Kimchijeon: Traditional dish with a twist

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Kimchi, fermented cabbage seasoned with garlic and crushed red pepper, is undoubtedly the most popular food of Korea. Most Koreans generally consume it with their every meal. Kimchi has over 200 varieties, depending on the fermentation process and the weather. One of the healthiest foods, kimchi is full of vitamins A, B and C. It has lactobacilli, a healthy bacteria often found in fermented foods that aids in digestion and prevent yeast infection.

But sometimes, there is just one too many kimchi. One needs some innovative ways to give it a little twist. One way is to make it into a pajeon, a pancake made from egg, flour and green onions. Kimchi plus pancake, surely you can never go wrong with that?

When preparing kimchijeon (short name for the dish), the brine from kimchi can be added to the mixture. Most preferred is the one from baechu kimchi, which is made from Napa cabbage. The brine gives the mixture its red color, but not as spicy as it looks like. Along with kimchi, it is served as anju with alcoholic beverages such as makgeolli or dongdongju.

It is usually served as an appetizer, snack or banchan (side dish). Some serve it as anju (pulutan) with alcohoic beverages such as makgeolli or dongdongju.

This dish is easy to make, with little or no dent in your pocket. Here is the recipe you can try:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cups water
  • 1/4 cup kimchi juice
  • 1 1/2 cup kimchi, chopped (you can add or lessen depending on how spicy and crunchy you like your pancake)
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Oil for frying

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Korean chili pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Procedure:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, water, kimchi juice, egg and salt to make a thick batter. Add the kimchi and green onions, then thoroughly mix them into the batter. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. Check the consistency of the mixture before frying. The batter should have the consistency of a heavy cream, thick but still a little bit runny.
  3. Heat the frying pan and coat it with thin layer of cooking oil.
  4. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup of batter to the skillet. Spread the batter with the back of a spoon or ladle to make a thin layer and for even cooking time. Let the pancake cook for two minutes on one side or until it begins to brown. Flip it to cook the other side, for another two minutes. Flatten the pancake with the spatula.
  5. Repeat frying procedure for the remaining batter.
  6. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Preparing the dipping sauce: Mix the soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oi in a small bowl. Season with salt. Add some chilli flakes if you want it spicy. Some also put chopped onions to the sauce for added taste.

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