Croque Ajumma

Doug Choi's avatar
Doug Choi


The Bread

  • 1
    Tbsp Butter
  • 2
    Slices Brioche

In Between the Bread

  • 1
    Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2
    Cup Gruyère
  • 2
    Slices Low Sodium Spam
  • 1/2
    Cup Kimchi
    Roughly Cut

Gochujang Mornay

  • 1 1/2
    Tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • 1
    Tbsp Gochujang
  • 1
    Tbsp Butter
  • 1
    Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seed Oil
  • 1
    Cup Whole Milk

Oil Basted Egg

  • 1
    Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1
    Large Egg


  • 1
    Small Sheet Gim
  • 1
    Pinch Toasted Sesame Seeds


Let’s experiment by making a Croque Ajumma, a mashup of the classic French Croque Madame with Korean ingredients.
Start by grating Gruyère until you have approximately 1 cup of shredded cheese.
Slice your Low Sodium Spam into 2 1/4” slices. Set aside the remainder for a different Spam recipe you love.
Butter both sides of 2 Slices Brioche with 1 Tbsp Butter (Softened)
With your pan on medium heat, gently toast your buttered Brioche.
With your pan still warm, place 2 Slices Low Sodium Spam (1/4") in the pan to sear. Sear both sides before setting aside. Approximately 1-2 minute per side.
Oil your pan with 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil. When the oil is hot, sear 1/2 Cup Kimchi (Roughly Cut), flipping over to brown both sides.
Bring a small saucepan to Medium Heat before adding your remaining 1 Tbsp Butter (Softened) and 1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seed Oil. Melt and stir the mixture well before whisking in 1 1/2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour. Whisk until the Roux attains your desired level of brownness.
Lower your heat to Medium Low and add 1 Cup Whole Milk and whisk to combine. The mixture should begin to thicken up. When it’s smoothed out, add 1/2 Cup Gruyère (Shredded) and whisk to combine. You’ve made a Mornay Sauce.
Once the sauce is smooth, add 1 Tbsp Gochujang and whisk to combine. The sauce should turn from a light tan to a pale orange. You’ve made a Gochujang Mornay Sauce.
Time to assemble. Place your slices of griddled Brioche next to each other and spread the Gochujang Mornay Sauce liberally over one side of each slice. Place both Slices of Fried Low Sodium Spam on the bottom Slice of Brioche. Then follow that up with your griddled Kimchi. Evenly sprinkle shredded Gruyère on top of the Kimchi, reserving a little bit for later. Lastly, place the top Slice of Brioche, sauce side down on top.
Spread or pour more Gochujang Mornay Sauce onto the top of your sandwich. Feel free to drown it and have the sauce running off the edges. Sprinkle the last of your Shredded Gruyère on top.
Place on a middle rack of your oven preheated to 425 F. Once the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, remove from oven. Approximately 2-5 Minutes.
While the sandwich is in the oven you can make a quick oil basted egg. With your remaining 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil, slick a non stick skillet set to Medium High. When the pan is to temperature, crack 1 Large Egg into the pan. Once the white is starting to set, tilt the pan so the oil gathers on one side and use a spoon to scoop up the hot oil and gently bathe the top of the egg. This will help cook the top and create beautiful bubbles in the white. Remove the egg once the white is fully set, but before the yolk is fully cooked.
Plate your sandwich and place your Oil Basted Egg on top. Sprinkle with 1 Small Sheet Gim and 1 Pinch Toasted Sesame Seeds on top. You can also Season to taste with Black Pepper.
Enjoy your Croque Ajumma! This is a fork and knife sandwich, best enjoyed by first breaking the runny yolk to sauce every rich and delicious bite. This recipe is heavily influenced by Serious Eats’ Croque Madame recipe.
Doug Choi's avatar
Let’s experiment by making a Croque Ajumma, a mashup of the classic French Croque Madame with Korean ingredients.