Curry & Kimchi: Flavor Secrets for Creating 70 Asian-Inspired Recipes at Home

Curry & Kimchi: Flavor Secrets for Creating 70 Asian-Inspired Recipes at Home

by Unmi Abkin, Roger Taylor


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In their western Massachusetts-based restaurant Coco & The Cellar Bar, chefs Unmi Abkin and Roger Taylor create well-balanced, boldly flavored signature dishes shaped by Abkin’s Korean and Mexican-American upbringing. In Curry & Kimchi, they open their kitchen secrets up to the home cook, sharing their foundational dressings, salsas, broths, and infused oils and the dishes that feature them, through recipes that are delightfully simple to execute and beautifully complex in flavor. Honey Miso Dressing lends full-bodied taste to Honey Miso Noodle Salad, while Shoyu Ramen Broth (made in an Instant Pot) is the key ingredient in Coco Shoyu Ramen. Other favorites include a Korean-inspired take on Bolognese sauce for Korean Spaghetti and Korean Sloppy Joes, Chow Fun Sauce (for Coriander Shrimp Chow Fun), Scallion Ginger Jam (for Clay Pot Miso Chicken), and Ponzu Sauce (for Miso-Glazed Cod Rice Bowl). Together with vivid restaurant photography that shows elegant plating suggestions, Abkin and Taylor’s recipes give home cooks the building blocks to preparing meals with remarkable clarity of flavor.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635861587
Publisher: Storey Books
Publication date: 10/29/2019
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 538,639
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Unmi Abkin and Roger Taylor are the co-owners and chefs at the popular Easthampton, Massachusetts–based restaurant Coco & The Cellar Bar, which hosts over 30,000 visitors a year. With 40 years of kitchen experience between them, they’ve mastered freshness and clarity of flavor in their simple global recipes. Unmi Abkin, a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northeast in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, was born in Korea and raised in northern California by her Mexican-American family. She attended the California Culinary Academy and worked in Chez Panisse and Boulevard before opening Coco. Roger Taylor is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. 

Read an Excerpt



These salads are just as good as those in our restaurant, but they are particularly favorable to the home cook thanks to sturdier ingredients like broccoli or noodles and dressings that you can make a day or two ahead of time.


The flavors in this dressing — slightly sweet, somewhat spicy, and rounded out by the sesame oil — remind us of the little house salads you get at Korean or Japanese restaurants. It is strong enough to stand up to the grilled shrimp in our Grilled Shrimp, Asian Pear, and Watercress Salad (page 24).

1. STIR together in a large bowl, then let macerate for 30 minutes:

½ cup Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar (page 157)
¼ cup lime juice
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons gochugaru (page 164)
2 teaspoons mild honey
½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

2. WHISK in slowly:

¼ cup neutral cooking oil
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon Togarashi Oil (page 156)


At the restaurant, we noticed a cook drizzle some of this dressing over a bowl of rice topped with toasted nuts and sliced avocados. We thought it made a fantastic pre-dinner snack!


STORAGE: This dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.


Impromptu salads are the best salads. In season, just about any salad can be modified depending on what is available. This salad is a perfect example of that. If you can't find Asian pears, use Bosc pears — or any ripe, sweet, and juicy pears for that matter. Persimmons would be beautiful too. We've even replaced the shrimp with roasted shiitake mushrooms to great success.

1. PREHEAT grill to high heat.

2. COMBINE in a large bowl:

1 pound shrimp, peeled and cleaned
2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil Salt

3. SEASON shrimp well with salt and toss to coat. Carefully place shrimp on grill grates and cook for 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove shrimp to a plate and allow to cool.

4. FAN out on the serving plate:

¼ Asian pear, thinly sliced

5. COVER with:

1 cup watercress

6. TOP the watercress with the grilled shrimp.

7. DRIZZLE over the salad:

2 tablespoons Korean Hot Pepper Dressing (page 23)

8. FINISH the salad with:

1 scallion, sliced
½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds Pinch of flaky sea salt


One of the most fun and important parts of cooking is presentation. You might have heard that people eat with their eyes as well as their mouths.

