Movies and Kimchi

So you are watching a Korean movie with your favourite stars – maybe the Good The Bad The Weird, also known as the Kimchi Western – and you are craving some tasty snacks. Why not whip up something as Korean as your movie?

I just got a peek at a new cookbook called The Kimchi Chronicles thanks to Netgalley and Rodale Press. What I saw looks just gorgeous, with beautiful photos, succulent in their detail, and very inspiring.

Kimchi Chronicles is written by Marja Vongerichten, who is married to chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, in a very accessible style. Marja has Korean, French and US influences in her kitchen, and incorporates them all into her cooking. She provides the kimchi. Marja started sharing her Korean kitchen wisdom by hosting a cooking show called The Kimchi Chronicles on PBS (which Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborah Lee-Furness helped to launch!) and which led to this cookbook.

The book starts with a description of basic ingredients and tools used in Korean cooking, with very clear photos to help you identify what’s what, including the fiery sounding Gochujang, which is a paste made of red peppers. There are recipes for sauces and dressings, including oma paste, which ‘gives everything a loud Korean presence,” Marja says, and Kimchi tartar sauce, which uses mayonnaise ‘preferably home made and preferably by your expert French chef husband,” – will an expert Filipino chef son-in-law do instead?

The section on Cocktails, Anju and Hangover Cures catches the eye – apparently Koreans enjoy drinking so the cures may have some benefit. Anju is the food that comes with drinks – in Korea, “the best part about getting a drink…is that it never arrives without something to eat.”

Marja’s style is friendly and chatty, as you can see, and the recipes not too daunting at all. The Ultimate Cabbage Kimchi looks doable. Kimchi, according to Marja, is “the anchor of Korean cuisine and the cornerstone of every meal.” There are more than 100 varieties of Kimchi, plus regional variations of this healthy vegetable based dish. But I homed in on the recipe for Daikon and Brisket soup. I love daikon, and this soup is simple but very, very good.

In short, this is a terrific book if you love Korean food, or Asian food in general, and want to reproduce those fabulous flavours to enjoy with the latest blockbuster at your Asian home cinema.

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