[Photograph: Sara Remington]

Preparing homemade dumplings can often seem like a daunting task, and when the filling is a simple mixture of ground beef or potatoes, the one-note result makes the project seem less worthwhile.

Not so with Lauryn Chun's Pan-fried Kimchi Dumplings from The Kimchi Cookbook. Loaded with bright and crunchy kimchi, tofu, beef, and sesame oil, these dumplings are worth every minute spent filling and crimping. (And, yes it does take quite a while to prepare each dumpling, so plan ahead).

Why I picked this recipe: Kimchi dumplings are one of my favorite things to order at Korean restaurants, so I was excited to try my hand at making my own.

What worked: The copious amounts of tofu indeed gave the dumplings a light texture, and its mildness allowed the flavor of the tofu to shine through.

What didn't: If your cast iron isn't impeccably seasoned, I'd recommend making these in a non-stick skillet.

Suggested tweaks: It is easy to make these vegan, simply leave out the egg and ground beef. After making a few meat-free dumplings for my veggie-friends, I found I actually liked these more than the dumplings with beef.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Kimchi Cookbook to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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