Korean Ssamjang Chicken and Kimchi Nachos

As a foodie who loves to travel there’s nothing that delights me more than encountering an unexpected cultural mashup on the plate. This particular recipe popped into my brain in a split second (queue the angels singing) and has been recreated hundreds of times since for snack-loving family and friends.

I came up with the idea for the dish the morning after my family’s epic annual Thanksgiving feast. I had a ton of leftover cooked turkey which I was looking to transform into a new dish – anything other than soup please! I scoured my pantry and found a few avocados, sour cream, half a brick of cheddar cheese, a bag of nachos and a tub of Korean ssamjang paste. The rest is history!

The dish takes no more than 30 minutes to throw together and is perfect if you’re looking to wow friends at a potluck dinner or are looking for a finger-licking-good shareable snack for your next movie night or sports game.

Ever since I started making kimchi at home I’ve been trying to incorporate the popular fermented Korean condiment in as many dishes as I can. The secret sauce that really defines the dish is ssamjang, a thick and spicy Korean paste which pairs perfectly with grilled meat. It’s the ultimate Mexican-Korean mouthful, sure to be your new go-to when suffering from the snack-attack.

The recipe below doesn’t define exact proportions for each ingredient as I like to build the dish like I would a Mexican 7 Layered Dip (with whimsy). You can prepare all of the ingredients in advance (everything is served cold) which makes assembly a breeze.


Sour Cream (or 0% Greek Yogurt if you’re playing healthy)


Cheddar Cheese

Cooked Turkey or Chicken


Homemade Kimchi



  1. Chop cooked chicken/turkey and place into a frying pan on medium heat.
  2. Add ssamjang to taste (you’ll want at least 1 cup), stirring for 5 minutes so the chicken/turkey is thoroughly tossed in the sauce. Let cool then store in the fridge.
  3. Assemble bottom to top: generous slathering of sour cream/greek yogurt, chunky guacamole, ssamjang turkey/chicken, shredded cheddar cheese, and kimchi.
  4. Serve with nachos, a hoppy IPA and scoop away!

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