Tag Archives: egg

Korean Kimchi Pancakes and 4 Tips for Making Them Crispy

Kimchi pancake with spring onion garnish

Ever had kimchijeon or kimchi pancakes? If you like Indian food, I’m sure you’ll like kimchi pancakes. Even if you don’t like kimchi. Trust me on this!

I went on a Korean food cooking spree last week. It all started because my friends Hannah and Phil were nice enough to join me for dinner when I went on a working retreat at the beautiful Whidbey Institute. We ended up cooking Ssambap using lovely salad greens that the friendly gardeners on the land gifted us. That caused a hankering for something with kimchi. And this was the result. This was my first time making kimchi pancakes and I can say that they were fast and easy. So I hope you’ll give this recipe a try.

Recipe is adapted from http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/kimchijeon (chopped kimchi pancake)

Ingredients (makes 3-4 pancakes)

Pancake

  • 1 cup kimchi, cut into ½ inch pieces if possible
  • ¼ yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (not authentic but added for nutrition and flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup kimchi broth
  • 6-8 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

Garnish (optional)

  • Spring onion or chives, chopped

Dipping sauce (optional)

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes

Flipped pancake

Recipe

In a large glass or plastic bowl mix together all ingredients except the oil. Make sure there are no clumps of flour left. Taste the mixture and add more salt if necessary.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. Wait till the oil is hot enough before proceeding. If you add the batter when the oil is not hot enough, the pancakes will come out soft. You can tell that the oil is hot enough if you put a drop of batter in the pan and it sizzles.

Take a big ladleful of the batter, pour into the skillet and spread as thinly and evenly as possible. If you’re using a 10 inch skillet, you should get 3-4 pancakes depending on their size.

Keep the heat at medium and let the pancake cook for a minute or two. Once the pancake has ‘loosened’, it will move around the skillet easily. At this point, flip the pancake. You can use a flat spatula if you don’t dare throw the pancake up to flip it! (But this is not too hard with a bit of practice. Just hold the skillet handle with both hands, move the skillet back and forth a few times to position the pancake as close to the edge of the skillet directly away from you. Without a pause in the back and forth movement, raise the skillet. The pancake should flip and land back in the skillet. If it is folded over, just move the skillet back and forth till it settles down flat. )

Let the pancake cook for another 2 minutes on this side as well. You might need to cook both sides for another minute or so to make sure the pancake is fully cooked.

Make the remaining pancakes in the same way. If you save part of the batter in the fridge, use it within a day or two. You will need to add a ¼ cup of water or so to loosen up the batter again before using.

To make the dipping sauce, mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl.

Cut the pancake into smaller pieces if you like. Garnish with chopped spring onion or chives.

Kimchijeon or kimchi pancake

Tips to make the pancakes crispier

I love my kimchi pancakes crispy! The first one I made came out very soft. So I did some research. Here’s what I found and what I know from making dosas.

Use 3 tablespoons oil per pancake instead of 2. Yeah, its not as healthy but it works. Make sure the oil is hot enough before pouring the batter into the skillet.

Add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to the batter.

Add 1/3 cup of lentil flour (you can use mung bean or Indian urud dal flour).

Use cold kimchi and water. Cold batter results in crispier pancakes.

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Japan: Of friendship and food

Back in 2001, I was fortunate enough to celebrate New Years in Japan with my friend’s family at her grandmother’s house in a small village near Himeji Castle. The whole family had gathered – caring and curious aunts and uncles, friendly cousins, and adorable little nephews and nieces. The kitchen was a beehive of activity with grandmother running the show. Being guests, we weren’t allowed to help and we’d probably only have been in the way anyway. As the evening got colder and the clock inched closer to midnight, we overcame the initial shyness with the couple of words of Japanese we knew, our hosts’ smattering of English, and lots of good cheer. When we finally sat down to dinner, we needed five tables to accommodate everyone. My friend’s mother, grandmother and aunts had prepared an amazing spread. I’ll confess that with the many years that have since passed, I don’t exactly remember all the dishes we ate. I do remember my favorite was the wild boar nabe. After the feast, my friend’s father took us to the family shrine to ring the bell and bring in the new year. I will never forget how lucky I felt to have been a part of a Japanese family for that celebration. Every new year, I crave nabe and many of the other Japanese dishes that we had on that trip and I think of my friend and her family. Once I even made okonomiyaki and gomae (spinach salad with sesame seeds) as part of the new year’s eve dinner.

So you can imagine my pleasure when I received a surprise package from this dear friend a couple of months ago. She sent me a book of Bashō’s haiku, Harumi’s Japanese Cooking and the most encouraging note ever. It totally made my day. I’ve been meaning to use my new cookbook ever since. She also sent me The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches, a compilation of haiku by Matsuo Bashō, a Japanese poet born in 1644. He wrote this haiku upon meeting an old friend he hadn’t seen for twenty years. It is one of my favorite.

A lively cherry
In full bloom
Between the two lives
Now made one.

Tofu with Hot Spring Egg ‘Onsen Tamago’ (Onsen Tamago Nose Dofu)

Adapted from Harumi Kurihara’s Harumi’s Japanese Cooking


Ingredients

1 lb Silken Tofu
4 eggs
1/4 cup soy sauce (I use Kikkoman Less Sodium)
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon sake
a couple of drops of fish sauce (optional)
roughly 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (or to your taste)
roughly 10 stalks of chives finely chopped (or to your taste, can also use spring onions)
 

Recipe

Carefully remove the tofu from its packaging while trying to keep it intact. Let excess water drain and cut into 4 big pieces.

Soft boil the eggs so the white is just cooked and the yolk runny. The cookbook says to use eggs that are at room temperature, place them in a glass container and pour boiling water to cover them and allow to cook for 10 minutes. (I screwed up and forgot to bring my egg down to room temperature and it was still uncooked. Fortunately I had a second egg but I screwed up again and overcooked it. Yup I make many mistakes. Next time I plan to place the egg in boiling water on the stove for 4-5 minutes.)

Combine the soy sauce, mirin, sake and fish sauce in a mug and microwave for 45 seconds. (Book says to microwave for 2 minutes but my dressing ended up too thick)

Place a piece of tofu on each of four plates and scoop out about a wide tablespoon from the top of each piece.

Crack an egg and carefully empty the white and yolk into the hollow of each piece of tofu.

Arrange the previously scooped out tofu on the side. Place some grated ginger on top and garnish the dish with the chives.

Pour the dressing over the tofu before serving.

My verdict? The dish was simple, yet elegant, subtle yet smooth and flavorful.

 

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