cover image My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes

My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes

Hooni Kim, with Aki Kamozawa. Norton, $40 (272p) ISBN 978-0-393-23972-0

In this exciting debut, Kim, chef at Michelin-starred New York City restaurant Danji, collects Korean recipes that are in turn spicy, funky, and comforting. Chapters follow the progression of a Korean meal, beginning with banchan, the small dishes that appear at the start, including homemade silken tofu and dried anchovies fried until crisp and tossed in a sweet, sticky sauce. Kim skillfully describes Korean food culture: in Korea, anchovy broth, “a hangover remedy,” is served in late-night tent-taverns, and Spam is specially packaged for holiday gift giving (Kim shares recipes for the broth with somen noodles, and for a spicy stew made with Spam). Kim isn’t wedded to tradition, but when he does craft variations, they’re on target, as when brisket stands in for the pork in fried rice or bacon and kimchi marry in a savory sauce. The chapter dedicated to kimchi contains a traditional cabbage recipe as well as versions made from ramps or radishes. Meat dishes include pork belly sliders and Hanjan chicken skewers, and seafood choices, such as black cod simmered in an umami-rich sauce, appear as well. A chapter on cocktails includes a colada made with probiotic yakult and rum, and a handful of desserts feature shaved ice. This thoughtful, comprehensive, and inventive volume sets a high bar for Korean cookbooks. (Apr.)