Typical traditional Korean dishes are defined by healthy, home-produced ingredients, low in fat and high in fibre, and natural tastes that can be fresh and delicate as well as robust and spicy. The cooking relies heavily on seasonings and spices, such as garlic, red chilli paste (gochujang), soybean paste (doenjang), pepper and ginger, and these are often more critical than the ingredients themselves, typically shown in the classic fermented vegetable dish, kimchi.
The first section of this sumptuous and informative new book gives a detailed introduction to the geography and climate of the country; the history, flavours and styles of the cuisine and its shared social formalities; and considers the influence of the different regions of Korea and its neighbouring countries on the eating traditions. A comprehensive list of essential ingredients, from ginseng to octopus and bamboo shoots to tofu, is followed by a summary of different types of dishes and preparation techniques, ranging from pickled, pan-fried or braised food to stews, grills and stir-fries.
Over 150 deliciously fiery and aromatic authentic recipes follow, within chapters on Street Snacks & Quick Bites, Soups, Chicken & Pork, Beef, Fish & Seafood, Vegetables, Salads & Tofu, Vegetable Accompaniments and Sweets. As well as classic, traditional Korean dishes, some of the recipes draw influences from the cuisines of the nearby countries of Japan, China and Russia, and many of them are given a fresh, contemporary translation. Try the smooth Summer Soup with Ginseng and Red Dates to whet your appetite, followed by the elegant flavour of Spicy Scallops with Enoki Mushrooms, the fresh taste of Courgette Numul and the spicy Cabbage Kimchi, and finish with the exquisite Flower Petal Rice Cakes in Honey and a cup of green tea. Or start with the Japanese-inspired Fishcake Skewers in Seaweed Soup, followed by Spicy Pork Stir-fry and rice and Blanched Tofu with Soy Sauce, and then soothe your taste buds with the refreshing Sweet Beans on Ice Flakes.
In Korea the process of gathering and preparing ingredients, and cooking and eating the food is almost a spiritual experience. Diners compliment cooks by saying that their food has a gamchilmat, meaning it suffuses the whole mouth with flavour.
If you want to savour some of this natural magic, then choose The Food and Cooking of Korea as your indispensable companion to discovering the secrets of the fresh ingredients, the spicy flavours and the unmistakable gamchilmat of this magnificent, unexplored cuisine.
About the Author
Young Jin Song owns several Korean restaurants in Asia. He is passionate about Korean food and has used his international restaurant experience to fuse traditional Korean cooking techniques and ingredients with an understanding of other cuisines to create an accessible yet authentic cooking style. Young also has experience of the film world and, in addition to his culinary enterprises, has directed and produced television commercials and written several film scripts. He has lived in Britain since graduating from the London College of Printing with a BA in Film and Video, but travels to Asia on a regular basis.
Martin Brigdale has specialized in food photography for more than 20 years. He has photographed more than 50 cookbooks, including Korean Cooking (Aquamarine), which won Best Asian Cuisine Cookbook at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2006. He has also won numerous photography prizes, including The Glenfiddich Visual Award. As well as taking pictures for a living, he is a keen amateur cook and has a passion for great food.