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Kimchi Pineapple

This Kimchi Pineapple recipe is from Koreatown: A Cookbook by Deuki Hong & Matt Rodbard; Publisher: Clarkson Potter/Publishers; ISBN:078-0-804-18613-1: Copyright; 2016. Permission for republishing of recipe on this blog granted by publisher.

From the authors

“Kimchi Pineapple is our own invention, and we just have to pat ourselves on the back a little bit for it. When we first made it in the test kitchen, we couldn’t stop eating it – with all its sweetness and acid and spice and tang and funk. It goes incredibly well with grilled meat, on a taco or with a bowl of ramyun. And in general, if you have any leftover marinade, dig through your refrigerator to see what else can be kimchi’d.”

~ Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard



This is what gives the kimchi its guts: a blend of sweetness, heat and brininess. Using a quality fish sauce is important, so we prefer to spend a little bit extra on a smaller-batch Vietnamese brand called “Red Boat”.


  • ½ cup peeled, cored and chopped Asian pear
  • ½ cup coarsely ground gochugaru (Korean Red Chili Powder)
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger

Add the pear, gochugaru, fish sauce, garlic, sugar and ginger to a food processor and run till smooth.


  • 1 large pineapple, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup kimchi marinade

In a large pickling jar or lidded container, combine the pineapple and 1 cup of the kimchi marinade, stirring to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This kimchi will keep up to 1 week, refrigerated—but honestly, it’s not going to last that long.

Following are ingredients and step-by-step photos of this recipe, as demonstrated by Pomai of The Tasty Island:

Left to right: Dole Royal Hawaiian Pineapple (fully ripened), Lucky brand Thai Fish Sauce, KOHA Foods (Honolulu brand) Sun-dried Red Pepper Powder, Korean Pear, (top row) ginger, garlic and golden cane sugar

KOHA Foods (Honolulu brand) Sun-dried Red Pepper Powder

Lucky brand Thai Fish Sauce (shown with red pepper powder specks in it); I’ve used this Thai fish sauce before, finding it has a nice balance of pungent, savory fermented fish flavor, without being “aromatically harsh” (rancid) nor too salty; as the authors suggestion, the fish sauce is a very important component to making great tasting Kimchi marinade

All the ingredients for the kimchi marinade, chopped and minced, and stuffed in a Nutri Ninja personal blender (a.k.a “nutrition extractor”)

All the ingredients for the kimchi marinade stuffed in a Nutri Ninja personal blender (a.k.a “nutrition extractor”), ready to “zap”

After about 30 to 40 seconds of  processing in the Nutri Ninja, voila, a thick Kimchi marinade

The finished scratch-made Kimchi marinade, made exactly to the recipe by Koreatown: A Cookbook; note it’s about the same thickness as Heinz Ketchup

Ripe Dole Pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into about 1″x1½”  bite-size pieces, ready in a thick stainless steel bowl to get tossed with the Kimchi marinade

This further illustrates how thick that Kimchi marinade is; and trust me, unless your name is “Joey Ghost Peppers”, this stuff is spicy HOT!

The ripened Dole pineapple thoroughly tossed and evenly coated with the scratch-made Kimchi marinade

Covered with a tight-sealing lid then stored in refrigerator for several days to marinate (this, being longer than the recipe recommended)

After 4 days in the refrigerator, being tossed several times in intervals to make sure it’s all coated well, voila, the Kimchi Pineapple looks and tastes ready to enjoy!

A banchan-sized serving of Kimchi Pineapple

And? First of all, I learned about this recipe from reader and friend Ken, who owns Koreatown: A Cookbook (among HUNDREDS of other cookbooks). Ken said he’s made this Kimchi Pineapple several times, raving how absolutely ADDICTIVE it is. So much so, he ate each entire batch in one sitting.

Well, after making it myself in this first attempt at making any kind of homemade Kimchi, I have to agree, this Kimchi Pineapple truly is addictive and EXCELLENT! Love it! As the authors describe it, “with all its sweetness and acid and spice and tang and funk”, that’s indeed what it’s all about. That fish sauce really makes all the difference in the Kimchi marinade, giving it that slightly savory component it needs to round out its flavor. Which surprisingly works well with the sweet ‘n acidic Pineapple, as it would with the usual Won Bok (Napa) cabbage Kimchi.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos with Grilled Pineapple-Mango Salsa. Image source: LATortillaFactory.com

My next project using this batch of Kimchi Pineapple will be Tacos, with various fillings in them. Stay tuned for that.

Cover image above links to Amazon for purchase of this cookbook


6 thoughts on “Kimchi Pineapple

  • October 26, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Pomai, remember, once you crossed the bridge, you can”t go back. My taste buds keep calling out for kimchee pineapple!

    • October 27, 2016 at 9:32 am


      I must admit, the “heat” level (spiciness) from the red pepper powder was VERY HIGH for my particular palate (on a scale of 10, about an 8), yet once I got acclimated to it, I was all good.

      I’m still not on a hot pepper kick, however the combination with the Pineapple, along with the overall “funky” value made this one surprisingly “addictive”, even for me; where otherwise hot stuff wouldn’t.

      Can’t wait to try it with other savory stuff like grilled fish, pork and beef tacos.

      • October 27, 2016 at 11:19 am

        Pomai, The extra heat you are experiencing could be because you are not using Korean coarsely ground gochugaru red pepper which cost $6.99 per bag in Palama Korean Market.

      • October 27, 2016 at 12:10 pm

        BTW, the cookbook is one of the best I’ve ever purchased. It is a fantastic look inside Korean communities and their cuisine coast to coast in the United States. The recipes are simple and very well explained and not overly complex. Even the guest chef recipes are easy to make at home. This cookbook will cause you to add Korean cuisine to your weekly meal menus.

        Koreatown cookbook is a wonderful culinary journey through ingredients & equipment, where you can shop for product resources, photographs of Korean produce, kimchi & banchan recipes, rice, noodles & dumplings recipes, barbecue: grilled, smoked & fried recipes, drinking foods recipes, soups, stews & braises recipes, drinks, sweets & desserts recipes and glossary of word meanings.

  • October 27, 2016 at 10:01 am

    When I saw the title and the picture my first thought was oh man, I don’t know about this. But almost immediately after that I began to think that it could actually be pretty good.  I showed it to my daughter and her first reaction was “Oh!” and then “Hmmmm…”  So she had the same reaction as me.

  • October 29, 2016 at 7:02 am

    @ Kyle K – Like the author says, you could try experiment with whatever you have in the kitchen and “Kimchi-fy” it. They do the same thing at the Palama Market Kimchi bar, “Kimchi-fying” everything from various seafood, meats and veggies. to tofu. However I don’t recall them “Kimchi-fying” fruits!

    @ Ken – Actually, I don’t have a problem with the extra heat, and like the flavor the KOHA brand finely-ground red pepper powder I used, in how it imparted into the Kimchi marinade. Excellent! The Korean brand course-ground Kochugaru powders you mention were all merchandised right next to the KOHA brand I decided to use. I used the KOHA brand mainly because it was a local brand, which I always like to support. ;-)

    I didn’t know there was SMOKED Korean foods. I’d love to try some o’ that! I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it next time I hit Palama Market.



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