Thursday, November 10, 2011

Korean Green Onion Pancake with Seafood (해물파전 Haemul Pajeon)

Want some?
For Koreans, pajeon is for rainy days.  I chose to make massive piles of pajeon for another reason.  Most of my friends are broke-ass college students here in Seoul.  To accommodate their poorness, I decided to host a party.  I like to host parties, but I usually end up spending buckets of cash and waking up to the ungodliest mess.  While there's no way around the mess that'll inevitably be waiting for me in the morning (who sprayed bags of popcorn all over my roof?), I can host a party for less by throwing together some pajeon and going the BYOM (Bring Your Own Makkeoli) route.  In all, I think I spent less than 20,000 on this party.

Bounties of makkeoli ^-^

Haemul Pajeon Recipe 
(makes enough pancakes for 4 people)
1/2 bag of frozen assorted seafood (1 kg for 10,800 won at E-mart)
15 scallions/green onion stalks
500g of Korean pancake mix (1 kg for 1,780 won at E-mart)
3-4 cups of water
dipping sauce (recipe to follow)

Set the frozen bag of seafood in a bowl of water to defrost.

Clean and slice up the scallions into 1 inch pieces.

To measure out the pancake mix, just dump out half the 1 kg bag to get 500 grams.  Then mix in 3-4 cups of water.  The consistency to aim for is on the thin side like American pancake batter.  This doesn't have to be an exact science.  I don't even use measuring cups to do this.

Mix together the batter, green onions, and seafood.  The batter should be teeming with green onions, and they should barely all fit in there.  Pajeon is mostly green onions and the batter serves as more of a glue.

Heat a large skillet to medium high, and pour in a few healthy splashes of oil.  Don't overdo it, just enough to coat the surface.  

Ladle in two level scoops of batter in the center and working from the center outwards, start pushing the batter outwards and trying to get it as thin as possible by pressing and pushing.  

Wait about 5 minutes for the pajeon to brown.  Once golden brown on one side, flip it.  Try not to flip too early.  The pancake will be more difficult to cook if you have to flip it back and forth.  Once flipped, cook 5 more minutes or so until golden brown.

My friend has a chronic over-flipping problem.  
Transfer to a plate and cut up using scissors.  It's the Korean way.

*Note: for people who like a crispier pajeon, switch out half the pancake mix with the Korean frying mix (comes in a similar package as the pancake mix).

Pajeon Soy Dipping Sauce Recipe
equal amounts soy sauce and brown rice vinegar (for example, 2 tablespoons soy sauce to 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar)
a teaspoon or so of ginger powder
a teaspoon or so of red chili pepper powder (고추가루)
a few tablespoons of finely chopped scallions
a tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds

Mix everything together and dip away.

Keeping it glamorous in my small kitchen.

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