You may know Judy Joo from her Cooking Channel show Korean Food Made Simple or her cookbook of the same name. But if you’re unfamiliar with her work, you’ll want to quickly get acquainted.
The Korean-American, London-based chef, who’s also the owner of Jinjuu in London, is on a mission to showcase just how easy it is to make beloved Korean comfort food at home—with just a few staple ingredients you probably already have stored in your pantry. Her newest cookbook, “Judy Joo’s Korean Soul Food,” is a testament to that. It’s brimming with recipes for street food, snacks, shareable dishes, and breads, coupled with tips on how to store a Korean cupboard and easy-to-follow recipes for essential sauces.
Related Reading: 7 Tips For Making Better Kimchi at Home
The book may be packed with classic and traditional Korean recipes—think oi muchim (chili-flecked cucumber salad) and soon dubu jiggae (seafood silken tofu soup)—but Judy has also developed recipes that pay homage to the UK, her home for the last 10 years. Woven into the cookbook you’ll find an assortment of British recipes with a Korean riff. Fish and chips gets a Korean spin with Judy’s recipe for fish and mushy beans: deep-fried, half-moon dumplings jammed with halibut and miso, ready to be mopped up with kimchi tartare sauce. Plus, her section devoted to desserts is buoyed by her love of infusing Korean ingredients into Western desserts. Whip up tiramisu marbled with coconut red bean misugaru or a batch of gochugaru and Nutella brownies, studded with crumbles of hazelnuts.
Judy Joo's Korean Soul Food: Authentic Dishes and Modern Twists, $24.49 on Amazon
Keep reading for a taste of Judy’s white kimchi, known as baek kimchi (one of four kimchi recipes in the book). Her version isn’t spicy; rather, it’s refreshing and somewhat sweet, anchored by chunks of Korean cabbage, grated Asian pear, white radishes, carrots, and dried jujube dates. Although it’s often eaten in the warmer months—it’s stored in the fridge as a cool, refreshing snack—it’s the kind of kimchi you’ll want to eat year-round.
Once all of the ingredients have been packed into tightly sealed containers, the kimchi will need 2 to 3 days to rest on your counter to fully ferment. After a few days, the kimchi is ready to eat, but Judy suggests sticking it in the fridge (where it will continue to ferment) because that coldness is what makes the kimchi so refreshing. Then, simply eat as is (and enjoy its “soup”!), whisk the cabbage into scrambled eggs, or plop a mound atop your favorite rice bowl concoction.
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White Kimchi Recipe
Contrary to popular belief, not all kimchi is spicy. This white version is refreshing and crisp and often eaten in the summertime. The pickling liquid is so tasty, and rather revitalizing on a hot day; you’ll often see people ‘drinking’ it by the spoonful.
- 230g (8oz) sea salt
- 1 very large Korean cabbage or several heads Chinese cabbage (2.2–2.7kg/5–6lb total weight), bottom(s) trimmed, wilted or tough outer leaves discarded, and rinsed well
- 20g (¾oz) sweet rice flour
- 1 large Asian pear, grated, juice and pulp reserved
- 1 small onion, grated, juice and pulp reserved
- 4 tsp garlic, grated or finely chopped
- 2 tsp ginger, grated or finely chopped
- 2½ tbsp sea salt ½ leek, cut into 5cm (2in) lengths and julienned
- 450g (1lb) mu (Korean white radish) or mooli, peeled and julienned
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 red chili, deseeded and julienned lengthways
- 1 green chili, deseeded and julienned lengthways
- 30g (1oz) daechu (dried jujube dates), deseeded and julienned
- 20g (¾oz) pine nuts
- In a large bowl, stir together 2 liters (3½ pints) warm water and 115g (4oz) of the salt until it has dissolved; leave it to cool. Meanwhile, partially cut the cabbage in half lengthways, starting from the root end and cutting about halfway to the top. Pull the cabbage apart to split in half completely. Repeat, keeping the leaves intact and whole.
- Loosen the leaves of each wedge. Sprinkle the remaining 115g (4oz) salt over and between all the leaves, salting the core area heavily. Put the cabbage in a large bowl (use two if they don’t fit) cut-side up. Pour the salted water over the cabbage, then add cold water to cover the cabbage; don’t overfill the bowl. Weigh it down with a plate. Leave at room temperature for 6–8 hours, flipping the wedges halfway through.
- Rinse the wedges well under cold running water and gently squeeze out any excess moisture. Put the cabbage cut-side down, in a colander and leave to drain for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make a starch paste. In a small saucepan, stir together 200ml (7fl oz) water and the sweet rice flour. Cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 4–5 minutes until it thickens and starts to bubble. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and leave to cool.
- In a separate bowl, stir together 80g (3oz) of the starch paste with all of the kimchi paste ingredients. Rub the paste over the wedges and between each leaf. Pull the outer leaf of each wedge tightly over the rest of it, to form a tidy parcel. Pack into a container with a tight-fitting lid and press down well to avoid air pockets. Add 250ml (8fl oz) water to the bowl used for the paste, then pour into the kimchi container. Press a piece of clingfilm on to the surface of the kimchi, then cover. The kimchi can be eaten at this stage, or leave it to sit at room temperature for about 2–3 days until it starts to sour and 'bubble'.
- Store the kimchi in the fridge, where it will continue to ferment at a slower pace. Cut the kimchi before serving.
Header image courtesy of Yuki Sugiura.