Saturday, August 28, 2010

Korean Kimchi Pancake

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I love Korean food. After living in Los Angeles for a number of years, how can I not? Its abundance and my proximity to K-town made it my must have in Los Angeles. VB, too, loves Korean food. But it's not so easy to find vegetarian Korean food that's any good. All the Korean BBQ restaurants are automatically out. There's always the fear of chicken broth in any sort of tofu pots. Kimchi may or may not have shrimp paste. VB usually ends up with seafood pancake (hold the seafood) and tofu bibimbop (hold the raw egg yolk). It can be a bit sad, but fortunately at least we can make a decent kimchi pancake at home now.

I found this recipe on the New York Time's website under The Temporary Vegetarian feature by Elaine Louie. First of all, this recipe is... wonky. One cup of dry ingredients cannot be made into pancake batter by adding only one egg. I tried it (despite my disbelief when I first read the recipe) and the egg formed small clumps in the flour. Secondly, not all kimchi is made vegetarian. Of the few brands to choose from at my local 99 Ranch, only one did not contain shrimp paste. That may not matter to a temporary vegetarian, but it does to a permanent vegetarian.

That said, for my adapted kimchi pancake recipe, you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of potato starch
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 scallions, cut into 1 1/2-inch-long pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of Korean red pepper powder or cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of prepared cabbage kimchi, cut in 3-inch-long pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of kimchi juice
  • 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Start by mixing potato starch with flour. Whisk in eggs and water. Add all the remaining ingredients except vegetable oil. Add about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, ladle in about a third of the pancake batter. Spread the mixture out evenly. After about 3 to 5 minutes, lift the pancake and add another tablespoon of oil into the skillet. Flip the pancake and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. The edges should be light brown and crispy. Repeat with the remaining pancake batter. You will get 3 to 4 pancakes.

For the dipping sauce, you'll need:
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced scallion 
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds
Mix together. That's it!

I only wish that my pancakes were spicier and a bit fluffier. If I had to do this all over again, I'd add even more cayenne pepper (that's just me!) and maybe some leavening agent that gives the pancakes more substance.

    1 comment:

    1. Mmmmm looks awesome nonetheless CG. I'll try to potato flour...never thought to use that. I always used mochiko but it might take too long to cook that way. Thanks for the tip!