I recently borrowed the cookbook Quick and Easy Korean Cooking from my library. I was on the search for a Chinese cookbook but when I read through some of the extremely simple recipes and not to mention saw the beautiful photographs of Korea on the pages as well, my mind was made up.
To me, not enough cookbooks on a particular cuisine showcase the beauty of that country. Of the more than dozen cookbooks that I own, I think the only one that does this is my Jose Garces’ The Latin Road Home. Food photographs are undoubtedly of the utmost importance in a cookbook but so are images showcasing the land where the dishes were once created.
The quick and easy moniker of the title really rang true. I’ve found that some recipes that are coined as “easy” still end up taking a long time to prepare. But both recipes I tried last week (for Pa Jeon and Galbi which are Korean style ribs) truly were just that- quick and easy. Just be sure to have soy sauce on hand because they are pretty bland otherwise.
Pa Jeon (Green Onion Pancakes)
recipe via Quick and Easy Korean Cooking by Cecilia Have-Jin Lee
MAKES 6 TO 8 FLAT CAKES, SERVING 4-6 AS AN APPETIZER
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour (for my American readers, the brand Bob’s Red Mill does make white rice flour)
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper (optional)
2 cups cold water, plus more as needed
6 green onions, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
2 zucchini, coarsely grated or julienned
1 carrot, coarsely grated or julienned
Vegetable oil for frying
-Combine the flour, rice flour, salt, and black pepper, if using. Add about 2 cups cold water and stir. Stir in more water if needed, a little at a time, until the mixture is the consistency of thin pancake better.
-Add the green onions, zucchini, and carrot to the batter and mix.
-In a large skillet or on a griddle, add just enough vegetable oil to thinly cover the surface. Turn the heat to medium-high. After the oil is heated, spoon enough batter into the skillet to make a large flat circle 6 to 8 inches in diameter.
-Cook on one side until golden brown, then flip the pancake and cook the other side. Reduce the heat as necessary to prevent burning. Remove the pancake. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil as needed. Serve them fresh off the griddle with soy sauce.
Note: If there are any left, refrigerate or freeze them but reheat in a skillet (not the microwave) to keep the edges nice and crispy.
If you can’t find rice flour, you can just add more all-purpose flour instead although the pancakes won’t be as chewy.