An over heat shot of a Korean grits bowl--grits topped with spinach, kimchi, ground pork, green onions, and sesame

Korean Grits Bowl (Southern-Korean Fusion Dish)

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When cooking together in our household, my husband and I consistently rediscover over and over that southern and Korean flavors mingle and marry well together. We often combine the ingredients of our two food cultures and delight with surprise at how well they blend–There is something special about the merged spices, fermented and pickled produce, and local vegetables. 

Of these fusion dishes, we love making Southern-Korean ‘grits bowls.’ Instead of the usual southern grits topping options such as ‘shrimp & grits’ or ‘breakfast grits,’ we top this Lowcountry southern comfort food with typical Korean flavors.  

Here, we give a recipe for one of our favorite fusion ‘grits bowls.’ We combine grits with some Korean marinated ground pork, soy sauce sautéed spinach, and friend kimchi! Before the shared recipe, we give some helpful cooking tips & tricks as well as answer some questions you may have about this recipe. So, let’s get started! 

A side shot of a Korean grits bowl filled with spinach, kimchi, ground pork, and green onions. In a yellow and blue bowl.
Delicious Big Bowl of Grits Topped With Spinach, Kimchi, and Marinated Pork

What Are Grits?

Grits are a porridge made by rehydrating stone-ground corn, known as hominy. To do so, you boil the dried honey grits in water, broth, or stock, until they become thick and creamy. Usually, grits serve as the starchy base for entrees!

The Muscogee Native American tribe first created grits before introducing them to the white settlers in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. Originally, this stable was known as ‘Rockahomine’ before being renamed ‘hominy’ or ‘grits’ by these white colonists. Since this introduction, grits have become an integral part of the food culture and diet of southern ‘Lowcountry,’ otherwise known as coastal South Carolina and Georgia. Just remember, when eating grits, you are eating a Native American culinary and cultural invention! 

A blue and yellow bowl filled with yellow grits.
First, You Start With A Base of Grits.
A photo of a bowl of yellow grits topped with sautéed spinach.
Then, You Add the Soy Sauce and Minced Garlic Sautéed Spinach

To make grits, you can either follow the instructions on the packaging or our classic southern grits recipe! 

When making grits, we recommend buying a brand from small southern farmers and producers. We list some brands available online in our classic southern grits recipe post. You can also find other brands in our gluten-free grits brands post. Finally, to make delicious grits, never use the instant versions, always buy the stone-ground varieties. The instant versions never taste like the real thing. 

A bowl of yellow hominy topped with sautéed spinach and fried kimchi.
After the Spinach, You Add the Stir-fried Kimchi.
A side shot of a pork Korean grits bowl with different ingredients out of focus behind the bowl.
Finally, You Add the Marinated Pork, Green Onions, and Toasted Sesame Seeds.

Homemade Korean Grits Bowl Frequently Asked Questions:

Now that we learned about grits, we can answer some questions you may have about this Southern-Korean fusion grits bowl! If we did not answer your question, feel free to leave a comment below or email us at carvingajourney@gmail.com

Can You Make This Recipe Allergen-Free? (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Etc.)

These days, it’s easy to make Korean food, as well as southern food, allergen-free! To do so, you need to replace a few ingredients with some allergen-free alternatives. Below, we list some examples of how to replace certain ingredients. 

  • Grits: Though naturally free of major allergens, grits are often produced on the same machinery as wheat, nuts, and grains. To find allergen-free grits, check out our guide of gluten-free grits brands. These brands also are free of other major allergens.
  • Soy Sauce: Soy sauce contains wheat and soy, both of which are a type of allergen. You can replace the soy sauce with gluten-free tamari or soy-free coconut aminos. Check out our list of allergen-free soy sauce alternatives here
  • Dairy: People often cook their grits with cream and butter. If you cannot consume dairy, you can use different types of stocks or broths! 
  • Gochujang: Korean red pepper paste often uses ingredients such as wheat and soy. When buying gochujang, always check the label. For gluten-free gochujang recommendations, check out our post for our favorite brands.  

If there is an ingredient that you cannot eat, feel free to email us or leave a comment below. We will research the ingredient and find an alternative for you!

Can You Make This Korean Grits Bowl Vegetarian or Vegan?

Yes! You can easily make this dish vegetarian or vegan! To do so, you will need to substitute a few ingredients. 

First, we use pork in this grits bowl. Instead, you can use a type of meat replacement (such as Impossible Burger or Beyond Burger) or you can use pressed and crumbled tofu. Either way, the dish will taste different than the original pork version. Though different, it will still taste good! 

