Serious Eats

Cook the Book: 'The Kimchi Cookbook'

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It's no secret that I'm not much into cleanse diets and salad eating come January. Still, the idea of adding healthful foods to my diet (instead of removing the good stuff, like chocolate) in the new year is a good one. Roasted vegetables and leafy greens are, naturally, a good choice, but a little boring. Instead, I resolve to eat more fermented foods, like kimchi, this new year. And with the help of Lauryn Chun's The Kimchi Cookbook, it'll be easy to add the funky, lacto-fermented Korean pickles to my table.

Chun's book has a recipe for just about any type of kimchi you could think of, from spicy napa and daikon blends to more creative and modern pickles made from butternut squash, French butter radishes, and even tomatoes. Anyone familiar with Chun's New York-based kimchi company, Mother-in-Law's Kimchi, should be pleased to find many of her signature recipes tucked throughout the book. On top of all of the pickle recipes, Chun also includes about two dozen recipes for using up all those jars of kimchi you'll accumulate, since eating kimchi straight from the jar (no shame) may eventually grow old.

The great variety in the book is welcome since natural fermentation can take a while to properly pickle the vegetables. Some ferments, like her stuffed cabbage and whole daikon recipes, take upwards of a week to ferment at (a warm-ish) room temperature. Others are instant, or at least only 24-hour ferments, so you can get your fix quickly if that kimchi craving hits. You will probably need to make a trip to an Asian supermarket to find some of the traditional kimchi ingredients, like salted shrimp and Korean chili powder, but these are usually not difficult to find. If you're far from a source for such groceries, many of the vegan recipes in the book can be made without obscure ingredients.

This week, we'll make a two different types of winter-style kimchi: Mother-in-Law's Signature Kimchi and White Wrapped Kimchi with Persimmon and Dates. Then we'll put our ferments to work in Pan-fried Kimchi Mandu Dumplings, Grilled MILKimcheeze Sandwiches, and Red Curry Mussels with Kimchi Puree.

Win 'The Kimchi Cookbook'

Thanks to our friends at Ten Speed Press, we have five (5) copies of The Kimchi Cookbook to give away this week. All you need to do is tell us about your favorite fermented food in the comments section below.

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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