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‘Korean Food Made Simple’ Host Judy Joo Gets Book Deal

‘Korean Food Made Simple’ Host Judy Joo Gets Book Deal

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Is there anything Judy Joo can’t do? An amazing chef who has worked for Saveur magazine’s test kitchen and the Gordon Ramsay restaurant empire, who has served as a chef, judge, and competitor on the Iron Chef series, and who hosts her own show Korean Food Made Simple on Cooking Channel, is now writing a cookbook. Korean Food Made Simple the cookbook (due out next year) will be a collection of 125 recipes that make cooking Korean food accessible to an American home cook — recipes like burgers infused with Korean BBQ marinade and chef Judy’s popular Korean fried chicken. In Judy’s own words, the book is “different from other Korean cookbooks because it makes Korean food approachable. It’s about the globalization of Korean food.”

I had the pleasure of talking to chef Judy about her highly-anticipated cookbook.

Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration behind this collection of recipes?
The inspiration actually comes from many different areas. A lot of it is from my mom, my life, my views, things I’ve grown up with, and my travels back and forth to Korea; last year I went to Korea four times. Lots of the dishes in the cookbook are what I consider fusion; they’re inspired by Korean ingredients and flavors but use more of a French technique, especially on the dessert side. I’m using all of my knowledge of what works to make Korean food accessible to an American home cook.

Why is Korean food challenging for an American home cook and how do your recipes address those challenges?
My whole philosophy is that it doesn’t have to be 100 percent authentic; it just has to be 100 percent delicious. The hardest thing is usually grocery shopping; it can be daunting, especially if you have to go to a specialty market or can’t find the right ingredients. I encourage substitutions that make sense. If you can’t find a certain hot sauce, sub another one, if you can’t’ find thinly sliced meat, freeze a thicker cut and slice it yourself. It’s all about substituting.

Do you have a favorite recipe from the cookbook?
I have two favorites, my crazy Korean burger (which is the most universally loved among the television crew on the set of my show) and made with a great quality ground beef, Korean BBQ marinade mixed into the patty, gochujang ketchup, and cucumber kimchi for pickles, and my stew; I make a really great vegetable and tofu stew.

For more information on chef Judy Joo or her cookbook which is due out next year, visit her website.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.

Chef Nancy Fuller entices home cooks with simple recipes

Nancy Fuller never dreamed she'd be hosting a cooking program. She doesn't even watch much television. But when the Food Network came calling, she said yes.

Filmed inside the 17th-century farmhouse where she lives in New York's Hudson Valley, "Farmhouse Rules" is now in its fifth season, and she's getting ready to film season six.

At age 66, she's also just published her first cookbook, "Farmhouse Rules: Simple Seasonal Meals for the Whole Family" (Grand Central Life & Style, $30).

Fuller's goal is simple. She wants people to cook real food, and she entices them with simple recipes. The mother of six and grandmother of 13 takes a cue from her own grandmother when she steps into the kitchen. She doesn't skimp on butter, and she's all about taking the intimidation out of cooking real food.

Fuller, who co-owns Ginsberg's Foods with her husband, splits her time between New York and Florida. The holiday episode of "Farmhouse Rules" airs at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 5. Fuller is also a judge on "Holiday Baking Championship" at 9 p.m. Sundays Dec. 6, 13 and 20.

Q.You were already in your 60s when you started working with Food Network. What's your background?

A. My real job has been, we have a food distribution company that was in my husband's family for 105 years. Back in 2006 I bought his brother out, so now David and I own this food distribution company, which is the largest independent in the Hudson Valley.

I was born and raised on a farm, which my father owned and I inherited. That's a 400-acre dairy farm that I have leased to the same man for the last 30 years. He milks the same number of cattle we milked in the '50s, '60s and '70s. The farm I now live in on is a farm I bought probably 10 years ago.

Q.When some might be thinking about retirement, you start a career on television and write your first cookbook?

A. It was scary to me. I've always been very energetic. I used to think, what am I going to do if I retire? Then this fell in my lap.

