The Korean Vegan Cookbook: Reflections and Recipes from Omma's Kitchen- BOOK REVIEW
An honest book review
The Korean Vegan Cookbook: Reflections and Recipes from Omma's Kitchen is the third plant-based Korean cookbook that I've reviewed. As soon as my copy arrived in the mail (thank you Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), I immediately sat down to peruse its pages and check whether it had any recipes that I hadn't tried before. I was not disappointed. In this cookbook alone, Tess Masters has introduced me to a variety of new ingredients and cooking styles which I'm looking forward to trying out.
The book starts with a very sincere introduction of how Omma (Korean for "mom" or someone who is motherly) came into the author's life. She explains her reasons for writing this cookbook and also speaks about food memories which are sure to make anyone nostalgic about their childhood.
The next section discusses ingredients that can be prepared within a vegan diet. Recipes contain a list of these ingredients and those that are unnecessary to repeat. Following this, there is a glossary for all the Korean words used in preparing the recipes as well as their translations into English.
A section on kitchen utensils follows which I found particularly interesting as it gives instructions on how to make a simple bibimbap bowl at home, without having to buy expensive bowls from overseas. I can see this being very useful for anyone who wants to make bibimbap but does not have access to specialty kitchenware.
The rest of the book is separated into sections based on the seasons which I think was an excellent idea. I'm a big fan of cookbooks that have been organized in such a fashion as it mirrors real life and cooking habits.
The Korean Vegan Cookbook contains recipes that reflect the true essence of Korean cooking, which I found very different from the typical vegan fare we find here in Singapore. Instead of going for vegan alternatives of meat, the recipes use simple vegetables and fermented ingredients like kimchi. I've made about nine recipes out of the book so far (the latest being the soybean sprout soup) and all have come out superbly well.
There are also QR codes that you can scan to watch videos on how to prepare certain dishes! I think this is the first time I've seen it in a cookbook and am quite impressed.
Although all of the recipes are vegan, most require some sort of meat as an accompaniment. For those who wish to have a balanced meal with it, I would recommend cooking up at least two dishes from the book alongside some steamed rice or noodle to go with it.
My only gripe with this book is that I wish there were more pictures of the dishes. It's not always easy to imagine what something will look like by reading through recipes, which is why I usually like cookbooks containing both photos and instructions (or vice versa if you prefer).
Overall, this book is an excellent introduction to Korean vegan cooking. I hope that many people get to try out the recipes here and enjoy it as much as I have!
I can definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to try some Korean recipes made vegan. You don't have to be vegan to enjoy the meals though, you can prepare the meals and your meat or fish as a side dish.
I have to give this book 4.5 stars, only because I wish there were more images in the book. Other than that, this book is amazing and is definitely a must-have for any home cook. You will also love this if you are a professional chef too. The meals taste authentic, healthy, and full of flavor. I am really impressed, a must-read!
Get your copy of the book here>>>> The Korean Vegan Cookbook