Winy is a the Center for Health and Fitness’ Registered dietitian. Photo by Chelsea Sektnan
One advantage of living in the South Bay is the wide range of markets and ethnic grocery stores. I love to shop at these grocery stores and check out their variety of products. Recently, I learned how to make Korean pancakes from one of the food sampling stands in a local Korean grocery store. Since then, I’ve been making them quite often for my family as a breakfast dish, snack, or even an evening meal. It is a great dish to include in your repertoire since it is relative easy to make and loaded with vegetables.
The Korean pancake, or pajeon, is a very popular Korean savory dish. If you have never had one before, I highly encourage you try it at one of the local Korean restaurants. Similar to a frittata or okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake), this dish is a one-pot dish that is quick and easy to make. It is definitely one of my go-to recipes when I can’t think of anything to make for dinner. The traditional Korean pancake consists of mostly scallions, chives, sliced carrots, and zucchini. Some elaborate ones contain a seafood mix, but you can add just about anything you want into the batter. Some other ideas include kimchi, shredded purple potatoes, corn, asparagus slices, and/or chopped vegetables.
The following Korean pancake is intended to give your immunity a boost during the flu season. The carrots, onion, and scallions in the recipe are loaded with antioxidants that help repair damaged cells. The mushrooms help increase the production of white blood cells to fight germs. I hope you enjoy this simple and easy recipe that not only strengthens your immune system, but also increases your vegetable intake while using up the leftovers in the refrigerator.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (125ml) ice-cold water
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 scallions, chopped into 3” lengths
½ medium onion, finely shopped
1 small carrot, shredded
1 pkg (0.44 lb) king oyster mushrooms, shredded. (you can use other kinds like shimeji, shitake or sliced white mushroom)
1 large or extra-large egg, lightly beaten (optional)
To make the batter, stir together flour, water, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside
Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large non-stick skillet under medium high heat. Stir in green onion and chopped onion for about 1 minute. Mix in the rest of the vegetables and cook for about a minute or two.
Transfer the partially cooked vegetable mixture back to the batter. Mix well.
Pour the vegetable batter back to the skillet and spread it like a large pancake. Cook for about 2 minutes under medium heat.
When the pancake is about 70% done, pour the beaten egg on the top and then swirl the pan to even out the egg. Cook for another minute or until the egg is almost set.
Using a wide spatula, flip the pancake and cook for another minute or two. If you think the pancake will fall apart, you can slide it onto a large dinner plate first and flip it that way.
Slide the pancake onto a cutting board then cool to room temperature. Cut into 6-8 wedges. Serve with a dipping sauce if desired by mixing 3 parts soy sauce with 2 parts rice vinegar and a few drops of sesame oil and a little bit of brown sugar.
Note: Many Korean grocery stores sell Korean pancake mix, which contains rice flour and baking powder. It is intended to give the pancake a more glutinous texture. If you like this kind of texture, substitute all-purpose flour with the “frying mix” found in your local Korean store. You may also choose to experiment with whole-wheat flour or buckwheat flour to increase your consumption of whole grains. ER