Mussels are one of those easy dinners that can so easily get overlooked when bombarded by quick-cooking fish fillets and chicken breasts at the market. But mussels are just as quick and easy (if not easier) to prepare than fish, and they're a year-round sustainable source of seafood. Pop them in a pot of flavorful broth, and they'll be done before you can set the table. Adding even more reason to pick up a couple of pounds of shellfish is the Red Curry Mussels with Kimchi from Lauryn Chun's new Kimchi Cookbook. Here, she swaps in kimchi for more traditional lemongrass in a coconut-red curry sauce. The kimchi brings funk, spice, and salinity to the broth, enhancing the creamy brininess of the mussels.
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Okay. Grilled cheese is not the kind of dish that really needs a recipe. Bread, cheese, butter, plus a moderately hot pan, and dinner is served, right? Sure, these steps will lead to a tasty sandwich, but it is easy to get into a grilled cheese rut without the proper inspiration. Enter the Grilled MILKimcheeze from Lauryn Chun's Kimchi Cookbook. Nothing more than a standard gooey warm sandwich, except for the generous application of napa cabbage kimchi. Not only does the kimchi add welcome crunch to the melty cheese, but its spicy funk adds an addictive layer of flavor to the lunchtime favorite.
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, crunchy kimchi; tofu, beef, and sesame oil, these dumplings are worth every minute spent filling and crimping.
When most of us think of kimchi, we think of spicy fermented napa cabbage, swathed in a bright red, fishy sauce. Lauryn Chun's white wrapped kimchi from The Kimchi Cookbook is not that kimchi. Dating back to before the 16th century, this white kimchi was being made before chiles were introduced to Korea. As a result, the kimchi is mild and slightly sweet, yet still retains the signature crunch and funk from natural fermentation. Instead of simply tossing the mixture in a jar, however, Chun elevates the recipe by wrapping the kimchi mixture in brined napa cabbage leaves.
Napa cabbage is the backbone to many a kimchi recipe, so it seems natural to begin a kimchi-making adventure with a leafy ferment. In Lauryn Chun's The Kimchi Cookbook, she presents a recipe for the house pickle from her company, Mother-in-Law's Kimchi. As she writes in the intro to the recipe, Chun's recipe is a variation on a fall harvest kimchi, typically eaten fresh, immediately after mixing. Chun prefers to ferment the mixture of chile flakes, salted shrimp, garlic, ginger, and cabbage for a few days before eating; this is how her product is sold. The moderate fermentation time allows the seasonings to mellow a bit and take on kimchi's signature effervescent quality.