I had never tasted Korean food until I moved to New York City six years ago. But now, I often crave a good tofu soup or bibimbap, served with spicy banchan, the small bowls of pickled veggies served with every Korean meal. The spices and flavors of Korean food are absolutely addictive, and now, with The Kimchi Chronicles by Marja Vongerichten, completely demystified and attainable at home.
Marja Vongerichten was born in Korea, the daughter of an American serviceman and a Korean woman, and adopted by American parents. At 20 she reconnected with her birth mother who by then lived in New York City, and Marja has been rediscovering and embracing her Korean heritage through food. In The Kimchi Chronicles, her PBS series, she and her husband, none other than chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, travel through Korea for inspiration and then cook up modern takes on Korean foods. This cookbook is a collection of their culinary creations: traditional favorites (like Bulgogi, a Korean barbecue classic) and fascinating fusions (like Korean Baeckeoffe, Jean-Georges’ Korean twist on an Alsatian casserole).
There’s nothing intimidating about The Kimchi Chronicles — ingredients, the trickiest hurdle to cooking up new cuisines, are explained in depth and are easy enough to find at your local grocery store or at an Asian market. So I went ahead and dove right in. I started by buying kimchi at the grocery store (although I could have made Jean-Georges’ Fast Hot Kimchi), and then I whipped up two of my favorite Korean staples: Seafood Pancakes, made with rice flour for a special, soft texture, and Japchae, a simple veggie-packed noodle stir-fry that Marja describes as the pasta salad of Korean food. I was amazed at how quickly and easily my little Korean feast came together.
Try making Korean food in your kitchen today with these sample recipes from The Kimchi Chronicles:
- Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew) — This stew comes together in no time and packs a huge flavor punch. Marja says it’s one of the most commonly eaten dishes in Korea.
- Bibimbap (Rice Bowl) — This is usually served in a hot stone pot, but you can make it at home with just a cast-iron skillet. Genius!
- Seafood and Scallion Pajeon (Crispy Seafood and Scallion Pancakes) — I’ve always been a pancake lover and I can’t get enough of these savory Korean standbys. I threw some kimchi in mine, for a little heat.
We’re giving away one copy of The Kimchi Chronicles! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling us your favorite Korean dish.
You must include your email address in the “Email” field when submitting your comment so we can communicate back with you if you’re a winner. (But do not post your email address into the actual body of the comment.) We’re giving one copy away to one very lucky, randomly selected commenter.
You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited. Only open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. states, D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 4:00 p.m. ET on September 21st and 5:00 p.m. ET on September 22nd. Subject to full Official Rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $32.50. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a/ Cooking Channel, 75 9th Ave., New York, NY 10011.
So tell us, what Korean dishes do you crave?
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