- Hardcover: 144 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (October 15, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312192614
- ISBN-13: 978-0312192617
- Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 30 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #889,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dok Suni Hardcover – October 15, 1998
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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
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).
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Jenny Kwak goes through ingredients, places to shop, and tools necessary to make good Korean food. The recipes cover all my favorite dishes and most of the major Korean dishes that anyone would ask for, although there are rarer dishes you'd have to search online for. Armed with the knowledge in this book, I think you'd be in better shape to tackle any Korean dish, even a rarer one you'd have to search elsewhere for.
My ABSOLUTE favorite part of this book is Jenny Kwak's comments. She talks at length about how she feels smelling roasting sesame seeds, growing up in a household where cooking these meals had such a special meaning, and even gives background stories of each dish. Some dishes are made in the winter time to warm you up, some to revitalize your health, some dishes people believe help you grow. If you listen to stories from Korean households her book really accurately keeps with Korean tradition on these meals.
I HIGHLY recommend this book. The only criticism I think someone could come up with is it's not a huge volume on every single Korean dish you could think of, but I've personally have only had to look up 2 dishes elsewhere in the 12 years since I first picked up this book, and the lessons I learned from this book helped me make them anyway.
This is the first Korean cookbook I own (I'm Korean), and I never felt the need to purchase another one.
Well, the seaweed soup recipe calls for so much seaweed that it's ludicrous and possibly physically impossible to get that much dried seaweed in that amount of water. Luckily I was able to call my friend for help.
The second recipe I tried, for bulgogi, had no where near the amount of seasoning one would typically use... based on my friend & on many korean restaurants I've been to.
Did she just not pay attention when writing these recipes? The ingredients are correct, and the stories are nice, but the directions and quantities are way off.
PROS: I've tried about 10 of Kwak's recipes so far, and they have all come out very authentic and tasty. She includes a good mix of very common dishes and more advanced dishes, with a good number of pan-chan recipes. Her ingredient lists aren't excessively long like some other cookbooks, but some of the ingredients might require a trip to the korean store (beef dashida powder). Her memoir type style and her personal touches add alot to the enjoyment of the food. Sometimes it sounds like she's reminiscing about the recipes with tears in her eyes. Some could consider these digressions unnecessary, but I found it adds 'soul' to the recipes. And the family pictures are a real nice touch.
CONS: There are pictures of food, but only in the context of telling her family story. They mostly show up in the glossy insert sections in the middle of the book. There are no individual pictures that accompany each recipe. For koreans this might not be a problem, but if you're new to korean food, you might need to see what the finished dish 'should' look like. Secondly, I just wish there were more recipes. Don't get me wrong there are alot (about 77), but wanted more soup and meat recipes and less rice porridge dishes and sweet, snack-type foods. Well i guess my second point isn't really a 'con' because all the 'major' recipes are here. Now that i trust her cooking, I just want more of it, that's all. Lastly I wish she included a table of contents that includes the name of each recipe in a single list. The table of contents breaks down by category, then you have to flip through the entire category to find the recipe that you're looking for. (My copy has about 20 post-it notes on it now). Although I think this may have been deliberate, because the book reads like a memoir, so there are personal stories associated with many of the recipes.
Jenny and her mom own Dok Suni, which is a korean restaurant down on the lower east side of manhattan. Naturally, the food is excellent and it has a good reputation for 'cool' or 'hip' korean food. Although the decor is a bit...hmmm, eclectic? The recipe for the jalapeno fried chicken served at the restaurant (probably the most popular dish) is included in the book. For Dok Suni fans, this should justify the cost of the book itself.
Given the reasonable price of the book and the personal stories that add 'soul' to the recipes, i would highly recommend this book. I just wish there were more pictures. I can't wait for the follow up book.