Korean cooking is full of flavour, colourful, and many times social, as well. With spice and kimchi added or alongside many dishes, it’s also very healthy (many Korean recipes contain kimchi, which is a macrobiotic superfood). Our family has been trying our hands at Korean Homestyle Cooking; let’s find out how it’s going.
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Thank you to Tuttle Publishing, who kindly sent us a copy of Korean Homestyle Cooking : 89 Classic Recipes – From Barbecue and Bibimbap to Kimchi and Japchae by Hatsue Shigenobu to try out and review in exchange for our honest review.
The first time I tried Korean food was while I was living in Japan, and it immediately became one of my favourite foods to enjoy while I was there. I tried out several restaurants around the country and learned the different ways it can be prepared. In my last town of residence, Takasaki, a friend taught 4 of us how to make a couple of dishes on a day when her aunt’s Korean restaurant was closed and we weren’t working. Delicious!
With this in mind, it’s strange that so many years later, this is our first Korean cookbook. It’s certainly about time. As life would have it, I’d been in Belfast for the first time in 9 months, even stopping at Asia Market, just three days before this book arrived. However, I was still able to source some common ingredients from the big supermarket we get our deliveries from, and I was able to order Gochujang Red Chili Bean Paste from Amazon, which I hadn’t expected.
The beginning of this book walks you through The Korean Pantry: Key Spices and Ingredients, which is helpful, as was the homemade sauces and stocks that are easy and often used in the recipes. There’s even a spread that shows how to use this book!
The 6 Chapters Are:
- Classic Korean Dishes
- Meat and Fish Dishes
- Vegetable Side Dishes
- Hot Pots and Soups
- Rice and Noodle Dishes
- Classic Korean Homemade Drinks and Sweets
The children and I sat down and looked through the book and put sticky tabs on the pages that had recipes that caught our eyes and for which we had the ingredients.
Korean Homestyle Recipes
Which recipes did we try? Did they turn out well? What did everyone think about them? Let’s find out!
Dak-galbi Chicken with Spicy Garlic Sauce
This recipe is a Classic Korean Dish. I did deviate slightly from the recipe; we didn’t have sweet potatoes in the house, but I did have a bag of bean sprouts that needed to be used, so I swapped them. Homestyle cooking isn’t always about keeping everything the same every single time, as one expects in a restaurant, after all.
This dish took a little time to prepare, which was chopping and grating the veggies and ginger, but once that was done, the rest of the meal was very quick and easy. The chicken can marinate as you do the other prep. Then it’s simply a matter of stir-frying and steaming and serving it up.
Kallista did find this dish a little hot in spice, which is in many Korean dishes, so she had a glass of milk with our meal. Otherwise, everyone liked this meal and looks forward to having it again in the future.
Warm Seasoned Zucchini
This recipe is from Chapter 3 and is very popular in Korea. Mix up the sauce, slice the zucchini, and fry. How easy is that?!
We don’t often have zucchini, but it turns out that Phil really likes it, though it’s not something he’s requested in the past. Tristan also liked this more than he thought he would, which is excellent.
The sauce takes the bitterness out of the vegetable, which is useful where children are concerned. I do believe I’ll have to put zucchini on the grocery list more frequently in the fuute.
Seasoned Tomato Salad
Also from Chapter 3, Vegetable Side Dishes, Kallista made this dish on her own. Instead of ‘regular’ tomatoes, she used a mix of colourful cherry and grape tomatoes that were in the fridge. There are 6 ingredients, and no cooking is required.
She should have doubled the recipe, though, as there wasn’t any left for lunch the next day. That’s always a great sign when trying out a new recipe.
Braised Baby Potatoes
It’s easy to add a Korean side dish to meals as there are many good ones in this book. The next one we made was this recipe.
These baby potatoes were nice and tender and infused with flavour. I have made a similar Japanese recipe in the past, but this one is much easier; a recipe with only 3 short paragraphs/steps, is always good.
Kimchi Fried Rice
Fried rice is a great way to use up leftovers. We usually make enough rice for our evening meal to provide enough for either a lunchtime or dinner fried rice meal the following day.
For this recipe, rather than fry the eggs in with the rice, kimchi, and other ingredients, it’s served sunny side up on top of the kimchi fried rice. Some of our eggs seem to have had broken yolks, so a couple of us had sunny side up eggs, and the others roughly over easy.
Kallista was a little worried that this could be too spicy for her; however, with all of the ingredients mixed together into the rice, it dissipates some of the heat and she’d love to have this again.
Future Recipes We’ll Try
There are many more sticky tabs in this book that the family would like to try. A small selection of them are:
- Bulgogi Soy-marinated Beef with Spring Onions
- Pork and Pepper Buchimgae Pancakes
- Quick Napa Cabbage Kimchi
- Garlic Fried Chicken
- Korean Potato Salad
- Cucumber Salad with Sesame Dressing
- Chilled Buckwheat Noodles with Toppings
- Stuffed Korean Hotteok Buns
- Makgeolli Sherbet
For a small recipe book, it’s packed full of tasty dishes that are achievable by almost everyone. The instructions are clear and to the point. Everything is presented well, with any questions you may have addressed at the start of the book before the recipes.
Korean Homestyle Cooking has been a good first introduction to Korean food for my family.