We are not so much what we eat, but what we remember we have eaten.
When I was five years old, I walked in my grandmother’s front door one Saturday morning and smelled the most delicious smells coming from her kitchen. She called me to the room with those enticing aromas and placed a plate of ‘haemul pajeon’ in front of me. Then she told me to eat quickly or else it would get cold. The way the pancake disappeared in my mouth as I ate it delighted me.
The experience left a lasting impression. This dish was so common when I was growing up that everyone in her family used to make it. But my grandmother’s was the best, by far.
Most know pajeon as a savory Korean-style pancake made with scallions. Pa means scallion, andjeon means pan-fried battered food. The most popular variation of pajeon is haemul pajeon, which is made with seafood (usually a combination of squid, shrimp, mussels, oysters and clams).
Hope you enjoy this!
Ingredients 1 cup of seafood diced into small pieces
(a mix of squid, shrimp, mussels, oysters, clams or any other preferred seafood) 1 bunch of scallions cut into 4 inch long piece
(buy thin ones or half them lengthwise)
1 red chili pepper thinly sliced – optional
1 green chili pepper thinly sliced – optional
1 cup flour*
¼ cup rice (or sweet rice) powder*
1 tablespoon potato or corn starch*
1 teaspoon baking powder*
1½ cup icy cold water
1 egg lightly beaten
1 teaspoon garlic minced
½ teaspoon ginger finely minced (or juiced)
(you can also use garlic/ginger/onion powder to flavor)
Salt (about 1 teaspoon) and pepper to season
* You can also use 1 ¼ cup of ready made Korean pancake mix (buchim garu) sold in Korean markets, which already includes these ingredients and other seasonings. The ready made mix is commonly used in Korean home cooking. If using, do not add salt.
Prepare seafood and vegetables, draining the excess water. (Wet ingredients will make pajeon soggy.) Set aside. In a large bowl, combine all the dry batter ingredients first, stir in water and egg and mix lightly. (For crispy pajeon, the batter should be thin.) Mix in all other ingredients.
Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat, ladle the mixture into the pan and spread it evenly into a thin round shape. Cook until the bottom is golden brown (3 – 4 minutes) and turn it over, adding more oil, press it down with a spatula, and cook for another 3 – 4 minutes. Repeat the process until there is no remaining mixture. Serve hot off the pan with dipping sauce.