Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pajeon 파전

It is raining today so I was thinking of introducing you guys to dish that is perfect to eat on a rainy day. This is a food that is liked by many Koreans on rainy days, they would often enjoy this with beer or mokkolli. Now it is not like that I can really endorse drinking because I'm not even of the legal age yet...

Anyways, back to the dish. Pajeon is a traditional Korean-style pancake which is a very popular appetiser or snack. It is made with flour batter, eggs, and green onions/scallions, served with a mixture of soy sauce & vinegar for dipping. In translation, jeon (pronounced jun) is the actual battered ingredients and pa means scallions in Korean. The basic type of this dish consists of just scallions along with flour and eggs but endless variation of this dish can exists by simply adding other ingredients such as seafood, kimchi, or vegetables.

To cook, the batter is poured into an oiled pan and fried to a golden crisp on a frying pan. Just like a pancake and one of the key to this dish is the egg which contributed to the crispness in texture. The most popular pajeon dish is the seafood hae-mul pajeon (해물파전), which usually consists of little bits of oysters, fresh baby clams, shrimps and even squids.

Another variety is dongnae pajeon (동내파전) is named after Dongnaesung , a former fortress in the Joseon Dynasty and now a district in the city of Busan. Dongnae was a prominent battleground during the Imjin War and legend says the people of Dongrae threw green onions while defeating the invading Japanese soldiers. Dongnae pajeon was made in honor of the victory.

The dish was also presented at the king's table and became popular when the Dongnae market flourished in the Joseon era. Dongnae pajeon is usually made from a batter of rice flour, glutinous rice flour, eggs, and gochujang. Soft spring onions, beef, clams, mussels, oysters, shrimp and other seafood are also added.

The dish itself is quite simple, is like Japanese dish okonomiyaki. OR you can look at it as a savoury pancake with some filling added to the batter. Thinking if it like that means that the pajeon batter is just normal pancake batter with some vegetable mixed in.

Now for the recipe to haemul pajeon(해물파전)

¼ cup soy sauce
½ tbsp vinegar (distilled white)
1 stalk scallion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp Korean dried hot chili pepper flakes (optional)
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

2 cups flour (all purpose)
2 cups water
2 eggs
1 bunch scallions
Vegetable oil
Salt & pepper to taste
To make Hae-Mul Pajeon also add:
1 cup oysters
1 cup chopped clams, fresh
1 cup baby shrimps

1. In a large bowl, mix flours, water and egg till smooth. Add more flour or water if needed to get the consistency of a thin pancake batter.
2. Stir in half the chopped scallions and season with salt and pepper. Let set for about 10-15 minutes.
3. Heat a pan over medium flame and a little oil.
4. Pour about ¾ cup batter into the skillet, tilting the pan to cover the bottom.
5. Sprinkle over a few of the scallions and let cook for 6-8 minutes until the bottom is lightly browned.
6. For Hae-Mul Pajeon (seafood & scallion pancake): Sprinkle about ¼ cup of clams, oysters, chopped squid, shrimp or other seafood over the batter as you make each pancake.
7. Flip and brown the other side and cook for another 6-8 minutes. Make sure all surfaces contact the skillet with a spatula.
8. Wipe the skillet with the oily paper towel and repeat with the rest of the batter.
9. When ready to serve, cut the pancake into 8 pieces resembling a pizza pie.
10. For its dipping sauce, mix the sauce ingredients together.
Serve pancakes warm.

Doesn't that look delicious? Have a try of it on a rainy day...I'm thinking of having it for lunch myself today.

I'm on holidays at the moment so for two weeks I hope that I can introduce you to more and more Korean recipes.

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