The cookbook launched and is out, and it has been very successful. . We sold 8,500 copies in 14 minutes on QVC. But you know what, if this TV business goes away tomorrow, my life isn't going to change. I'm still going to cook.

Q.Did you watch any shows on Food Network before you had your own?

A. The irony of me having a television show is that I don't watch television. I was never one to just sit down in front of it.

Q.How did you get started cooking?

A. On the strings of my grandmother's apron. She was just a farmer, known as a really good cook and the best pie maker in the day when we had church socials and the Grange Hall had Saturday dinners. Back in the '50s in an agricultural community, that's what we did.

Her farm was probably three miles from our farm. I'd actually ride my horse to her house for breakfast, and she made the best fried eggs in the whole wide world.

Q.What did you learn from running your own catering business?

A. I used to make a joke with my husband, well, I know I can cater. I cater to you and six kids. That was a dinner party for eight three times a day. It just kind of evolved.

We were merchandising cattle. We had registered Holsteins and went to a sale. They were serving tuna fish on Ritz crackers. I said, "You cannot ask these prices for these animals and serve tuna fish on crackers!" The organizer said, "Well, what would you do about it?" I think I better cater it. They all knew me as somebody who could cook.

It is like an artist. When you really have a passion for something, or a natural ability to do something, you do it with relish. You do it because you're comfortable with it and you're good at it. I'll never be Picasso, but I can cook like Julia Child.

Q.What have you learned about holiday entertaining?

A. Use as many easy recipes as you can. I wouldn't make something I've not made before, that's a good point. Make something that's easy that you can freeze for dessert and bring out. My favorite thing to make are little shortbread bars that are in the book. You can make them any flavor. I make almond, maybe cranberry.

Just make the simplest recipes and try not to do too much. Every holiday was dressing, turkey, creamed onions, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, always the Jell-O mold. There was so much, I'm not sure we all need as much today.

Q.How do you feel about filming "Farmhouse Rules" in your own home?

A. That house was my house before TV cameras came in my house. I learned to be very resilient. I learned to be very patient.

When they said it is a show about your life, who you are, I said don't bring me any props. I have enough stuff around my house. That's who I am. And 26 people come in and touch my stuff and use all my rooms. I think about the hours we've spent scraping the paint off the floorboards. So I just put mats down. We'll all be happier.

Q.Is there one thing in your kitchen you could never give up?

A. My salt rock thing I have, where I keep my salt for the past 20 years. No one else has one. I found it at a flea market in Europe.

Q.Explain the concept of Farmhouse Rules.

A. The word "rules" was the word for "recipe" years ago, probably the turn of the century. My grandmother had a little spiral book, tiny pages of lined paper, and there was Myra's Rule, and Grandmama's Rule, Mother's Rule. All the people in her life that have given her a recipe that she liked, all those recipes were in this little book. That's where the name Farmhouse Rules came from.

Q.Who has that book now?

A. Me. It is in my 18th-century desk.

Q.Are any of your kids into cooking?

A. I raised six kids, and I don't know that any of them are real cooks. They didn't get their mother's passion for cooking. We tease them unmercifully.

Last Thanksgiving Kimberly made a pumpkin pie. I had just finished (judging) the "Holiday Baking Championship" season one on Food Network. I said to Kimberly, "I would have to send you home, honey."

Q.What do your grandchildren say when they see you on television?

A. I just asked my granddaughter, "OK, Victoria, what do you think about Gigi being on television?" She said, "I think it is really cool." Why is it really cool? "Nobody else in my class has a grandmother on television." That's the 15-year-old. The littlest is 5.

Q.What's the thing that people ask you?

A. They always want to know my favorite recipe. Probably because we had it once a week with my grandmother, it is the Chop Chop in the Pot Roast Chicken.

Q.Where does your catchphrase, "Chop chop in the pot" come from?

A. I don't know where it comes from. I trademarked it. It is mine.

Q.How do you help people stress less about cooking?

A. I just want to tell them, look at the picture. Find the recipe, go get the ingredients, make the recipe. Just do it.

Then make it again and make it your own. Less salt, more flavor, more salt. Play with it. Add things and change it to make it your own.

Q.If people take one thing away from your work, what do you want them to learn?

