February 2023 Cookbook of the Month: Korean American by Eric Kim

Welcome to the reporting thread for our February 2023 COTM, Korean American by Eric Kim.

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Find links to past months’ books in the COTM Archive, and feel free to keep adding to them, or to report on recipes from Chowhound-era COTMs here.


I’m excited about this, but unfortunately am unlikely to be able to cook along. I’m third on the hold list at my library, and one of their two copies is missing. Hoping that changes soon.

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I swear I checked the library two weeks ago and there were no copies of this book in the whole SC lends system. Checked again today and there are 6 copies available, including one at my local branch. So I guess I can participate after all. It’s a crazy busy month, and I’ll be out of town for part of it, but at least I can do a few dishes.


Several recipes are available online (including on the Amazon preview), but if you find something on the index that you want to make and isn’t, I’d be happy to send you the recipe.


That’s so kind of you- thanks!


Recipe is here.

This is a simple chicken soup, made flavorful by heavy use of aromatics (17 cloves of garlic and 4" of ginger for 2-3lbs of chicken).

Cornish hens are stuffed with soaked glutinous or short-grain rice and cloves of garlic, then poached for an hour in water with the rest of the aromatics.

Shallots are fried in oil that becomes a dipping sauce for the poached meat.

I had free-range chicken thighs, so I used them and skipped the stuffing, making the rice on the side. I kept the proportion of aromatics for the soup.
This was delicious, but in effect a variation on Cantonese white-cut chicken or Hainanese chicken type of recipes. I do wonder what it would taste like with ginseng and jujubes, as the headnote says the original dish contains.



Recipe is online here.

I love japchae and I love mushrooms, so combining both sounded like a winner!

The idea here is that the mushrooms are roasted on a sheet pan, and the noodles and sauce are added and it’s all mixed together again on the sheet pan too.

Well, I had more mushrooms than my pan will fit at a go, so I used my wok instead. I dry-sauteed the mushrooms, boiled the noodles when those were done and made the sauce while they cooked, and then combined everything in the wok.

The sauce here uses both brown sugar and maple syrup, but I found it overly sweet compared to other versions - easy to adjust down next time. He uses only one clove of garlic for 8oz of noodles - I doubled that and still found it less, so if you like your japchae garlicky / the way restaurants serve it, increase to taste. Soy sauce also needed increasing for my taste.

Even though I didn’t use a sheet pan, I can’t imagine combining the noodles and sauce in that flat a container - I usually do it in a shallow steel bowl, and in my wok this time. I also prefer finishing my noodles over heat at the end (can’t remember which of Maangchi or Koreatown had that tip) so the sauce fully absorbs and the noodles are springy rather than soggy. He also left out the step where you cut up the noodles after boiling.

This was a nice japchae, but I missed the other flavor and texture components that make japchae so delicious: the sweetness of onions, the crunch of carrots, the softness of spinach, and so on. The sauce also needed significant doctoring for my taste.



Recipe is here.

I thought it would be hard to beat the bacon and kimchi fried rice from Koreatown, and so it was.

This recipe uses onion, scallion, gochugaru, kimchi, fish sauce, and sesame oil. I made it as written, tasted it, added more kimchi and kimchi juice to try and improve it, and finally set it aside to pull out the bacon and gochujang to convert it to the Koreatown version. If you prefer a milder flavor, Eric’s may be more to your taste.

Egg on top is a must!




The all-purpose Muchim dressing recipe is here.

I love these simply dressed salads. The only appropriate crunchy thing I had was broccoli slaw, and I’ve used it to make a Viet slaw before, so went ahead here.

Dressing is distilled white vinegar (I used rice vinegar instead), garlic, sesame oil, gochugaru, fish sauce, and sugar. I haven’t seen fish sauce used in muchim dressing before, but I do use it in the Viet slaw (from Andrea Nguyen’s VFAD), so I used it here. In fact this is pretty much the same dressing except for the gochugaru.

This was a nice accompaniment to a meal which comprised of the japchae, kimchi fried rice, and galbi. Kept well a couple of days as well.

I also used the dressing for arugula salad.



This is one of my favorite banchan at k-bbq: a big bowl of scallion salad! In fact, one of my only single-use tool purchases has been a scallion shredder, which I bought specifically for this dish :smiley:

Dressing is very simple: rice vinegar, gochugaru, pinch of sugar (he uses dark brown but I prefer white for this), salt, and pepper (which I skipped).

The scallions are better if soaked in cold water first, then drained and held till you’re ready to serve. if you dress them early, they will wilt.


Came across more recipes on his website, and he has some on the NYT (anyone who doesn’t have a subscription can copy-paste and search the exact title for a re-publication, or one of us can provide a link).

