulgogi marinades). I found a quick and easy recipe on Steamy Kitchen’s website for kimchi omelets using Mirin and decided to try it out. The omelet reminded me of Korean pancakes, but with 10 minutes prep and cooking time.
After tasting this delicious kimchi omelet, Steamy Kitchen was right to call the Mirin in it the “secret ingredient.” The kimchi adds the spice and the salt but the Mirin adds sweet and a savory flavor.
Kimchi Omelet Recipe
From Steamy Kitchen
Servings: serves 2 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes
Kimchi Omelet Recipe - simple 10 minute recipe for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
If the kimchi is a little to spicy for your taste, try patting the kimchi with paper towel to wipe off some of the chili flakes.
1 teaspoon sweet rice wine (mirin) - I prefer Mitsukan brand
1 teaspoon cooking oil
1/4 zucchini, sliced very thinly in half-moons
1/2 stalk green onion, green part only, cut into 1 1/2" lengths
2 tablespoons chopped kimchi, plus more for serving
salt and pepper to taste
- In a bowl, beat the eggs together with the mirin.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with the cooking oil. Add the zucchini, green onion and the chopped kimchi and saute for 2 minutes.
- Pour in the egg mixture, season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium and cover skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the egg is nearly set. Fold omelet in half and cook until done. Serve with additional kimchi on the side.