A. I want them to support a farmer. If every single person would buy one fresh pear or one fresh zucchini or one fresh onion from a farmer, it could keep this industry alive.

About Kristine M. Kierzek

Kristine M. Kierzek is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer. She regularly writes Chef Chat and Fork. Spoon. Life. columns for Fresh.

© 2016, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved.

Korean Food Made Simple

I've been watching her show on the Cooking Channel since it premiered and really enjoy it. Her recipes on the show looks simple. As a Korean-American, my Mom and Dad did all the cooking for our family when I was growing up. So when I started to live away from my parents I had no idea really how to cook Korean food. I've asked my Mom to write down her recipes, but she never had the time to do it. As Korean food is becoming more accessible and popular more Korean food recipe blogs and web sites have come up. I especially liked Maangchi's YouTube videos and recipes. But what I liked about Korean Food Made Simple is how Judy Joo travels to Korea and explains the Korean culture and history and shows how it's made in Korea and duplicates the recipe for the home cook but in a simpler way.

Her cookbook is organized into several categories which have some of my favorite Korean foods. I just got the Kindle version today, so I will update my review after I've tried some of her recipes.

I wish the Kindle version had a table of contents where you can click on the category.

Kimchi and Pickles
Pancakes, Dumplings and other small bites
Salad & Veggies
Soups & Stews
Beef & Lamb

I've already bookmarked the following recipes!

Kimchi pancakes, Bindaetteok, Haemul pajeon, Mandu, Potato Salad, Kimchi Pulled Pork Disco Fries, Bibimbap, Kimchi Fried Rice, Jjajangmyun, Oxtail Soup, Mackerel, KFC, Galbi Jjim, Galbi, Dubu Kimchi, and all the different soju drinks!

A Refreshing White Kimchi You’ll Adore Just as Much as the Classic

You may know Judy Joo from her Cooking Channel show Korean Food Made Simple or her cookbook of the same name. But if you’re unfamiliar with her work, you’ll want to quickly get acquainted.

The Korean-American, London-based chef, who’s also the owner of Jinjuu in London, is on a mission to showcase just how easy it is to make beloved Korean comfort food at home—with just a few staple ingredients you probably already have stored in your pantry. Her newest cookbook, “ Judy Joo’s Korean Soul Food ,” is a testament to that. It’s brimming with recipes for street food, snacks, shareable dishes, and breads, coupled with tips on how to store a Korean cupboard and easy-to-follow recipes for essential sauces.

The book may be packed with classic and traditional Korean recipes—think oi muchim (chili-flecked cucumber salad) and soon dubu jiggae (seafood silken tofu soup)—but Judy has also developed recipes that pay homage to the UK, her home for the last 10 years. Woven into the cookbook you’ll find an assortment of British recipes with a Korean riff. Fish and chips gets a Korean spin with Judy’s recipe for fish and mushy beans: deep-fried, half-moon dumplings jammed with halibut and miso, ready to be mopped up with kimchi tartare sauce. Plus, her section devoted to desserts is buoyed by her love of infusing Korean ingredients into Western desserts. Whip up tiramisu marbled with coconut red bean misugaru or a batch of gochugaru and Nutella brownies, studded with crumbles of hazelnuts.

Judy Joo's Korean Soul Food: Authentic Dishes and Modern Twists, $24.49 on Amazon

Keep reading for a taste of Judy’s white kimchi, known as baek kimchi (one of four kimchi recipes in the book). Her version isn’t spicy rather, it’s refreshing and somewhat sweet, anchored by chunks of Korean cabbage, grated Asian pear, white radishes, carrots, and dried jujube dates. Although it’s often eaten in the warmer months—it’s stored in the fridge as a cool, refreshing snack—it’s the kind of kimchi you’ll want to eat year-round.

Once all of the ingredients have been packed into tightly sealed containers, the kimchi will need 2 to 3 days to rest on your counter to fully ferment. After a few days, the kimchi is ready to eat, but Judy suggests sticking it in the fridge (where it will continue to ferment) because that coldness is what makes the kimchi so refreshing. Then, simply eat as is (and enjoy its “soup”!), whisk the cabbage into scrambled eggs, or plop a mound atop your favorite rice bowl concoction.

