Sunday, February 24, 2019

Book Review: The Korean Kimchi Cookbook

Hi bento friends!

I know I've been MIA for awhile but I'm back to check out a few cookbooks for you. The first one is called The Korean Kimchi Cookbook and yup, it's all about making kimchi. This book is chock full of interesting tidbits about the background and history of kimchi, and the recipes vary between long term fermentation and quick pickling methods. Here's the blurb from the publisher:

Kimchi is the newest star on the Asian culinary stage. These kimchi recipes are an appetizing way to add more vegetables with probiotics, vitamins, and enzymes to your healthy diet. 

This delicious Korean superfood is tasty in a surprisingly tangy, spicy, and pungent way! The Korean Kimchi Cookbook is the first Korean cookbook in English to present Korean kimchi recipes in so many different forms. Learn about the alchemy of vegetable fermentation and its health benefits, which include healthy digestion, anti-aging results, lower cholesterol, and a stronger immune system. 

The Korean Kimchi Cookbook features the extensive history and background information about Korean cuisine and the country's fascinating culture, and is perfect for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike!

There are 78 flavorful and easy-to-prepare recipes organized by season, including:

  • Fresh Oyster Kimchi
  • Swiss Chard Kimchi
  • Fresh Ginger Pickles
  • Traditional Cabbage Kimchi
This latest edition has been rewritten to make instructions more accessible for the home cook, with all spices, condiments, and vegetables easily found in any Western supermarket. Plus, all recipes are easy enough for anyone new to the world of fermentation—the combinations and possibilities are endless! 

The recipes in this Korean cookbook represent what good food is about: health, quality, simplicity, and the balance of texture and flavor. Become a part of an ancient Korean tradition passed down through the years with The Korean Kimchi Cookbook!

About the Author:
Lee O-Young is a Doctor of Literature and a renowned literary critic. He has served as a director at the Ewha Womans University in the Semiotics Research Center, and has contributed articles and editorials to countless publications. From 1990-1991, he served as Korea's first Minister of Culture. 

Lee Kyou-Tae is a journalist who has written over 100 books. In 1972 he received an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from the University of North Cholla Province. 

Kim Man-Jo is a food industry consultant who has authored six books on the subject of kimchi. She has taught at the Seoul Womens University and Yonsei University, and is presently living in Indonesia where she is founder and CEO of The Sages Institute International, a school of culinary and pastry arts.

The recipes are organized by season, according to the vegetables and seafood that are readily available. Not all of the recipes are spicy; some are like pickles and offer refreshment during hot summer days. If you're like me you love to eat kimchi but never really thought about making it yourself, maybe because it seems difficult or complicated. I found the recipes to be clearly written and easy to follow, though there are some "essential" ingredients that might be a challenge find, such as sweet rice flour and Korean radish. 

For the first recipe I tried, Cool Cubed Radish Kimchi, I substituted Japanese radish (daikon).

This recipe is fairly simple and can be eaten immediately or fermented 3-4 days. The radish is not spicy but rather slightly sweet and tangy with the addition of fresh ginger and garlic. I loved these crunchy cubes and plan to make them again.

The second recipe I tried is Hot and Spicy Spring Kimchi. Red and pungent, this one is similar to the spicy kimchi we are accustomed to eating in restaurants or buying in jars at the market. It utilizes Napa cabbage and calls for anchovy paste, fish sauce, two types of ground chili, garlic and ginger, as well as scallions and mustard greens. As soon as I mixed the paste my mouth was watering.

This one is supposed to ferment for 3-4 weeks but I tried it after 4 days and it was delicious. The cabbage leaves hadn't wilted yet but the paste, which you are meant to layer between the leaves, combines with the water from the presoaked leaves to make a spicy liquid. Can't wait to try it in a few weeks!

There are lots more recipes in this book using other types of vegetables such as bitter dandelion greens, green cabbage, savoy cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, and even some using fish, shellfish, and other seafood. In short, this is a comprehensive collection of kimchi recipes sure to please the kimchi lover. The recipes are not overly complicated, do not call for specialized equipment or vessels, and offer a very good introduction into the so-called secrets of kimchi-making. If you love kimchi and want to experiment in making your own, I suggest giving this book a try!


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