I have to hold my hands up here, when it comes to cooking it I am a Korean food novice. I will happy chow down on a bowl of bibimbap or those lettuce rolls with braised beef, but I am yet to try and recreate it myself. So, beginning at the beginning, I went for kimchi jeon. A dish that is easier to make than an omelette, involves fewer ingredients than you can count on one hand, and makes it look like you have your finger on the pulse of hipster food trends? Yes please. I should also mention that it tastes pretty darn special.
"Jeon" refers to the pancake and kimchi, to state the obvious here, refers to the inclusion of the ubiquitous kimchee. Jeon is a catch all dish and you are equally likely to find "Pa Jeon" - green onion - or "seafood Jeon" on the menu. It isn't rocket science, if you can stick it in an omelette, it seems that the Koreans are likely including it in a jeon. I went for a mix of kimchi and left over Asian chives (buchu for those in the know).
It is basically a pancake batter type affair - flour, water, possibly an egg, salt... you get the picture. I read a whole load of recipes and there was quite a lot of debate about whether you need the egg
, whether to use rice or plain flour
, and if it needed soybean paste
or not. I went for the KISS principle and the simplest recipe possible. 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, salt to taste and mixed with 1/2 cup kimchi and approximately the same of the chives. In hindsight, I would have added the egg as I could have done something to bind everything together better.
The result was, if I say so myself, rather delicious. I don't think I allowed myself enough oil to give the total crispiness found in restaurant versions but for something knocked up out of a near empty fridge, it was not half bad and took only about 10 minutes cooking time.
The trick to add extra authenticity is to slice it as a grid (tricky to tell from the photo below), rather than in pizza slices. And try not to burn the roof of your mouth as you fork it straight from the pan into your gob.
Served with a side of spiralized
daikon mixed with soy, mirin, enoki mushrooms and tomatoes. Yummers.