Korean Cooking Favorites: Kimchi, BBQ, Bibimbap and So Much More, written by Hyegyoung K. Ford, features an incredible collection of homestyle classic and modern Korean recipes perfect for the busy family. A few highlights include Baechu Kimchi (Easy Authentic Cabbage Kimchi), Salad Kimbap (Seaweed Salad Rice Rolls), Coconut Chapssalttoek (Coconut Rice Cake Nut Bars), Basirak Kalguksu (Clam Noodle Soup), and Tteokgalbi (Southern-Style Beef Rib Patties). I will also be sharing her recipe for Dubu Buchim (Panfried Tofu with Soy Chili Sauce) following the review.
Disclosure: I received this book from Page Street Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and statements are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Hyegyoung K. Ford
Hyegyoung K. Ford (aka Holly) created the blog, Beyond Kimchee, in 2010 originally to keep a record of recipes for her children and it is now one of the top English language Korean cooking blogs. Her work has been featured in Go Gluten-Free Magazine, Food and Travel, The Korea Daily, and more. She was born and raised in Tong-Young, South Korea and currently resides in Northern Virginia with her family.
Korean Cooking Favorites
The chapters are divided according to course: Savory Snacks, The Main Event, One-Dish Wonders, Oodles of Noodles, Heart-Warming Soups & Stews, A Bunch of Banchan, Almighty Kimchi, and Sweet Treats & Drinks. The contents also has a list of the included recipes with page numbers for easy reference.
Hyegyoung begins with a short introduction of growing up in South Korea and how she developed a love for cooking with the freshest ingredients possible from her mother. She then jumps straight into the recipes. With busy families in mind, many of the dishes come together relatively quickly and/or easily. There is even an entire chapter devoted to rice bowls. Another chapter highlights kimchi with recipes for fermenting cabbage, radish, cucumber, Swiss chard, cilantro, and more along with storage notes and other helpful tips and tricks. At the end of the book, there is list of Korean pantry items with photos, the names in English and Korean, and short descriptions for those new to Korean cooking.
Every single recipe is accompanied by a beautifully styled, full-page photo taken by Hyegyoung. Measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric. Titles are written in English with the Korean name in parentheses (romanization and hangul). Each dish also includes a headnote with background information, personal stories, cooking tips, serving size, and menu ideas.
Dubu Buchim (Panfried Tofu with Soy Chili Sauce)
In the A Bunch of Banchan chapter, Hyegyoung has a collection of sides that are popular in Korean households, but generally more difficult to find in restaurants. This Dubu Buchim (두부 부침, Panfried Tofu with Soy Chili Sauce) is the very first recipe in that chapter. Crisp, panfried tofu with a soft, chewy interior are arranged on a serving dish and topped with a spicy soy chili sauce, chopped green onions, red chile, and toasted sesame seeds. It can be served warm or at room temperature.
This recipe is best with firm tofu, not extra-firm. After slicing, pat with paper towels well to remove any moisture before placing in the oil. I use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet and had no issues with sticking (make sure the oil is hot before adding the tofu to the pan too). Hyegyoung states that she uses a carbon steel skillet and “the trick is to not flip the tofu too often. Flipping once is enough so that the surface of the tofu slices caramelizes.”
The Soy Chili Sauce is an easy, yet flavorful topping for the Dubu Buchim. Simply mix together soy sauce, gochugaru, sesame oil, garlic, and green onion while waiting for the tofu to fry in the skillet.
Gochugaru (고추가루) is a hot Korean red chili powder ground either coarse or fine depending on the use. The best gochugaru is made from red chili peppers that have been dried in the sunlight. It can be located in markets with Korean ingredients and on Amazon: Korean Chile Flakes (Gochugaru). I haven’t attempted it yet, but you can even make your own by trimming and drying Korean red chilies then grinding to the desired texture. I store opened gochugaru in the freezer to keep it fresh longer and prevent mold.
I also made Dakgangjeong (Crispy Korean Chicken Nuggets), Sogogi Ooi Dupbap (Beef and Cucumber Rice Bowl), Heukimja Dressing Salad (Green Salad with Black Sesame Dressing), and Kwabaegi Donuts (Korean Twisted Donuts).
The Dakgangjeong (Crispy Korean Chicken Nuggets) can be found in the Savory Snacks chapter. Traditionally made with a pure taffy coating made from barley sugar, Hyegyoung has adapted the recipe using easier to find ingredients to get the same thick, sticky glaze with soy sauce, rice or corn syrup, sugar, and cider vinegar. Little pieces of chicken are marinated in a mirin sesame sauce, then coated in a combination of cornstarch and potato starch before frying twice to get an extra crisp exterior. The fried pieces are then tossed and simmered in the thickened sweet soy glaze until well coated and served warm with a sprinkling of peanuts.
The Sogogi Ooi Dupbap (Beef and Cucumber Rice Bowl) comes from the easy One-Dish Wonders section. Crunchy, stir-fried cucumbers are paired with thinly sliced and seasoned beef for a quick and easy meal packed with flavor. Everything comes together in about 20 minutes making it especially perfect for weeknights. Toss in a thinly sliced red chile for an extra burst of heat.
This Green Salad with Black Sesame Dressing is one of my new current favorites. Ground black sesame seeds are whisked together with milk, yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, lemon juice, and salt to create a creamy and nutty dressing perfect for pouring over assorted salad vegetables.
My kids decided on the Kwabaegi (Korean Twisted Donuts) and had such fun shaping the soft, yeast-based into twists before frying until golden and covering with a layer of cinnamon sugar. Hyegyoung states, “even though there is no special Korean ingredient in the recipe, these are the donuts you will see on the corner of every street market in Korea.”
Korean Cooking Favorites is a great pick for those interested in Korean cuisine. There is a little something for everyone from quick and easy one dish meals to vegetable-packed sides, comforting stews and noodles, desserts, snacks, and drinks. Many of the ingredients are becoming more readily available in the average American grocery store. A few that may require finding a market with Korean ingredients include Korean fermented soybean paste (doenjang), Korean or daikon radish, salted shrimp, mirin, dried sea kelp, tofu, gochugaru, gochujang, preroasted black bean paste, Korean soy sauce for soup, short-grain rice, dried jujubes, shishito peppers, and dried anchovies.
Dubu Buchim (Panfried Tofu with Soy Chili Sauce) Recipe
Excerpt from Korean Cooking Favorites
Dubu Buchim (Korean Panfried Tofu with Soy Chili Sauce)
- 1 package (16 ounces, 455 grams) firm tofu
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon wild sesame or sesame oil
- 1 fresh red chile chopped, optional
Soy Chili Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon (6 grams) Korean chili flakes
- 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 green onion chopped, plus more for serving
- 2 teaspoons (5 grams) toasted sesame seeds
- Cut the tofu into 7 to 8 slices, about 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick. Lay the tofu slices flat on the cutting board and lightly sprinkle them with pinches of salt.
- In a nonstick skillet, heat the cooking oil and wild sesame oils over medium heat. Press each tofu slice firmly between two paper towels to remove moisture from the surface, replacing the paper towels as they become saturated.
- Place the tofu slices on the heated skillet. Sear them on one side until they're golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the tofu slices to the other side and continue to sear for another 3 minutes. If you prefer a crispier texture on the outside, cook them longer. Adjust the heat so that it doesn't burn the tofu.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and mix well.
- Arrange the tofu slices on a serving dish and drizzle wih the sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh chile (if using) and green onion. Serve warm or at room temperature.