Gallon Glass Jar with Plastic Airtight Lid, Two for $20.99 on Amazon

White Kimchi Recipe

Contrary to popular belief, not all kimchi is spicy. This white version is refreshing and crisp and often eaten in the summertime. The pickling liquid is so tasty, and rather revitalizing on a hot day you’ll often see people ‘drinking’ it by the spoonful.

‘Korean Food Made Simple’ Host Judy Joo Gets Book Deal - Recipes

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About Take Two
The trailer for "Korean Food made Simple," which airs on The Cooking Channel in the US. Judy Joo (via YouTube)

Korean food is about more than just good BBQ and Korean-American chef Judy Joo is trying to help those unfamiliar with the diversity of the cuisine better understand it with her new cookbook "Korean Food Made Simple."

Joo grew up in New Jersey, raised by first generation Korean immigrants, eating homemade kimchi and gochujang glazed meats. And while she made a detour to work on Wall Street, she eventually came back around to indulge in her love of food, attending cooking school, opening up two restaurants, writing a cookbook and starring in her own Cooking Channel television show.

In the book, readers will find dishes from Joo's childhood alongside classic and contemporary plates. Recipes for her mom's BBQ Chicken, late night naughty noodles and meaty dumplings all make an appearance.

Joo's spent a lot of time trying to appeal to those who want to both those who grew up with Korean food and to those who want to understand it better, as she recently explained to host A Martinez.

For those from Los Angeles, Joo thinks that her fried chicken recipe can stand up to KyoChon's, in part because of its inclusion of matzo meal (for extra crunch) and vodka (it evaporates faster than water, so it leaves the chicken less soggy).

Butternut Squash Chips with Herbes de Provence

"This is one of those recipes you're going to want to memorize and make time and time again," writes Kim Kushner in "The New Kosher." "Whenever I bring out a bowl of these golden, crispy chips, my guests go crazy for them."

Rating: 0
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How to Make a Perfect Boeuf Bourguignon At Home

In 1961, the grande dame of American expats in Paris — also known as Julia Child — published the first volume of her iconic cookbook, The Art of French Cooking. In this incredibly detailed tome, Child introduced American home cooks to a plethora of classic French dishes, including cassoulet, coq au vin, and, perhaps most famously, a rich and comforting braised-beef dish called boeuf bourguignon.

Now that retro dishes are having a resurgence and major cities all over the U.S. find themselves eagerly embracing Gallic bistros once again, boeuf bourguignon is poised to enjoy a new wave of relevance, both in restaurant kitchens and at the dining tables of ambitious DIYers. If you feel up to the challenge, read on for some useful, chef-provided tips for making a version of this comfort dish that even Julia would approve.

What is boeuf bourguignon?

Basically, boeuf bourguignon is the French region of Burgundy’s answer to beef stew. The dish consists of beef slow-braised in red wine and beef stock, along with vegetables, herbs, and bacon lardons. Once it’s ready to enjoy, boeuf bourguignon can be served with potatoes (either roasted or mashed), rice, or buttered noodles.

If you have abundant determination, a desire to hunker down with a perfect cool-weather dinner, and plenty of patience, then you’re ready to whip up your own boeuf bourguignon. These eight pieces of advice will guide you along the right path.

Brett Stevens/Getty Images

Use a high-quality, preferably homemade stock

When making a real-deal version of boeuf bourguignon, it’s important to remember (and to accept) that there aren’t any viable shortcuts. A chef who’s willing and able to take their time counts among the most crucial elements of this dish and that need extends to the stock used for the stew. “Don’t skimp on the stock not only will a true bone stock pack more flavor than the watery carton variety, but the natural collagen from the bones adds the lip-smacking good texture and thickness that makes the dish irresistible,” says cofounder James Peisker of Porter Road in Nashville, encouraging aspiring boeuf bourguignon creators to invest in their end product by making their own bone broth.

