Early in October, students from one of our youth Cooks for Health classes got a special visit from a professional chef. Chef Sohui Kim, owner and chef of The Good Fork and Insa visited Sylvia Center students at Community Chef Theresa’s class in Red Hook, Brooklyn for a personal lesson. That week’s recipe was for zucchini fritters with a soy dipping sauce, but Chef Sohui added a twist to the mix. Inspired by a dish called Bindae-tteok, a Korean pancake made with mung bean, kimchi, and bacon (which you can try at her restaurant Insa), Chef Sohui thought it would be fun to add mung beans to the recipe. Despite most of the students being unfamiliar with the ingredient, they all were excited to give it a try. Usually pancakes don’t contain a lot of protein and are instead comprised of carbohydrates from the flours and grains. But with the mung beans included, these fritters were packed with filling nutrients.
Another new ingredient for the students was kimchi. Despite its rather funky smell, Sohui encouraged them to try it. Kimchi is fermented cabbage with chili pepper. The students enjoyed their samples straight from the jar. One student called it, “juicy lightning!” Kimchi was added to a fried rice made with soy sauce, ginger, scallions, and egg, then topped with sesame oil. The students agreed they enjoyed kimchi even more as part of a dish, making it more flavorful.
Students discussed the contrasting flavors of ingredients: from the soy sauce’s salty flavor to the rice vinegar’s slightly sweet and acidic taste, to how balancing the two created a tasty sauce for their zucchini fritter. Students were excited to open up to a whole new realm of flavors in Korean cuisine. They learned from one of the best!
Congratulations to Chef Kim’s book “Korean Home Cooking” that was just published this month. We look forward to eating some of this delicious collaboration at the Art of Cooking benefit on November 1st, where Chef Kim will be working with these students from Red Hook to serve up their delicious dishes.