Green Onion Pancake with Squid (Pajeon)
I hadn’t planned to do any recipe posts whilst only days away from my upcoming house move as my kitchen is in a bit of disarray, but when I put together this nice little supper for me and my wife I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.
Basically, the main feature of our supper is a type of Korean pancake known as ‘Pajeon’. Some are quite simple and contain just green onions, but others are more complex and can contain all sorts of other ingredients, with squid being a very common addition. There are many variations involving both the ingredients and the process, but this experiment will give you a good idea of the general theme…
- 2 Green Onions, cut into three inch sections and shredded lengthwise;
- 1 cup of Squid (body part only) cut julienne;
- 1/2 cup of Rice Flour;
- 1 Egg;
- ½ tsp. Salt;
- 1 tbsp. shredded dried Red Chili;
- 1 pinch of ground Black Pepper;
In Korean cuisine, pre-shredded red chili cut into hair-like strands are often used in different recipes and these can be purchased from many Asian grocers. I actually have some but they were already packed for our upcoming move so I just took a dried chili and cut it as finely as I could with the only kitchen knife I had on hand.
Mix the green onion shreds in a bowl with the salt until they are wilted.
Beat the egg in a bowl with flour, stir in the flour and then add sufficient liquid to make a smooth, medium thick batter. You can use water, but I used the liquor thrown off by the frozen squid I used for this experiment.
Mix in the squid, shredded chili and the pepper.
Heat a pan and add a tablespoon or so of oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, add in a dollop of the pancake mix. You can add all the mix at once, or do it in separate batches, and form the cake into a circle, or rectangle as suits your preference. I like rectangles and, as you can see, I have used a couple of wooden skewers to hold the shape while the bottom cooks.
Fry, turning once, until both sides are nicely crisp and golden, then remove from the pan, blot away any excess oil with paper towel, and cut into bite size pieces. Serve while hot along with soy based dipping sauce of your choice. For this recipe, I mixed a little sugar, chopped chili and sesame oil into soy sauce but feel free to be as creative as you like with garlic, vinegar, ginger, or whatever strikes your fancy.
In addition to the sauce, I served our pancakes along with some Baby Bok Choy that was flash fried with just a little oyster sauce. My wife said, afterward, that she could easily eat the whole thing again and, while it is true there was just a little of everything, I know she meant it as a compliment (she *always* likes Pajeon, anyway). I very much enjoyed it myself, although I would have liked a bit more squid, and the only real complaint I had was not with the initial cooking, but rather that the delay in setting up the final photograph allowed the cake to lose a bit of crispiness. Oh well… that just happens to be one of the facts of life in cooking for a food blog, I’m afraid…