Replace generic “stew meat” with a more flavorful and well-textured cut

It’s an easy assumption to make: If you’re slow-cooking cuts of meat in the context of a stew, then the quality of the meat itself isn’t essential, right? However, when we’re talking about boeuf bourguignon, our surveyed chefs object to that notion, insisting that beef cuts for this dish should be carefully and specifically selected.

“You have to use beef cheeks for a proper beef bourguignon, as they are soft and tender, and pick up all of the flavor from the sauce,” insists chef, cookbook author, and TV personality Judy Joo of her favorite cut for boeuf bourguignon.

Chef and recipe developer Silvia Baldini opts for short ribs in her boeuf bourguignon, telling us that “I like to use short ribs instead of stew meat. I slow-cook the ribs for at least 3 hours in the oven until fork-tender. They come out melt-in-your-mouth delicious every time.”

Chef Marc Bauer of the International Culinary Center advises home cooks on what to look for in their boeuf bourguignon meat selections: “The specific cut of meat should be one with many connective tissues or ‘silver skins,’ which turn into gelatin when cooked at a simmer for an extended time (over one hour to an hour and a half). [The] best cuts are from the shoulder (chuck), or from the shin of the [cow]. Both cuts are dense in connective tissue.”

Use a robust red wine

Wine plays a major role in the flavor and texture of a successful boeuf bourguignon, so it’s essential to carefully choose your bottle. For the purpose of this dish, chef/owner Jessica Formicola of Savory Experiments recommends using “more wine, less stock” for your braising liquid. As far as a specific wine goes, Formicola suggests “something full-bodied and robust like a Shiraz, Cabernet, or Bordeaux.”

Chef Bauer prefers a “French Burgundy wine made from Pinot Noir or Gamay. You can use a good table wine. If this is too elaborate, you can use an Italian red wine for the marinade. If [those are] not available, use [any] dry red wine. You don’t have to spend more than $15 for the wine. Use an expensive red wine to enjoy with friends instead.”

Executive chef Sebastien Rondier of Brabo Brasserie in Alexandria, Virginia likes to add an extra level of flavor to his boeuf bourguignon by using both a dry red wine and a ruby port in the recipe. “The red port makes a big difference in [my] boeuf bourguignon recipe. It adds slight sweetness to the sauce. You can also add a bit of sugar if red port is not available,” Rondier explains.

Don’t burn the alcohol off of the wine before marinating

If you really want to capture the flavor of your selected wine in your boeuf bourguignon, it’s wise to marinate the meat in wine prior to the cooking process. That said, in the interest of a truly unctuous texture-flavor combination, follow the advice of chef Laetitia Rouabah of Benoit NYC and “do not burn off alcohol before marinating. It makes the meat tender. The tip is to filter the marinade (after marinating the meat overnight). Sear the meat and vegetables separately and then cover with the marinade for about 3 hours. The alcohol evaporates while cooking and you will obtain very soft and tender meat.”

Make sure to slow-cook in an oven-safe pot

Boeuf bourguignon requires a long cooking process on both the stovetop and in the oven, so home chefs must be discerning about their boeuf bourguignon pot of choice. Baldini says that “braised meat is essentially a piece of meat that is browned on all sides, and then cooked gently in liquid. You want to do this in a pot that is oven-friendly, since there is no better way to ensure even, low, gentle cooking than by placing the entire vessel in the oven at a low temperature.” Therefore, you want a substantial oven-safe pot or Dutch oven that can withstand long periods in the oven and can also cook evenly on the stove.

Rudisill/Getty Images

Keep the beef and veggies fully submerged throughout the cooking process

As chef Baldini points out, braising relies massively on the process of cooking meats in a bath of liquid. For that reason, the solid ingredients (specifically, the meat chunks and the vegetables in a boeuf bourguignon) require even submersion. “You want enough wine and stock to cover the meat and vegetables so that everything cooks evenly if everything is not fully submerged, [then you should] add more beef stock until it is,” advises chef/owner Martial Noguier of Bistronomic in Chicago.

