Thursday, 1 May 2008

Culture, The Edible Way

A short post today, since it's occured to me that I'm being a little bit discriminatory on this blog. Britain is getting great coverage, for example (I like to think of myself as some sort of charming, subliminal advertisement for British holidays. 'Come to England! We have cake, and royalty!' sort of thing), and Japan gets the odd bit of shameless, please-adopt-me-into-your-country type flattery, but anywhere else? I seem to have neglected the whole World Culture side of things.

Except for America. I've mentioned America a few times, but as one of my favourite hobbies is making sarcastic and dry remarks about the USA in an Oscar Wilde-esque manner, I probably shouldn't dwell on this in the largely American food blogging community. I mean it lovingly.

I love the Korean food that Ellie makes on Kitchen Wench, so I was bearing this in mind when I decided to have a go at the Korean pancake she made a while ago. Actually I was only bearing it a little bit in mind, since most of me was thinking, 'oh hey, that bag of frozen seafood is half price!', followed by, 'man, I love seafood'. But the rest of me was all about the culture.

I'm too lazy to, you know, go to museums and read books and stuff. So my culture is the edible kind. This was a light meal for last Saturday's tea.

Obviously, my pancake didn't exactly look like Ellie's, but honestly? I enjoyed this meal so much. I only made half-quantities as it was just me and my mum (let's not go into how my dad and sister would react to Korean/seafood), and we put it on a plate in the middle of the table with the dipping sauce between us and helped ourselves from the centre with chopsticks. My family don't get on particularly well the majority of the time, so it was so nice to have a relaxed meal with my mum, and actually be able to talk and be sociable.

This did mean I was completely unable to follow what was going on in Doctor Who, but a lot of the time I can't follow it anyway since I keep getting distracted by David Tennant's face (mm, lovely face) and forgetting to pay attention to the plot. I'll manage.

Hae-mul Pajeon
(Korean Seafood & Spring Onion pancakes)
Original Recipe here on Kitchen Wench.

Pancake ingredients:
280g plain flour
360 - 480ml (1.5-2 cups) water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large bunch of spring onions, washed and cut into thin 1.5 - 2 inch strips
I used a 500g bag of frozen mixed seafood (mussels, prawns & calamari) but check Kitchen Wench for specifics if you want them.

Dipping sauce ingredients:
4 tbsp white or rice vinegar
4 tbsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp finely chopped spring onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

When it comes to making the sauce, if you can’t be bothered getting fancy, then just make a simplified version of equal parts light soy sauce and white/rice vinegar.

1. Mix together flour, water and egg bit by bit, making sure to beat out any lumps - this should be only a tiny bit thicker than thin pancake batter as you will still need the mixture to spread out on the frying pan, so add more water or flour accordingly.

2. Add the chopped spring onions and seafood to the batter, then mix thoroughly to incorporate all ingredients evenly.

3. Heat a frying pan and add some oil, when it’s nice and hot, ladle a big spoonful into the pan. You want this to be about 4-5mm thick, any thicker and it won’t cook through well. Fry until the batter is half-cooked (i.e. not liquid) on top and the bottom is nice and crisp and golden.

4. Carefully flip over and fry other side till golden, then remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Oil frying pan and repeat with remaining batter.

5. To serve, mix vinegar, soy sauce, chilli, spring onion, sugar, sesame oil and garlic and pour into a sauce bowl. Chop up the pancake into approx. 4cm x 4cm squares, then serve side by side with forks or chopsticks.


test it comm said...

Those seafood pancakes with spicy dipping sauce sound really tasty.

Lori said...

Oh my... that looks so delish! I love almost anything Asian. Korean, Vietnamese... This is a definite must try for me.

Pixie said...

Hey, if you and your mum enjoy the seafood I say keep making lots more of it for the two of you! Wonderfully unique dish, Indigo.

Anonymous said...

How lovely this is. I adore Korean food and with the dipping wonderful.

Yes, the Americans still love you.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those pancakes must be delicious and tasty! Yummy!



Mama Mia said...

I've always wanted to try making Pajeon! Yours looks great. I must try this recipe~

Anonymous said...

oooh, yum yum! they do look so good! i love savoury pancakes like these.
anyway check out my blog, i've tagged you for an award!

Anonymous said...

Nice work with the haemul pajeon :) Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

Anonymous said...

I've always seen and heard of these Korean pancakes, but have never tried one! Perhaps, just perhaps I'd react the same way your sis and dad would.

Having said that, I love their spices! Kimchi, bulgogi... yumyum.

Deborah said...

This sounds so yummy - I really need to cook some Korean food!

Rosie said...

Oh my what delicious pancakes Indigo!!

Rosie x