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In Dok Suni, Jenny Kwak offers a loving and delicious introduction to the most exciting cuisine in the food world today-- Korean cooking. Whether you are one of the millions of Americans who are already devotees of the spicy, healthful, home-style world of Korean food or you're trying it for the first time, Dok Suni will delight with flavorful, authentic, easy-to-prepare specialties and a taste of the family traditions that come to life in every dish.
Ranging from hearty and spicy soups (said to heal whatever ails you), barbecued beef favorites, and rice and noodle dishes to seafood and chicken specialties and the irresistible appetizers and side dishes that make every Korean meal complete, the recipes include: sautéed Korean vermicelli with vegetables * ginseng chicken in broth * spicy stewed crab * beef barbecue with sesame-salt dipping sauce * Korean dumplings * seafood pancake * stuffed zucchini * hearty kimchi soup * among many others.
More than a recipe collection, Dok Suni (the name means "strong woman") opens the door to an entire cuisine. Sprinkled with handed-down fables, secrets for easy preparation, and loving salutes to an immigrant mom who worked hard to make it in America and shows her love through her out-of-this-world kitchen creations, the book is a truly passionate celebration of Korean cooking and eating.
Dok Suni is an enchanting combination of personal narrative and appealing recipes in which Jenny Kwak shares stories and food from her mother's Korean kitchen. Since few cooks are familiar with Korean food, it is helpful that Kwak's descriptions of each dish tell what results to expect: Spinach and Clam Soup, you discover, "is good boiling hot (yet) there is a cool sensation about the flavor ... from the clams." The 70 recipes in this volume include important classic Korean dishes. There are six versions of Kim Chi, the incendiary pickle made from cabbage or other vegetables, garlic, and mounds of red pepper. Bibimbop, a dish of sautéed chopped vegetables served over rice--often in a heated clay dish--is topped with a raw egg that cooks as you mix it in. Proving how much Koreans love beef, Kwok gives her mother's recipes for Bulgogi and Kalbi. Bulgogi is thinly sliced beef marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine, then grilled. The short ribs used for Kalbi are similarly marinated before they are barbecued.
A caveat is necessary. Though Dok Suni is coauthored by a native English speaker, select recipes contain some questionable or incomplete directions. For the Pumpkin Porridge, the black beans are cooked for only five minutes, and no presoaking is called for, which seems an inadequate cooking time. Where brown rice is called for, there is no indication whether to use short or long grain. This being said, the book is still an inspirational introduction to Korean cooking that's also filled with Korean folklore and charming family narratives. --Dana Jacobi
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