When a dish looks beautiful, we begin to salivate for it — preparing ourselves to eat it. How a food looks can be just as important as how it tastes. Where it makes sense, we have included progression plating photos to help you present the dish beautifully.



This dressing is remarkably stable and can certainly last a week in the refrigerator. We recommend making the dressing a day or two ahead, so the flavors have ample time to come together. Store it in a large squeeze bottle so that you can easily add it to the Honey Miso Noodle Salad (page 28) when you are ready. You can also drizzle it over grilled asparagus or salmon and top with some sesame seeds!

1. WHISK together in a large bowl:

½ cup white miso
½ cup Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar (page 157)
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons tamari
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2. WHISK in slowly:

1 cup neutral cooking oil


If you are as tired as we are of onion dip and ranch dressing with crudité, we recommend using this dressing as a dip. It is a breath of fresh air at parties and people always notice it.


STORAGE: This dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.


It is hard to overestimate how large a role this noodle salad has played in our lives. It has been a bestseller at two of our restaurants, and everybody complains when we take it off the menu for wintertime. It's quick and casual enough for lunch and substantial enough for dinner. Its beauty lies in its subtlety — it isn't an in-your-face dish — and kids love it (especially without the cilantro).

1. COMBINE in a large mixing bowl and toss until evenly dressed:

6 ounces lo mein egg noodles, cooked al dente
2 cups shaved green cabbage
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned (1 cup)
1 cup arugula
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup Honey Miso Dressing (page 26)

2. PORTION salad into four serving bowls. To finish, divide among the four bowls:

¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds Pinch of red pepper flakes


For a gluten-free version, omit the egg noodles or replace them with a brown rice pasta. You could also serve it with cubes of extra-firm tofu in place of chicken.



We love salad dressings that check off a lot of flavor boxes. This one fits the bill for sure. It has the spicy-sweet-tart balance we are always looking for, and because it has been emulsified, it has a creamy texture that rounds out the sharp acidic edges. It works beautifully on the Orange, Mango, and Avocado Salad (page 32).

1. COMBINE in a blender:

1 teaspoon minced shallots
¼ jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, sliced Zest of ½ lime
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar (page 157)
1 tablespoon mild honey
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup neutral cooking oil

2. BLEND ingredients on high until well-combined.


At the height of summer, we grill fresh-picked corn and brush this dressing on after it comes off the grill; it's a great alternative to butter!


STORAGE: This dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.


The citrus and avocado salad, with nearly limitless room for seasonal variation, is a classic Northern California dish. This salad isn't tossed or arranged in layers. The key is to make it pretty without seeming to try too hard.

1. SLICE the tops and bottoms off: 2 oranges

2. REMOVE the rind and pith of the oranges with the knife in clean arcs, then slice into ¼-inch rounds. Divide the orange slices between four plates, arranging in an even layer.

3. PLACE on a cutting board, holding it lengthwise:

1 mango

4. SLICE the mango into three pieces lengthwise, so that you have two meaty side pieces and a center slice containing the pit. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh from the side pieces and cut into 1½inch cubes. Using a paring knife, cut the skin away from the middle slice, cut around the pit, then cut the remaining flesh into 1½-inch cubes.

5. PLACE the mango pieces in a medium bowl and toss with:

1 tablespoon lime juice

6. SCATTER the mango pieces on top of the orange slices. Cut in half lengthwise, around the pit:

1 avocado

7. SCOOP out the pit, then remove the avocado flesh from the skin with a large spoon. Slice into half moons, and distribute evenly among the four plates.

8. TOP each plate with:

½ cup baby arugula

9. DRIZZLE each plate with:

2–3 tablespoons Jalapeño Lime Dressing (page 31)

10. FINISH with flaky sea salt.


No good citrus available? Use roasted and pickled beets, or even sweet, ripe tomatoes! Avocadoes no good? Don't use them! A shaved cheese like ricotta salata can provide that creaminess. Add some nice crab meat to make it a light meal.



