Koreatown: A Cookbook and Spicy-Sweet Shredded Squid (Ojingeochae Muchim)

Book Cover

Annyeonghaseyo! (That’s “Hello” in Korean) I grew up with Korean food being served alongside with tacos and chicken fried steak (born and raised in Texas) . There wasn’t a day where fresh rice wasn’t in the rice cooker and our garage refrigerator wasn’t filled with kimchi (we had to have an extra refrigerator for my dad’s beer and my mom’s kimchi). Although I grew up eating Korean food I didn’t learn how to make anything Korean except for steamed rice until I was in my 30’s. My Korean mom’s philosophy was (and still is) “don’t worry I’ll make it for you.” Like a good half-Korean child I listened while I was not so subtlety pushed out of our kitchen.

Instead of pushing my daughter out of the kitchen I want to share my mom’s rich Korean culture with her while making the dishes I remember while growing up in our Kor-Tex (Korean-Texan) household.

Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard created Koreatown: A Cookbook which highlights the rich culture of Koreatowns across the United States. The tasty collection of Korean recipes along side with gorgeous photos gives you an insider look at Koreatown. It gives Korean food-lovers great recipes along with insights to how and when Koreans enjoy them. Hong and Rodbard also include narratives from Korean-American chefs and food-lovers to give additional observations on their Koreatown and the evolution of Korean food in America. The authors do an amazing job providing the readers with what they need to do to start delving into cooking Korean food.

This is more than a cookbook it’s also a book of art. The photos are vibrant and beautiful.The photos brought back memories of grocery shopping with my mom as a little girl and the energy I felt when my mom’s Korean friends would stop by for a visit (there’s always food involved). This isn’t a cookbook you hide in a forgotten cabinet but one you proudly display and use. It provides you with inspiration and courage to make Korean food in your home (and for those of us who aren’t lucky to have a Koreatown in our town we can temporarily create one in our kitchen).

Growing up in Texas I lived on beef jerky. Growing up in a Korean household I lived on dried squid. This sweet and spicy shredded squid (Ojingeochae Muchim) is the best of both worlds. It’s sweet and spicy while being chewy and sticky. This recipe tastes exactly how my mom makes it but now I have the exact ingredients to make it myself! Thank you Deuki and Matt for creating this wonder homage to Korean cooking.

Sweet and Spicy Shredded Squid

My picky husband loves the flavors of this dish but isn’t 100% on board with the chewiness of the dried squid. For me the chewiness is the reason I absolutely love this dish and often times eat it as my main meal. He said he couldn’t eat it as the main dish but definitely wants it again. He correlated it to having fries (vital to a meal but not the main course). For the record this is meant to be eaten as a snack but I eat so much of it at one time that it becomes my main meal. I keep going back for just one more bite.



  1. Mix gochujang, gochugaru, sugar, corn syrup, mirin, and sesame seed oil in a small bowl until combined; set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, add ¼ cup water with the finely shredded dried squid and cook on high.
  3. Cook dried squid until all of the water is absorbed and the squid is heated through. Using tongs turn the squid over periodically to prevent burning (speaking from experience). It will take a few minutes for the water to fully absorb.
  4. Turn the heat to medium and pour the gochujang mixture over the warm squid. Stir until the squid is covered with the spicy-sweet deliciousness. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
  5. You can serve it at room temperature with steamed rice or own its own.
  6. Refrigerate it for up to a week.

Adapted from Koreatown: A Cookbook – Spicy-Sweet Shredded Squid (Ojingeochae Muchim)

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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