Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pajeon


In my early 20s I lived in South Korea. During that time I had the opportunity to eat some of the best cuisine in my life--from street food to family-style restaurants and even a couple of weddings allowed me to sample different kimchis, bibimbap, kim bop, soups and other various concoctions.

Bulgogi and kalbi were certainly favorites; I used to visit one particular restaurant for what they called chicken bulgogi, which was nothing like beef bulgogi--it was dusted red with cayenne pepper and God knows what else. It was super hot and served over sticky white rice--ooh, I loved it so.

While I was never a fan of the fermented cabbage kimchi, I did enjoy the fresher kimchis and learned how to make them at home for my own enjoyment. There was also this little orange yogurt drink I used to buy in the markets that were delightfully refreshing--wow, I haven't thought about those in a long time!

And the street food--oh, the street food! There was Miss Kim's McDonald's, who wore an old-fashioned paper McD's hat and made hamburgers to order. Her burgers complete with a fried egg were delicious! And there were various tempura vegetables and shrimp, yaki mandu, and pajeon.

Pajeon are crepe-like green onion pancakes with a spicy dipping sauce. Lovingly dubbed "grass pancakes," these were a real favorite for me.

For the first time since living in Korea, I enjoyed pajeon again. This time in my very own kitchen.


While not exactly the same, they certainly embodied the flavor that I remember so well. I didn't know I missed them so much! Mine was more of a ghetto version--my scallions went every which way instead of beautifully lined up, and I added some shredded zucchini since I have some around. My spicy soy dipping sauce was OUTSTANDING. I couldn't get enough of it--after the pajeon were gone, I licked it off my fingers.

Cut into strips or made silver-dollar-sized and served as finger food, these would be great served at a party, hot or at room temperature. (Room temperature is my personal favorite.)

Pajeon
serves 2 as a lunch portion

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 eggs
2 cups water
1 cup chives or scallions (green parts only)
1/2 cup shredded zucchini (optional)

Combine flour, eggs and water; beat well with a whisk to remove any lumps. Stir in chives and zucchini.

Heat an 8-inch skillet over medium heat; grease lightly with a neutral oil and ladle in some batter. These should stay relatively thin, so don't add too much batter. Swirl around to coat the skillet evenly. Cook about 3-5 minutes (the uncooked top should be bubbly and not move when skillet is jiggled) and then flip to cook on the other side. When a light brown is achieved on the second side, remove to a plate. Re-grease skillet and repeat process until batter is used up.

Serve with spicy soy dipping sauce (recipe follows).


Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce

2 teaspoons sriracha chile sauce
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar (I used brown sugar substitute)
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
squeeze lime juice (only a few drops)
several grinds asian spice blend (optional; contains a blend of sea salt, sesame seeds, black pepper, fennel, coriander, garlic, onion, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and aniseed)

Whisk together all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.

4 comments:

Maryann said...

Hi Amanda! I love the idea of Miss Kim's McDonalds..that's so cute!
Hugs!
Maryann xox

Amanda said...

Thanks, Maryann. Miss Kim was so entertaining in her little paper hat and food cart--and excellent burgers made right there in the street!

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