Recipe Test: Kimchi Pork Ramen

kimchi ramen

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I was on PTO this week and was so excited to have a block of time to focus on developing new recipes (like this kimchi pork ramen) and posting tons of new recipes. Somehow, it’s Friday, and while I cooked a lot this week, I couldn’t motivate myself to write anything up on my computer.

Earlier in the week, I made ramen. It’s a kimchi-flavored bowl of noodles loaded with juicy pork, Korean sweet potatoes, veggies, and bouncy ramen noodles. I’ve made vegan kimchi ramen on my vegan recipe blog before, but I decided to try a version with pork. This dish still needs some tweaking, but I loved it so much that I wanted to write about it in a less formal blog post. Candidly, I’m also writing this so I don’t forget how I made it.

This is one of those things that I was making those loud lip-smacking noises and saying, “MAN! This is good!” I know it’s a good meal when I almost involuntarily exclaim how good it is after each bite.

mama o's kimchi paste

What I used

The ingredients are so simple for this, too. The above photo shows my three primary ingredients.

  • Mama O’s Kimchi Paste: I love this stuff so much. You can use it to make kimchi at home, but I use it in my everyday cooking since I haven’t attempted kimchi at home…yet! I bought their vegan version to test recipes for Exploring Vegan. Their Original Kimchi Paste contains fish sauce, but it’s delicious as well. I’ve also used their Super Spicy Kimchi Paste, and it’s truly divine and vegan! I definitely recommend keeping a jar of this in your refrigerator. It’s complexly flavored, and you can whip up quick sauces and soup bases super fast.
  • Burlap & Barrel Dehydrated Kimchi: This blend was created in partnership with Mama O’s. I don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but I have the tiniest little bit left because I use it A LOT. It’s really, really good on literally anything. It’s a little funky, a little spicy, and adds a really interesting undertone to soups, stews, marinades, and more.
  • Ramen Noodles: Normally, I am a Sun Ramen girl because I think their frozen ramen gives you that restaurant-quality taste and texture. But I am also a simple girl, and when I see a cute kraft package of noodles with nice typography, I buy it, no questions asked. I used Shirasagi Ramen Noodles from the brand TOA Foods, but I can only find their gluten-free ramen noodles online. Your favorite ramen noodles work here; you can even use a couple of bricks of instant ramen!

The Kimchi Fried Pork

I seasoned boneless pork chops with salt, pepper, and the dehydrated kimchi. This is where I think I messed up the most. I kind of knew this would happen even as I was making it, but I forged ahead anyway. The dehydrated kimchi has bigger flakes of dried cabbage, which don’t stick perfectly to the cabbage. It also darkened really quickly, so I had to flip the pork before I could get a good sear on it to avoid burning it completely. I think next time, I’ll just add the dehydrated kimchi to the sauce.

The sauce is just Mama O’s kimchi paste mixed with water and honey. Once I seared the pork chops, I poured the sauce on top and baked them for about 15 minutes in the oven.

The Broth

The broth is beyond simple. I just fried onion in oil, added a diced Korean sweet potato, another big spoonful of Mama O’s kimchi paste with minced scallions, and a few more shakes of dehydrated kimchi. I added 6 cups of water and brought it to a boil. Then I simmered it as the pork roasted. I also added half a head of sliced Napa cabbage.

I also messed up here because I realized I had completely forgotten about my sweet potatoes when I served the broth. They were done but barely. Next time, I’ll remember to test them to make sure they are fork-tender. That said, even though they weren’t as soft as I would have liked, they were actually my favorite part of the soup. The subtle sweetness just worked REALLY well with the kimchi-flavored broth.

At the end, I made a mixture of low-sodium soy sauce, mirin, and a little sesame oil and stirred that into the broth.

While the broth simmered and the pork roasted, I cooked the noodles.

The Finished Pork

After the pork finished roasting, I transferred the chops to a cutting board. I brought the sauce to a boil for a few minutes to thicken it.

From there, I thinly sliced the pork chops and spooned the thickened sauce on top. I sprinkled minced scallion greens and sesame seeds on top.

kimchi ramen noodles

Serving the Kimchi Pork Ramen

To serve the ramen, I divided the cooked noodles between bowls, ladled over the broth, and added a few slices of pork. I finished with more sesame seeds and minced scallion greens. Next time, I will buy a jar of kimchi and serve it on top of the ramen; I think that will make it perfect!

I’ve made many pork and cabbage ramen recipes, but this variation is a contender for my all-time favorite. The recipe hasn’t been fully vetted, but I added the basic method for this particular version (gaffes and all) in case you want to use it as a starting point. Keep an eye out on my recipes page for the fully tested version coming soon.


Kimchi-Flavored Pork:

  • 1¼ pounds boneless pork chops
  • 1 tablespoon dehydrated kimchi
  • 2 heaping tablespoons Mama O’s Kimchi Paste; if you don’t have this, you can use gochujang instead
  • 1–2 tablespoons honey, more or less to taste
  • ½ cup water or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
  • 1 Korean sweet potato, scrubbed and diced into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Mama O’s Kimchi Paste; if you don’t have this, you can use gochujang instead
  • 1 tablespoon dehydrated kimchi
  • 5 scallions, trimmed and minced; white and green parts kept separate
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ head Napa cabbage, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 6 to 8 ounces dry ramen noodles
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Salt to taste

For serving:

  • Sesame seeds


Roast the pork:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Pat the pork dry and season with salt, pepper, and dehydrated kimchi. Use your fingers to press the dehydrated kimchi into the pork.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the kimchi paste, honey, and water until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the pork and cook for 2–3 minutes per side, being careful not to burn the dehydrated kimchi. See note.
  5. Pour the sauce over the pork and transfer to the oven for 14–16 minutes or until it reaches 140ºF.

Make the ramen broth:

  1. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of neutral oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sweet potato and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2–3 minutes. Add the kimchi paste, dehydrated kimchi, and the white parts of the scallions. Sauté for 1–2 minutes, coating the sweet potatoes in the kimchi paste.
  2. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cabbage and continue simmering for 10–15 or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Taste and season.

Make the noodles:

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook the ramen according to package directions. Drain and divide between bowls.

Finish the pork:

  1. Remove the pork from the oven. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and tent with foil. Rest for 5–10 minutes before thinly slicing.
  2. Return the skillet of sauce to the stovetop over medium heat. Let it bubble for 3–4 minutes to thicken slightly. Turn off the heat.
  3. Arrange the sliced pork on a serving platter and spoon the sauce over the pork. Scatter half the reserved scallion greens on top and finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Keep warm.

Finish the ramen broth:

  1. Add the soy sauce, mirin, and sesame oil to the ramen broth, and then simmer for 5 minutes. Lastly, taste and season and turn off the heat.

To serve:

  1. Ladle the warm broth over the cooked ramen noodles, and then place a few pieces of pork on top and serve with the remaining scallion greens. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of each bowl. Enjoy!


  1. When I make this recipe again, I will not do this. I think I’ll stir the dehydrated kimchi into the sauce and pour over the pork. You can try it either way if you decide to make this!

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