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I love asian egg custards, whether it’s chawanmushi, chinese steamed eggs, or gyrenjjim.

I saw this microwave version in the NYT but was skeptical, because I like my egg custards just-set, perfectly cooked, no bubbles, no liquid separation, for which timing is critical, and the microwave is not a surgical tool :joy:

TLDR: 1/2c water per egg, book uses chicken broth plus fish sauce and 100% power vs NYT dashi and 50% power, book 3-7 mins for 2 eggs vs NYT 5-7 mins

The book version is not a delicate egg custard, but the k-bbq version of gyeranjjim that arrives boiling hot with liquid separated and bubbling eggs. From the NYT comments, it seems a more delicate, silky egg / I separated outcome is possible by adjusting the power level.

My microwave is pretty strong, so I went with 30% power and the low end of the NYT time range (5 mins). My foolishness that I halved the eggs and not the time :woman_facepalming:t2: – the 30% power saved me!

Outcome was a silky not bubbly custard, but the water separated because I was at least 30s over on timing.

BUT given the good egg texture, I will definitely try the microwave method again, just with tweaked timing.



Well, I made 2 out of 3 for lunch today (the third is regular soft-scrambled eggs on toast, which I eat pretty often). I

n the introduction, he describes how some of the recipes in the book are from his years feeding himself as a latchkey kid. Some of that definitely comes through here and elsewhere. where nostalgia takes a back seat to adjusting flavor for an adult, Korean food-loving palate.


Does avocado toast need a recipe? No. But it’s nice to try new flavor combinations, and adding Gim to the avocado was a new one for me. That said, it really didn’t add much for me.

I often top avocado toast with furikake, which to me is a better way to add crunch and flavor. The gim mixed into the avocado doesn’t stay crisp, and it’s messy to crumble or cut it up. I did cut up some, though, in the interest of following the recipe. But I ate the rest on the side, where it kept its crunch.

The flavor here was very flat. After tasting the avocado mixture, I added more of everything, and a generous sprinkle of gochugaru, and sprinkled toasted sesame seeds after topping the toast. Later I had a bit of a Duh moment when I realized I could have added some kimchi and it would have boosted everything perfectly.



I didn’t have radishes, but Gochujang butter is fantastic (thank you, Koreatown), so I decided to do this anyway. The flavors go so well over toast – if you are a Bovril or Marmite fan, this is a gimme. So Delicious!

I can see what the crunch and bite of the radishes would bring, or something similar like broccoli slaw (cucumber might wilt too fast) so I’ll have to remember to pick some up.

(NOT in his toast list, oddly, is Kimchi toast, which was my last piece, after the Duh moment of not adding kimchi to the avocado. Recommend, perhaps even over the Gochujang butter.)



I love my deviled eggs, so any twist is going to pull me in!

This is a simple variation, using soy and sesame oil to flavor the yolks, and a bit of sesame seeds and gim to top. I missed a bit of tang that usually comes from mustard (or wasabi).

Tasty for being so simple. I’d skip the gim fussiness and use furikake next time. (Also I am now thinking: Kimchi Deviled Eggs!)

(I bizarrely had a disastrous boiling of the eggs experience today, that’s why the whites look like I chipped away at them.)


I could try that! Especially since the HT grocery store has ‘glorious kimchi’ conveniently available.


TJs kimchi is also vegetarian fyi - and quite ripe each time I’ve bought it. Disappears fast!
ETA: Mother-in-law’s at WF is also really good.


As a vegan-vegetarian-now mostly pescatarian, I’ve always been confused how eggs are considered vegetarian. Eggs are one my of my most reviled foods and as a Korean, I’ve always been grossed out by them as my family loves them. My Spring Onion likes them scrambled in the mornings, which makes me want to hurl as I cook them. I was thinking about getting the book but not if there are a lot of egg-loaded recipes (I’ll check the TOC when I can).

We once accidentally got a fertilized egg amongst the dozen that we purchased and B (omnivore) and I were both traumatized.

ETA: I’m cranky. Cold here and getting cabin fever. But still…how are eggs vegetarian?

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Most South Asian vegetarians will not eat eggs. Others will.

Eggs being seen as vegetarian is the same logic as milk products: it is not the meat of the animal / animal did not die producing eggs or milk (setting aside the brutalities of these industries especially towards male chicks and calves for a moment).

I don’t know about the book, I might find an online recipe to participate.


Confused about the placement of this.

Did someone here claim they’re vegetarian?

Y’all were talking about a vegetarian kimchi for the the deviled eggs so I thought that was a consideration.