Thursday, July 31, 2008


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.)

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.


Anonymous said...

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