For extra depth of flavor, use dried mushrooms along with the fresh versions

Classic boeuf bourguignon recipes include mushrooms as a garnish most popularly, the versions known as button mushrooms. However, for an extra boost of flavor dimension, executive chef Eli Collins of a. kitchen and a. bar in Philadelphia chooses to supplement his fresh mushrooms with dried options, telling The Manual that “to enhance flavor, [I use] dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms in the braise. It supplies a deeply-embedded umami for the broth”

Resist the urge to thicken the sauce with flour or cornstarch

If you read a few traditional stew recipes, you’ll notice that many call for the addition of a starch, like flour or cornstarch, to act as a thickening agent. That may be a popular move, but chef and blogger Niloufer Mavalvala of Niloufer’s Kitchen urges you to reconsider in the case of boeuf bourguignon. “I prefer not to [add flour or cornstarch], as the finish of this dish loses the deep sheen and glaze that one gets without [adding those ingredients]. Just let the broth and wine do their work and allow [the dish] to boil an extra 10 minutes until you get the right consistency,” Mavalvala advises.

Have a Julia Child moment of your very own by making an at-home boeuf bourguignon, with the help of this excellent recipe:

On the Same Page

Come springtime, cookbooks start to sprout up like some of our favorite vegetables.

This season is no exception. From a flame-licked cookbook from two of Portland's hottest chefs to a tiny book packed with tons of history and recipes for one classic cocktail, here are the 22 best of the bunch coming out this spring.

Chefs Can Write, Too
It seems like so many chefs get a cookbook deal these days, but we're not complaining, because they're taking the art in so many directions. Floyd Cardoz, the chef behind the legendary but now-closed Tabla, has laid low since leaving White Street in New York City last summer. But now he's back with an upcoming restaurant and Flavorwalla ($30), his ode to vibrant spices in everyday cooking. Octaphilosophy ($60) tells the story of one year in the kitchen at Restaurant André in Singapore, chef André Chiang's modern French restaurant, which ranks number 46 on World's 50 Best. Alex Raij and Eder Montero, the chefs behind Txikito in New York City, celebrate the pintxos, escabeche and more of northern Spain's Basque region in The Basque Book($30). And we seem to be in a Korean cookbook boom, especially with Judy Joo's Korean Food Made Simple ($30), which includes 125 recipes from the Cooking Channel host and chef/owner of Jinjuu in London and Hong Kong.

Photo: Aubrie Pick/Cravings

All the Feels
Settle down for a long stretch on the couch with these engrossing memoirs. Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi bares all in Love, Loss, and What We Ate ($27), tracing back to memories of eating in her grandmother's South Indian kitchen and even revealing the unraveling of her relationship with ex-husband Salman Rushdie. Eddie Huang jumps back on the boat for his sequel, Double Cup Love ($27), where he drags his brothers on a journey back to China to unpack his Chinese American identity. 32 Yolks ($28) chronicles famed silver-haired NYC chef Eric Ripert's ascent in the kitchen.

Photo: Kristina Gill/Tasting Rome

Vacations Days, Set
Get ready to transport yourself: Roman cuisine may be trendy now, but Katie Parla and Kristina Gill, authors of Tasting Rome ($30), have long been obsessed with the ancient cuisine of Italy, diving into little-known dishes like spaghetti alla gricia. Jacqueline An unfolds her family history, the famed An family behind Crustacean in Beverly Hills, in Ăn: To Eat ($35) through secret recipes for pho and drunken crab and her mother's move from French colonial princess to refugee to California restaurateur. Crowned the "golden girl of Persian cookery" by The Observer, writer and supper club thrower Sabrina Ghayour focuses on the Persian pantry in her second book, Sirocco ($30). You probably won't find whale blubber in Claus Meyer's The Nordic Kitchen ($30), but you will find seasonal, family-friendly feasts in the Noma cofounder's cookbook.

Already Famous
What do models eat and hip-hop stars think about? Supermodel Chrissy Teigen lets loose in Cravings ($30) with unabashed headnotes poking fun at her Thai background and recipes for Hasselback potatoes and excellent lettuce wraps. The Roots drummer and fried chicken lover Questlove examines creativity in the kitchen with chefs across the country in Somethingtofoodabout ($30), lending a whole new meaning to "food for thought."

