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Korean Home Cooking Made Simple

Korean Home Cooking Made Simple

Korean Home Cooking Made Simple

Unlocking the Secrets of Korean Cuisine

As a self-proclaimed foodie with an insatiable appetite for adventure, I’ve always been drawn to the bold, dynamic flavors of Korean cuisine. But let’s be honest, the thought of tackling traditional Korean dishes at home can be a bit intimidating, especially for those of us who didn’t grow up surrounded by the aromatic spices and fermented flavors that define this vibrant culinary tradition.

That was, until I stumbled upon Judy Joo’s incredible cookbook, “Korean Food Made Simple” [1]. This culinary masterpiece not only demystifies the ingredients and techniques of Korean home cooking, but it also serves as a captivating travelogue, transporting the reader on a delicious journey through the bustling streets and cozy kitchens of the Land of the Morning Calm.

Mastering the Essentials

One of the biggest hurdles in exploring Korean cuisine is familiarizing yourself with the essential ingredients. Luckily, Joo’s book provides a comprehensive guide to building your Korean pantry, highlighting the must-have items like Doenjang (Korean soybean paste), Gochujang (Korean chili paste), and Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) [2]. With these versatile staples on hand, you’ll be well on your way to unlocking the full depth of flavor that Korean cooking has to offer.

But don’t let the unfamiliar names intimidate you. Joo’s engaging narrative and approachable recipes make it easy to incorporate these ingredients into your everyday cooking. In fact, one of my favorite dishes from the book is her Broccoli, Mushroom, and Sesame Salad [3], which seamlessly blends the umami-rich flavors of Gochujang and toasted sesame oil with the crisp, refreshing crunch of broccoli and mushrooms. It’s a testament to the idea that Korean home cooking can be both approachable and delicious.

Embracing the Classics

Of course, no exploration of Korean cuisine would be complete without delving into the beloved classics. Joo’s book serves as a culinary tour de force, guiding you through a mouthwatering array of dishes, from the iconic Bibimbap (mixed rice bowl) to the spicy, flavor-packed Kimchi Bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice) [4].

One of the standout recipes that has become a regular in my household is the Korean BBQ Chicken [5]. The combination of garlicky, gingery marinade and the char-grilled smokiness is simply irresistible. And the best part? It’s surprisingly easy to replicate at home, making it the perfect option for both casual weeknight dinners and impressive dinner parties.

Expanding Your Horizons

But Joo’s “Korean Food Made Simple” isn’t just a collection of traditional recipes; it’s a culinary adventure that encourages experimentation and fusion. From the playful Krazy Korean Burgers to the tantalizing Pork Tacos with Kimchi [6], the book showcases Joo’s French-trained, Korean-American-Londoner influenced approach, blending the bold flavors of Korea with global inspirations.

These innovative dishes not only challenge your palate but also spark a sense of excitement and creativity in the kitchen. They serve as a reminder that Korean cuisine is a living, breathing art form, constantly evolving and adapting to new influences and techniques.

Embracing the Journey

As I’ve delved deeper into the world of Korean home cooking, I’ve discovered that the true joy lies not just in the final dish, but in the journey itself. From mastering the art of kimchi-making [7] to experimenting with the intricate layers of flavor in a classic Japchae (glass noodle dish), each step has been a revelation, a chance to connect with the rich cultural heritage of this remarkable cuisine.

And that’s the beauty of Judy Joo’s “Korean Food Made Simple” [8] – it’s not just a cookbook, it’s a gateway to a culinary adventure that will leave you hungry for more. So, whether you’re a seasoned Korean food enthusiast or a curious newcomer, I encourage you to embrace the flavors, the traditions, and the sheer joy of Korean home cooking. After all, the only real challenge is deciding what to make first.


[1] Joo, Judy. “Korean Food Made Simple.” Jacqui Small, 2016.

[2] Chilli and Mint. “Broccoli, Mushroom and Sesame Salad from ‘Korean Food Made Simple’ by Judy Joo.” Chilli and Mint, 12 Aug. 2016,

[3] Ibid.

[4] Maangchi. “Kimchi Bokkeumbap (Kimchi Fried Rice).” Maangchi,

[5] Pratesi Living. “Korean BBQ Chicken: Judy Joo’s ‘Korean Food Made Simple.'” Pratesi Living,

[6] Edinburgh Foody. “Hot and Fresh: ‘Korean Food Made Simple’ by Judy Joo.” Edinburgh Foody, 27 May 2016,

[7] Maangchi, op. cit.

[8] Food and Such Things. “Cooking Show Review: ‘Korean Food Made Simple’ with Judy Joo.” Food and Such Things, 11 June 2014,