This vinaigrette has all the brashness and strength of a typical dressing for Chinese Chicken Salad (page 36) but without the cloying, sugary sweetness and oppressive soy notes. After a lot of trial and error, we settled on orange juice concentrate. It's a great way to add a velvety texture and body, and it also replaces the ubiquitous syrupy canned mandarin oranges you normally find in Chinese chicken salad.

1. COMBINE in a blender:

¼ cup frozen orange juice (defrosted)
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar (page 157)
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
¼ cup neutral cooking oil
1 tablespoon chopped scallion
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon sesame oil

2. BLEND all ingredients until well combined.


STORAGE: This dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


This recipe is our attempt to take back the Chinese chicken salad, which is commonly found in airport takeaway cases or convention center catering menus. It typically comes with peanuts, but we use Marcona almonds and Szechuan oil to give it a more sophisticated look and feel.

1. COMBINE in a large bowl:

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (about 3 cups)
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 scallions, sliced on a bias
½ head napa cabbage, shaved
¼ cup Xander's Cucumber Pickles (page 146), cut into half moons
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped Marcona almonds
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

2. ADD to salad:

3–4 tablespoons Orange Ginger Vinaigrette (page 35)

3. TOSS salad well. Add more dressing as desired and adjust seasoning to taste with:

Flaky sea salt Szechuan Oil (page 158)


Traditionally, Chinese chicken salad is made from chicken that has been poached, then cooled and shredded, but who has time for that? This is a fantastic way to use a rotisserie chicken from your local supermarket. Just let it cool before you shred it, and you have just saved yourself 30 minutes of cooking and cleaning!



Most of the time, you make a salad dressing to highlight a particular vinegar, or an ingredient in the salad. We love our togarashi oil so much that this was the first time we made a dressing to showcase the oil. We created our Broccoli Salad (page 40) specifically for this dressing.

COMBINE in a small bowl:

¼ cup Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar (page 157)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Pickled Ginger (page 152), finely chopped
¼ cup Togarashi Oil (page 156)


Our daughter Coco loves to spoon some of this dressing over sushi rolls. This is the first, but certainly not the last, innovation in this book that came from a gradeschooler.


STORAGE: This dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.


We took the template of the basic American broccoli salad and replaced elements until we had something with a much more Japanese angle. The toasted pine nuts take the place of walnuts, and the chopped pickled ginger in the dressing replaces the sweet and tart flavor of dried cranberries. We omit the mayonnaise for a bright, fresh new salad. Serve this as a side dish with our General Tso's Tofu (page 96).

1. CUT into small florets:

1 head broccoli (3 cups florets)

2. DISCARD the broccoli stems and prepare an ice bath.

3. BRING a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the broccoli until bright green and just cooked through, about 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the broccoli to the ice bath to stop cooking. Once cool, remove from the ice bath and drain well.

4. PLACE the broccoli in a large bowl, and add:

¼ cup toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons Togarashi Dressing (page 39)

5. TOSS well to combine.


Use a salad spinner to drain the broccoli after blanching and cooling. Our friend and colleague Aaron Thayer hit upon this as we were developing this recipe and it makes a world of difference in the finished salad.



This very basic, simple French vinaigrette is made from ingredients you likely already have on hand. It is a great first recipe for little cooks. It is perfect in our Zesty Jalapeño Cabbage Slaw (page 44) or as a dressing for a simple garden lettuce salad or a summer salad of tomatoes, cucumber, fresh basil, and olive oil croutons.

1. COMBINE in a small bowl or a jar with a lid:

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, cracked once with the side of a knife
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

2. LET ingredients steep for 20 minutes Remove and discard the cracked garlic clove. Stir into the bowl:

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons neutral oil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3. WHISK or shake vigorously to combine.


STORAGE: This vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator for at least 7 days.


We serve this slaw at our restaurant with all sorts of things — most notably our mac and cheese and our fried chicken. It has to be brash and bright in order to serve as a counterpoint to the creaminess of those dishes.