Photo: Courtesy of Around the Fire

Summer Daze
These books dedicated to meat and fire have us longing for summer now. Give your backyard a warm welcome with Around the Fire ($35), a beautiful book centered around cooking over fire from Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton of Ox in Portland. The Wurst of Lucky Peach ($26) is the quarterly food journal's ode to sausages, from cvapi to Texas Hill Country encased meats. Grilling guru Steven Raichlen lays out the seven essential steps to mastering smoking with Project Smoke ($23), along with 100 recipes. Sure, we all know about regional ramen or breakfast sandwiches, but American burgers? Burger expert George Motz maps out the variations in burgers across the nation in The Great American Burger Book, from Hawaii's loco moco to the New York-style pub burger.

Cheers to That
Drink in these liquid-focused titles. Luksus chef Daniel Burns and gypsy brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø share space at Tørst in New York City, and now they share a book, too. The two team up for Food & Beer ($50), a thoughtful look at how beer's been elevated to wine in pairing. Punch's Talia Baiocchi and writer Leslie Pariseau focus on a single drink for Spritz ($19), sifting through its storied history and sharing riffs on the classic cocktail.

Photo: Tom Thulen/Heartland

Party in the USA
These books make you want to eat your way through the land of the free. James Beard Award-nominated chef Lenny Russo touts the abundance of the Midwest in Heartland ($35), named after his beloved restaurant in St. Paul, Minnesota, and featuring homeland classics like midwestern cassoulet. Anya Fernald, the founder of Belcampo Meat Co. in California, makes the most of her pantry and what's in season with Home Cooked ($35), bringing pragmatism into the kitchen with unfussy recipes for both weeknight meals and dinner parties. Chefs are embracing the art of breakfast, and food festival founder Lee Schrager and writer Adeena Sussman tour the country for America's Best Breakfasts ($23), detailing regional specialities and local hot spots.

Life-changing magic of sundubu captured in new cookbooks, restaurants

If someone ran a contest honoring people with the most dangerous jobs in Twin Cities restaurants, my nominee would be Jin-ee Kim of Kimchi Tofu House in Minneapolis.

Dozens of times a day, she risks her arms and wrists to deliver bowls of a stew called sundubu to diners in the small, 24-seat restaurant she and her husband run near the University of Minnesota. The thick, earthenware bowls bubble noisily as she glides them from tray to table, as the stew boils like a volcano.

As if she needs to, Kim tells customers to be careful as they take the next step: cracking a raw egg into the bowl. Some people quickly stir the egg to give the broth some creaminess. Others let it sit, watching it turn soft-boiled.

Korean cuisine has been growing more popular for years in the United States and other Western countries, prompted by its general healthiness, the experimenting of American and Korean chefs, and the rising awareness of Korean culture and products, from K-pop videos to rip-your-heart-out movies to sleekly designed cars and smartphones.

Over the past year, that popularity has led publishers to produce a small wave of cookbooks that make Korean cooking more approachable and inviting than ever. Having moved to Seoul in the summer of 2006 for what turned out to be 6 1/2 years, I wish these books had been around then. The canon of English-language Korean cookbooks at the time was small in number, formal in style and rigid in approach.

Now, beautifully illustrated books like Judy Joo’s “Korean Food Made Simple” and Maangchi’s “Real Korean Home Cooking” tell the stories behind the dishes. “Koreatown” by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard travels through the mashups and recipes of the New York, Chicago and Los Angeles neighborhoods dominated by Korean immigrants. “K-Food” is a British-Korean couple’s look at the street food as well as traditional recipes they offer in their London restaurant. And in the most fun of them all, “Cook Korean,” New York artist Robin Ha imparts Korean recipes in comic-book form.

All start with an overview of the ingredients that are commonly found in Korean kitchens, all of which are available in Asian markets in the Twin Cities and many of which are in regular supermarkets, too. Just a quick glance shows there is much more in a Korean pantry than kimchi, the fermented cabbage that most people associate with the cuisine.

“Korean food is never, ever, a boring time,” Hong and Rodbard write in “Koreatown.”

