Jeolla Do Mustard Pajeon (Korean Pancake)

I nominate Korean Jeolla Do Mustard as my vegetable of the year! I can’t rave about it more. It’s crunchy, coarse and textured like kale, with a blast of peppery bitterness. It makes for a wonderful kimchi, the recipe for which you can find here. I’ve been lucky because my friends at Radical Family Farms are exploding at the seams with Jeolla DO Mustard and so I’ve got a lot in my fridge. In addition to making the kimchi, I also tried out mixing it into a Korean dish called Pajeon, a pan fried green onion pancake. Crispy on the outside (from the frying), crunchy (from the onions) and soft (from the batter) on the inside and burst of bitterness (from the mustard). We also threw some napa cabbage kimchi in there as well bc our favorite type of pajeon is Kimchi Pajeon. This injected a whole load of umami into the flavor but also crowded the pancake batter a bit. This didn’t bother us a bit, but some people might want to have a slightly higher batter to veggie ratio. If you are one of those people, just omit some of the veggies or make more batter. This is easy to do as the batter’s water:flour ratio is 1:1. This will make more sense when you read the recipe. We served our Pajeon with a delicious dipping soy sauce and vinegar based dipping sauce. It was absolutely gorgeous and super easy to make. Here’s how we made it!

Note: Jeolla Do Mustard isn’t just available anywhere. If you can’t get your hands on it, kale will also work very well!

Jeolla Do Mustard Pajeon

Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side

Filling:

200g or 7oz Jeolla Do Mustard, cut into 2inch lengths, discarding the rought bottom stems (or Kale, preferably red)

2 stalks Green Onions, cut into 2 inch pieces, white ends cut in half lengthwise. You could easily subtitute any old onion or even chives.

1/3 cup Kimchi, roughly chopped (Optional)- this is merely the amount I use in my recipe, you could add more or less depending on your preference. Just in case, reserve some kimchi liquid for the batter if you can spare it.

2 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced (or minced if you prefer to have the garlic flavor mixed in evenly rather than in large bursts).

1t Sesame Seeds (for garnishing the pancake)

Batter:

1 Cup Flour, for a slightly softer and chewier inside, make about 1T of this measurement Corn Starch.

1 Cup Water

1T Red Miso (or basically any fermented soybean paste, even white miso will do)

1t Sugar

Dipping Sauce:

3T Soy Sauce

1T Rice Vinegar (white vinegar is also ok)

1t Sugar

1T Green Onions, finely chopped

1t Roasted Sesame Seeds

Start by blanching your chopped mustard in boiling water. I meant to only do this for 5 minutes but forgot about it (bc wine) and so it sat for 15 minutes. It was totally fine. The idea is the cook it enough so it wilts. Drain and set the liquid to the set. Let the blanched mustard cool so you can handle it and then squeeze the excess water out as much as you can. Add it to the reserved blanching water and use it for stock, cooking something else or watering your plants (when it’s cooled down completely!). Allow the mustard to cool further to room temperature.

Whisk your miso and sugar into your water so they’re completely dissolved. Then whisk the flour mixture into the liquid little by little until it forms a batter, much like a pancake batter.

Get a cast-iron skillet (or any old pan for frying) warming on the stove on low so its ready. I do this for my cast-iron skillet so it heats evenly. You won’t need to do this if you have a pan made of a thinner material.

Add all the prepared vegetables to the batter and give it a good stir to incorporate everything. Take a look to see if it’s the right consistency for you. Everyone has their preferences, but it should be roughly the same consistency as American pancake batter. If it’s too thick, add some of the reserved kimchi liquid or water. If it’s too wet, add more flour, just make sure you use a whisk to avoid lumps.

Turn the heat under the skillet up to medium high and let it heat up. Add about 2-3T of canola oil. Once the oil is heated, give the pancake mixture one last stir and evenly pour the batter onto the surface of the pan. Once evenly distributed, it should only be about 1/2in thick at the most which means I spread the batter to the edges of my 10in skillet.

Fry your pancake for about 4-5 minutes, checking the bottom with a spatula to see what color it is. Traditionally, you want a golden brown color, but I like mine to be slightly charred so I did the full 5 minutes. This will depend on your pan and the strength of your heat as well as the type of stove you’ve got. Key is to keep checking.

Once it’s the color you want, it’s time to flip it, but first sprinkle sesame seeds over the top of the uncooked side. If you are NOT using a non-stick pan, use a spatula to make sure the pancake is not stuck to the bottom. Next use two spatulas to flip the pancake over on its other side. If you are not able to do this (like me, I had Chris do it hahaha), you can also use the method of slipping it onto a plate first and then flipping it over back onto the pan (what I normally do). If you do the latter be very careful with the hot oil splattering!

Once you’ve flipped it, allow to cook for another 4-5 minutes, again checking the bottom for the right color. Also, be sure to press down the pancake as this helps condense everything so it cooks more evenly.

When it’s done, flip it back onto a plate or serving dish with the sesame-side up. Cut the pancake into rectangles and enjoy with the dipping sauce!

We enjoy Pajeon as a main with a vegetable side and a bowl of rice. Most recently, we served this with a side of stir fried pea shoots without the gravy, simply seasoned with sea salt.

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