Cook Korean, A Comic Book with Recipes by Robin Ha, has to be the only cookbook on my shelf that I wanted purely for visual reasons.
Oh, wait. I just remembered that I have Modernist Cuisine at Home. Oops.
Ok, it’s the second cooking I’ve ever wanted just for the pretty. lol!
Anyway, the book is focused on Korean home cooking. Nothing looks terribly intimidating, and there’s a good variety recipes. There’s a fairly typical looking recipe for easy kimchi (mak kimchi). But then, I was surprised to see chayote pickle (chayote jangachi) a few pages later. Chayote is one of my favorite vegetables, and I have never thought to swap it with another vegetable in a Korean recipe before.
Some recipes that I don’t think are in my other books are:
Acorn jelly salad (dotorimuk)
Braised daiko with saury (mu kkongchi jorim)
Seaweed soup with beef (sogogi miyeokguk)
Hand-pulled dough soup with potatoes (gamja sujebi)
A lot of the fun, though, is in the illustrations. They are ridiculously cute.
You can find a video preview of the cookbook I made here:
Anyway, I tried my hand at one of the recipes. I decided to go easy since I didn’t really have time to spend at the grocery store. In this case, I went with the book’s steamed Asian eggplant (gaji namul) recipe. The only major substitution I made was to use small hot house eggplants than Asian eggplants. (Again, this was due to time constraints.) I even used some of the sauce as a dumpling dipping sauce.
Overall, I really liked this recipe. I also liked the simplicity of the sauce. I’ve made other sauces from Asian cookbooks, like Momofuku’s octo vinaigrette, but the combination of flavor and ease of this one might very well make it my favorite.
I eventually modified the recipe to cut out the sugar. It wasn’t a lot of sugar to begin with, but I still preferred to swap it out.
All-purpose Asian dipping sauce (good for dumplings and vegetables)
– freshly grated ginger to taste
– one part sesame oil
– one part mirin
– two parts soy sauce
– small handful of chopped scallions (optional)
Whisk everything together, and use however you wish!
(There’s no way to make steamed eggplants look fabulous. *sigh*)
Overall cookbook impression? I love it! Obviously, you can’t fully judge a book based on visuals and on one recipe, but I’d be more than happy to cook from it over and over again.
Disclaimer – I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. I’m not getting paid for this post. But for the record, I had been planning on buying this book long before. I’m a sucker for cute things.