FEBRUARY 2020: A COOLINARY CONFIDENCE CLASS
CRISPY KOREAN “PAJEON” KID-MADE PANCAKES + UMAMI SWEET-SOUR SOY SAUCE + ICED APPLE GINGER CINNAMON PUNCH
Crispy Korean pancakes (called pajeon, or “pah-john”) are one of the most popular street-food snacks throughout Korea. “Pa” means green onion in Korean, and “jeon” means fried cake. Pajeon is a type of green onion pancake. We’ve cooked MANY different pancakes in our classes, and this week, it’s time to showcase one of our most beloved versions.
Pajeon are loaded with scallions and other vegetables, or kimchi, and sometimes a combination of all of that! They come out crisp-edged and tender-bellied, and they HAVE to be eaten straight off the griddle with a sesame-soy dipping sauce. When I (Chef Jacqui) lived in Seoul, these were one of my favorite late-night snacks.
We know they’ll be perfect for a our Sticky Fingers Cooking classes because you can add anything you want to the batter. Kids choose!
Kids, college students, and adults eat pajeon with a passion in Korea, and you’ll find various flavors and techniques depending on the country’s region. One thing Koreans have in common is their loyal connection with food, weather, and health. For example, on the hottest three days of the summer, it’s common to eat boiling ginger and jujube chicken soup to promote perspiration (which I thought, as would most Westerners, “Boiling soup on a sweltering day? What?.” Until I tried it.)
On rainy days in Korea, people eat crispy pajeon and drink bubbly drinks. It's a tradition. I’ve made pajeon countless times, but not in years. It wasn’t raining when I tested the recipe for SFC. Instead, a dusty, powdered-sugar snow fell and covered the outside world. I added kimchi to the batter because I had some. I heard the familiar sizzle of the red-stained batter as it hit the layer of hot butter in the skillet. I turned my back to whisk up the Umami Sweet Sour Sauce - and just like I remembered, my senses told me when it was time to flip. The sizzling had quieted; I could smell the kimchi caramelizing. Once done, I turned the pajeon onto a plate and used my hands to rip apart pieces still hot with melted fat, running them through the sweet-salty-tart dipping sauce between bites. They were perfect: crispy at the edges, tender and just barely cooked on the inside. For those moments, I was right back in Seoul tasting the food I’d forgotten how much I’ve missed.
I hope you and your family have fun making up your own savory pancake recipes and learn to love pajeon as much as I do...
Happy + Healthy Cooking, Chef JacquiDownload PDF