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.)
Pajeonserves 2 as a lunch portion
1 cup all-purpose flour1 cup brown rice flour
2 eggs2 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.
Serve with spicy soy dipping sauce (recipe follows).
Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha chile sauce1/2 teaspoon brown sugar (I used brown sugar substitute)
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oilsqueeze 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)