1. TOSS well to combine in a large bowl, then set aside for 20 minutes:

½ head green cabbage, finely shredded
½ teaspoon salt

2. COMBINE and macerate in a small bowl for 20 minutes:

¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3. ADD to the cabbage and toss very well to combine:

Macerated onions, drained
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and sliced thin
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinaigrette (page 43)


We suggest doubling the recipe because you are going to want seconds of this slaw for tacos, side dishes, and the like. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.




We firmly believe that the backbone of many great dinners is a great sauce. We suggest making the sauces a day ahead so your dinner prep will be much more manageable.


We first caught the Szechuan bug after a wonderful meal at Mission Chinese in San Francisco. Knowing that the unique, tingling spiciness could be a little intimidating, we set out to find a gentler approach. Most people who try this sauce find out they have a higher tolerance for spice than they thought. It is perfect in Dan Dan Noodles (page 50).

1. HEAT a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add:

2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil

2. ADD when oil is shimmering:

1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1½ teaspoons sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon salt

3. COOK until the pork is no longer pink, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently and breaking the pork up with a wooden spoon. Deglaze the pan with:

¼ cup white wine

4. SCRAPE the bottom of the pan to release all the browned bits, then add:

½ cup unsweetened peanut butter
½ teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorns (page 164)
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar or ¼ cup coconut nectar (page 169)
2 tablespoons Spicy Miso Paste (page 128)
¼ cup douban chili paste (page 165)

5. COOK ingredients until aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in:

2 cups chicken stock

6. BRING sauce just to a simmer and remove from heat.


Feel free to use ground dark meat chicken or lean ground beef in place of the pork in this recipe.


STORAGE: This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Excerpted from "Curry & Kimchi"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Unmi Abkin & Roger Taylor.
Excerpted by permission of Storey Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Dressings and Salads
  Korean Hot Pepper Dressing
  Grilled Shrimp, Asian Pear, and Watercress Salad
  Honey Miso Dressing
  Honey Miso Noodle Salad
  Jalapeno Lime Dressing
  Orange, Mango, and Avocado Salad
  Orange Ginger Vinaigrette
  Chinese Chicken Salad
  Togarashi Dressing
  Broccoli Salad
  Red Wine Vinaigrette
  Zesty Jalapeno Cabbage Slaw

Part 2: Sauces and Salsas, with Main Dishes
  Spicy Szechuan Peanut Sauce
  Dan Dan Noodles
  Plum Sauce
  East-West Rice Bowl
  Korean Hot Pepper Sauce
  Grilled Short Rib Tacos
  Thai Peanut Sauce
  Thai Chicken Rice Bowl
  Korean Bolognese
  Korean Spaghetti
  Korean Sloppy Joes
  Chow Fun Sauce
  Coriander Shrimp Chow Fun
  General Tso's Sauce
  General Tso's Tofu
  Vegan Coconut Curry
  Steamed Kabocha Squash and Tofu Rice Bowl
  Cilantro Salsa Verde
  Chili con Carne
  Green Thai Curry
  Salmon and Green Thai Curry Rice Bowl
  Miso-Glazed Cod Rice Bowl
  Teriyaki Sauce
  Salmon Teriyaki Bento Box
  Phad Thai Sauce
  Shiitake Mushroom and Tofu Phad Thai
  Macaroni and Cheese
     Instant Pot Recipes
        Manchamanteles Salsa
        Pork Carnitas Tacos
        Scallion Ginger Jam
        Clay Pot Miso Chicken
        Shoyu Ramen Broth
        Coco Shoyu Ramen
        Hoisin Barbecue Sauce
        Hoisin-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Part 3: Condiments, Pickles, and Infused Oils
  Spicy Miso Paste
  Lime Shallot Creme Fraiche
  Thai Cabbage
  Kalbi Marinade
  Soy-Cured Eggs
  Miso Marinade
  Seasoned Bean Sprouts
  Seasoned Carrots
  Pickled White Onions
  Quick Kimchi
  Xander's Cucumber Pickles
  Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms
  Pickled Japanese Turnips
  Pickled Ginger
  Ginger Oil
  Chive Oil
  Chile Oil
  Togarashi Oil
  Szechuan Oil
  Seasoned Rice with Vinegar

Everyday Equipment
Everyday Ingredients

Customer Reviews