An overheat shot of the Korean grits bowl. Grits topped with spinach, kimchi, pork, and more!
Do You Like Southern Food? What About Korean Food?

Next, people often use cream, cheese, butter, or broth to make grits. 

Can You Make This Recipe In Advance?

While you can make this recipe in advance, grits never taste as good reheated. I recommend making the grits right before serving this dish. 

How Do You Store the Korean Grits Bowl Leftovers?

To store the leftovers, place the individual parts of this dish in different storage containers. Place the grits in one container and the pork topping in another container. That way, you can heat them separately! 

You can store the pork and grits for up to three days in the refrigerator. The other topping, such as green onions, can be kept for up to a week. Finally, kimchi can stay for a few months in the refrigerator. 

A bowl of southern hominy in the front with all the toppings sitting behind the bowl (spinach, kimchi, and pork)
Everything You Need to Make the Ultimate Grits Bowl!

How Do You Reheat the Leftovers?

To reheat the grits, place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Then, add and stir in a bit of cream, stock, or water into the grits before microwaving until hot. In another bowl, reheat the pork.

You can add the pork as well as other toppings back onto the heated grits! Enjoy!  

We Hope You Enjoyed Learning About This Southern-Korean Fusion Dish (Korean Grits Bowl)!

In the end, we hope you enjoyed learning about how to make this Southern-Korean fusion grits bowl. If so, let us know in the comment section below.

If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on our blog. We listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by our blended Korean and Southern heritage.

Further Carving A Journey Recipes:

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email us at carvingajourney@gmail.com.

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Southern-Korean Fusion: Korean Grits Bowl

Recipe by EmilyCourse: Breakfast, Entrées, Korean Recipes, Recipes, Southern RecipesCuisine: Korean, SouthernDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes

Ingredients

  • Grits
  • 1 Cup of Grits

  • 4 Cups of Water

  • 2 TBSP Butter

  • 1 Cup of Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated

  • Salt, to Taste

  • Marinated Pork
  • 1 IB Ground Pork

  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced

  • 1 TBSP Gochujang

  • 1 TBSP Soy Sauce

  • 1 TBSP Garlic, Minced

  • 1 TBSP Mirin

  • 1 TBSP Neutral Flavored Honey

  • 1 TSP Sesame Oil

  • Fried Kimchi
  • 2 Cups Kimchi, Chopped into Tiny Pieces

  • Olive Oil, for Pan-Frying

  • Sautéed Spinach
  • 6 OZ Spinach

  • 2 TBSP Garlic, Minced

  • 1 TBSP Soy Sauce

  • Garnish
  • 4 Stocks of Green Onion, Sliced Thin

  • Toasted Sesame Seeds, to Taste

Directions

  • First, start by preparing your ingredients such as mincing the garlic, dicing the onions, slicing the green onions, and grating the cheese. Then, start your grits using our classic grits recipe or the instructions on the packaging. As you cook your other ingredients, remember to stir the grits as they cook so they do not burn on the bottom.
  • While the grits are cooking, prepare the ground pork topping. To start, combine the garlic with the gochujang, soy sauce, mirin, and honey in a bowl and set aside. Heat a skillet over high heat. Add the onions and ground pork to the pan. After your pork starts to turn brown, add in the sauce mixture. Cooking until all the liquid evaporates and the pork browns–It will feel like you’re overcooking the meat but you are not! Once cooked, turn off the heat and add the sesame oil into the pan. Stir until the oil is completely combined. Then, place the ground pork mixture in a bowl and set it aside. 
  • Next, pan-fry your kimchi. Using the same skillet, add about 2 TBSP of oil to the pan. Let the oil get hot and add in the chopped kimchi. Cook the kimchi until all the excess liquid evaporates and it starts browning. Place the cooked kimchi into a bowl and set aside.
  • Next, prepare the sautéed spinach. On medium-low heat, add 2 TBSP minced garlic, 6 OZ of spinach, and 1 TBSP of soy sauce to the pan. Cook until the spinach is wilted and cooked through. Add it to a bowl and set it aside. 
  • Finally, finish preparing the grits. Once cooked add 2 TBSP of butter, salt to taste, and 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese. Mix the ingredients into the grits.
  • After preparing all the ingredients, you can now build your bowl. Start with the grits base. Then, top the grits with cooked spinach, kimchi, ground pork, sliced green onions, and toasted sesame seeds. Serve while hot! 

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