After spending a full two years living in South Korea, I returned home to the United States, where I was shocked to find most everyone spoke English and I could eavesdrop shamelessly on conversations, of which I took full advantage (and I’m not ashamed). Although exciting to be back at home, it was a difficult transition. I love South Korea, and I loved living there. I missed the crowds of people thronging the streets of Seoul, jostling and pushing for that extra half inch of space on the sidewalk. I missed the packed subway cars, the gorgeous cheap clothing, the vendors selling meat on sticks and spiky french-fry wrapped, deep fried corndogs; I missed sitting at a table in a Korean bar with friends, surrounded on all sides by older Korean gentlemen who were putting us to shame with their Soju drinking skills. I missed hot summer days where Korean kids would run for hours through fountains that spouted out of the ground in the middle of the city, and I missed seeing tiny dogs with their ears and tails dyed bright, fluorescent colors. Most of all, though, I missed the food: fabulous, aromatic and full of spice and flavor.
After I spent a few weeks whining and moaning about how I missed my beloved Korean food, it dawned on me I could just learn to make it myself. And that is where my wonderful Korean cookbook, Dok Suni, comes into this story.
The recipes in Dok Suni I’ve tried have proven to be not only authentic, but incredibly tasty. With recipes ranging from classic noodle and rice fares, robust, spicy soups and flavorful barbequed beef to refreshing treats, chicken and fish delicacies and scrumptious side dishes, the cookbook has many Korean favorites, including: spicy chive salad, fiery-hot beef soup (yookgaejang), Korean barbequed beef, ginger and cinnamon punch, beef-stuffed chili peppers, rice cakes in spicy sauté (dukbokki), and many others!
Dok Suni means “strong woman” in Korean, and this book is a testament to just that – filled with not only delicious recipes, it is sprinkled with stories and photos from author Jenny Kwak’s childhood which reflect her life with her mother, whom she describes as a self-sufficient, resilient woman who raised her children to believe nothing was more important than being strong and independent.
This fantastic cookbook is a must-have for anyone who truly loves Korean food, anyone wanting to experience an exciting new cuisine, and for anyone wanting to learn how to make simple, authentic Korean dishes.
Ms. Kwak’s mother, Myung Ja, regularly prepares all the food in the Dok Suni cookbook at her popular New York City restaurant, also named Dok Suni. This Korean restaurant, which has been featured in New York magazine’s Best of New York issue, has been described as “the hippest Korean restaurant in town … [Dok Suni’s offers] the most delicious Korean food and a cool vibe” by Paper.
Buy a copy now on Amazon!