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
From Library Journal
The second book on Korean food in a matter of months is proof that interest in this cuisine is indeed growing. Kwak and her mother own a popular Korean restaurant in New York City (Dok Suni, its name, means "strong woman"). Kwak's book is a more personal one than Deborah Coultrip-Davis and Young Sook Ramsay's Flavors of Korea (LJ 9/15/98) and, unlike their book, is not vegetarian. However, Coultrip-Davis and Ramsay include far more recipes than Kwak's 75, with more information about the cuisine as well. Still, given the paucity of books on the subject, Dok Suni is recommended for most larger collections (despite its inflated price).
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