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Kimchi Mom


When you discover your latent love of Korean food (it’ll happen, if it hasn’t already), you’ll do like me and scour the web for recipes for jeon, ramyun, at least a starter kimchi kit.  But before you delve too quickly into first-time cabbage fermentation, you should e-mosey your way over to Kimchi Mom: Recipes and stories from a Korean-American kitchen.

That kitchen belongs to Amy Kim, a.k.a. Kimchi Mom. And her blog is where Korean tradition meets homemade meets some good old-fashioned fusion (Sloppy Jaes, anyone?). But even tweaked or playfully Americanized recipes carry generations of culinary DNA—and much of that comes courtesy of Kim’s mother, a Korean native who came to the states to help her daughter and son-in-law with their two young children, with an emphasis on cooking.

Image courtesy of Kimchi Mom

“From day one,” Kim recalls, her mother had a healthy, typically vegetarian meal on the table for the entire family—in under an hour. Our blogger was so inspired (and probably a tad motivated by her mom’s inevitable departure), she took it upon herself to keep those traditions going, and to document them, à la Julie & Julia.

But where Julie & Julia is resoundingly (and butterily) French, Kimchi Mom delves into the bright, bold mosaic flavors of Korean and Korean American cuisine. Recipes are organized by style. There’s straight “Korean,” with dishes like Bokum Bap (Korean-style fried rice, which Kim used to cure a spate of the culinary blahs) and the addictive summer-food-incarnate Bibim naeng myun. Then there’s “Korean Inspired,” with recipes for Kimchi Pizza, Spicy Seoulfull Pulled Pork Sandwiches, and the aforementioned Sloppy Jaes. Kim also organizes by Appetizers, Mains, and Side Dishes. Her entry on Banchan, or Korean side dishes, seems to suggest ban chan may just trick toddlers into eating, and loving, their veggies.

Not that it’s all warmth and family. There’s some swagger there, too, which makes it all the more fun. Of her Ddukboki, Kim says: “It’s comfort food. It’s street Food. It’s Damn Good.” It’s nice to meet an Internet mom who’s not afraid to call it like she sees it.  And Kim seems happy to share stories, those of family and personal situations that accompany real work in the kitchen.

In her recipe for homemade kochujang (that addictive Korean red pepper paste) Kim admits to talking to her little jar of fermenting red pepper—aka “Little Guy,” as she calls him—putting him out for the day on a sunny porch and bringing him in at night. A month and a half later, Kim ended up with something that surpassed anything store-bought. “The flavor is much more complex,” she said. “Homemade kochujang has a smoky heat, with a bit of tang, and a texture that is thick and pasty.” Yes, our mouths are watering.

If you find Korean ingredients at all intimidating, or inaccessible, you’re in good hands.  Kim explains everything—the fact that she has a lot of how-to video content helps—making those bold, fresh Korean flavors you’ve come to crave seem that much closer to home. If you don’t live near a Korean market, many specialty foods are available online, and Kim tends to link to ingredient sources whenever possible. No doubt her mom, Kimchi Grandma?, would be proud. 

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  • Snooth User: Amy Kim
    1214149 25

    Thanks for the feature...

    Feb 24, 2013 at 1:22 AM

  • Snooth User: Emily Bell
    1177900 519

    Glad to share your site, Ms. Kim!

    Feb 26, 2013 at 10:06 AM

  • Snooth User: MJYang
    1249315 9

    I love Kimchimom.com. As a Korean born American raising a family away from the extended family, it's my go-to site for recreating a bit of homeland for the kids and a bit of nostalgia for me!!

    Feb 28, 2013 at 11:52 PM

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