A typical Korean meal usually covers the gamut of temperatures, textures, sweet and savory tastes. And, in what is most appealing to me, it manages to be both communal and individual. Entrees are often shared but, with a huge variety of side dishes always present on the table, each person eats a meal that can be strikingly different from the person next to them.

An adventure in soup

In my first two months in Seoul, whenever I didn’t have an appointment for lunch, I’d drop into one of the mom-and-pop restaurants in the basement of my office building. When the first chill arrived that fall, Yu Seong-wha, the hostess at Kkang-jang’s House, the restaurant I visited most often, said, “It’s time for you to try sundubu.” I smiled and said yes. But having seen the boiling volcano, I wasn’t sure I could handle it.

Sundubu (SOON-doo-boo) means “spicy tofu,” but that just begins to describe it. There are many kinds of sundubu stews and nearly all are seasoned with a tablespoon or two of dried chili flakes called gochugaru. Some restaurants offer it “white,” which is without the flakes.

“You can make it almost non-spicy if you want,” said Ha, the cookbook author and comic artist, in an interview. “It depends on what restaurant you go to or what type of mother you have.”

In the Twin Cities, nearly every Korean restaurant offers at least one version of sundubu. Kimchi Tofu House specializes in it, with 12 versions, ranging from a basic one that has beef or pork to one based on curry and filled with vegetables. The Kims — husband Pong-yun does most of the cooking — allow customers to choose their spice level, with no-spice white an option for nearly every kind.

The soup’s popularity in South Korea underscores one of the culinary gaps between Asia and the West. In the rise of vegetarianism here over the past four decades, tofu became seen as a substitute, often a derided one, for meat. In much of Asia, tofu is appreciated for its variety, flavor and flexibility and mixed and matched with meats as well as vegetables.

“There are so many different kinds, textures and flavors of tofu and it’s so good,” said Joo, a Korean-American with Korean food TV shows in both the U.S. and U.K. and a restaurant in London. “It’s always a hard thing to get Westerners to like. It just gets a bad rap.”

Variations aplenty

Strikingly, each of the new Korean cookbooks has a slightly different recipe for sundubu. Joo says her favorite uses seafood, called haemul sundubu, but the sundubu recipe in her book is vegetarian and starts with a mushroom stock. Sundubu typically starts with anchovy stock, made from dried anchovies available in Asian grocery stores, though beef and chicken stock can also be used. Maangchi, who gained fame for her YouTube videos of Korean cooking, uses chicken stock in her recipe.

The distinctive ingredient is tofu, of course, the softest tofu you’ve ever seen. In Asian grocery stores, you can find it in tubes and, if it’s from South Korea, it’s actually labeled sundubu. The silken tofu in mainstream grocery stores will also do.

When I first tried sundubu, I added the egg and waited for the soup to cool down a bit before taking my first spoonful. Mine was the seafood kind, filled with whole, unpeeled shrimp, clams and oysters as well as zucchini and mushrooms. In typical Korean fashion, it came with a bowl of rice on the side and several more side dishes, called banchan, including kimchi, corn and seaweed.

The first few spoonfuls were hot, in both temperature and spiciness, and my brow quickly broke a sweat. But even for a then 40-something raised in small-town Iowa, the spiciness was manageable. And a few spoonfuls later, those chili flakes combined with the seafood and vegetables so deliciously that I found myself eating as fast as I could.

From its intimidating start and incredible middle, sundubu has one more surprise.

“It has a deep, rich flavor but it finishes lightly,” Ha said.

Joo said the vegetables that get mixed in with the broth pack sundubu with umami.

“It can get so cold in Korea that I think the food took on a hugs-you-back type of feeling to it,” she says. “When you really want to get warmed up, there is something that is so cozy about sundubu. To me, it’s the ultimate comfort food.”

To me, it’s the taste of arrival to a place and to things better than I imagined.

Watch the video: Iron Chef Judy Joo joined us to Promote her new Cooking Channel Show Korean Food Made Simple


  1. Estevan

    Authoritative answer, fun ...

  2. Maelisa

    We will speak for this question.

  3. Koenraad

    Certainly. I join told all above.

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