by Debra on January 24, 2013

Oh Kimchi, where have you been all my life??! Living in the Midwest doesn’t allow for many ‘international’ choices on the food front; and even though I spent most of my early years on the West Coast, I have to admit Kimchi was no where on my radar – the pungent odor can be off-putting and anything fermented (outside of sauerkraut) seemed scary. Needless-to-say, when The Kimchi Cookbook arrived in my mailbox, I was a teensy bit skeptical as well as major apprehensive.

We were in the midst of the holiday rush and since this is an area of uncharted territory, I wanted to peruse the recipes and prepare a few to get the hang of what DIYers and Korean food lovers already know – Kimchi is not at all complicated to make and tastes incredible.


What I didn’t realize is that Kimchi can be much more than fermented cabbage and is quite versatile in how it’s used; the balance of flavors vary from mild to spicy – a simple potato gratin or pan of roasted brussels sprouts become new and fresh with the addition of either traditional or a modern kimchi. And I also didn’t realize that kimchi is seasonal – more heat during the dreary winter months, less heat during summer and highlight the freshness of available produce that can be ready in a matter of minutes. Kimchi Fried Rice, Kimchi Risotto, Kimchi Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs – even the childhood favorite, Grilled Cheese, is elevated with the addition of a napa cabbage kimchi.


Lauryn Chun, founder of Mother-In-Law’s Kimchi, has written a beautiful book based on a recipe from her mother’s beloved restaurant, Jang Mo Jip. The 60 recipes are relatively easy and even though Korean chili flakes aren’t readily available in my area, I was able to order online and receive in a few short days. You’ll find step-by-step instructions with suggestions for substitutions that work well together as well as background stories as to why a recipe was developed or how Lauryn was inspired.


I try to avoid using the word ‘amazing’ when referring to a recipe . . . but damn, these were uh-MAY-zing – next time it’s a double-batch for me and The Professor. And I’ll readily admit to a new found fascination – The Kimchi Cookbook is one I’ll have out most of the year . . . Kimchi is officially off my ‘fear’ list.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of The Kimchi Cookbook free of charge; however, all reviews and opinions are strictly my own.