Let me introduce you to the first Seasoned Literature recommendation, Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha.
Your House Will Pay is an amazing book told from the perspective of Grace Park, a Korean-American woman and Shawn Matthews, an African-American man. When a crime hits LA as tense as the early 1990’s, their lives collide in a way they could have never imagined. It’s a fictionalised story based on the tragic murder of Latasha Harlins in 1991. I’ve been really interested to learn more about one of the catalysts of the LA riots of 1992, and this ties into the racial tensions that have escalated over the years especially during the pandemic.
I really love how Cha embodies the character’s feelings and actions very easily for a reader like myself to feel deep down through her words. The story is just one of many that touches on the deep roots and tension between the Asian and Black communities and how it’s not easy even to this day on both sides. It’s an important book to read that collides the races together and I personally want to see more literature like this with Asian and Black characters in the same book and in other genres too.
The Spicy Dish?
There’s a few mentions of other food in the book from the characters e.g. pork BBQ ribs, seaweed soup, or 미역국, buttermilk biscuits, kimchi etc. as well as takeaway like orange chicken and chow mein. Although Shawn’s family do not have something incredibly spicy, it was great to see other homecooked meals that I can relate to e.g. mac and cheese.
I think for Your House Will Pay that Eundaegu Jorim (은대구 조림), or “spicy braised black cod fish” is the perfect selection because it’s a dish that represents the character Grace and her culture. It’s one of the few meals she has with her parents in the book and one that immediately stood out to me for being both spicy and a dish I haven’t tried on my many visits to Korea. Eundaegu Jorim is described as having the right amount of heat and pepper because of the gochujang and chilli peppers in the dish.
The recipe I’m introducing to you was made by the amazing Susan of Sweet and Savorhie. I think it’s also a good introduction for fish lovers who want a change from the other seafood and meat dishes I have recommended. Please check their website for how to make this delicious dish.
- 2 lbs black cod cut into steaks or “jo-rim cut”
- 1 medium radish, sliced into 3/4” thick slices
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced 1/2” was thick sliced
- 2 green peppers, sliced
- 1 inch of ginger, sliced into 3-4 slices
- 3 stalks crown daisy
- 1/3 package Enoki muchrooms
- 2 tbsp gochujang (red pepper paste)
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp gochugaru (red pepper powder)
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp Mirin
- 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup of anchovy stock
- Lightly salt cod steaks with sea salt and set aside.
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Trim, wash and cut vegetables.
- Spread 1/3 of sauce on bottom of pan. Place radish on top of sauce and bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes and reduce heat to medium.
- Place cod on top of the radish and add the rest of the peppers, green onions, and ginger, along with the remainder of the sauce. Cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes, be careful not to overcook the cod. Add enoki muchrooms and crown daisy on top and cook covered for an additional minute. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.