I got to experiment making another anju (alcoholic side dish) recently when we had some friends drive all the way up from Oklahoma for a quick trip to Chicago and decided to swing by Madison for their first time camping experience. The appetizer dish is called kimchi jeon (Korean kimchi pancakes) and is a very popular snack with Koreans, especially on rainy days (for whatever reason I’m not sure). There are certain holidays and special occasions when people eat certain foods in Korea (kuksu noodles for New Years’ and wedding celebrations, miyukguk seaweed soup for birthdays), and this one is popular for rainy days. I’m not sure how this got to be the official Rainy Day food but you can often see this dish (our variations of it) being sought after on rainy days. We didn’t have rain when we served this to our guests, but it was great nevertheless with good company and a generous serving of makgeolli (Korean rice wine). Our kimchi jeon came out perfectly, with added green and red chili peppers centered to add visual aesthetics and some heat. If you want something quick and tasty, then this dish is for you.
Here are the ingredients for our kimchi jeon.
We added some green chili peppers for some extra color and heat.
Finely chop the kimchi and reserve the liquid for the batter too.
Dice the onions in the same manner.
Mix all the ingredients with 1 cup of water until a pancake-like constistency is reached.
Instead of doing our usual one large pancake, we decided on bite-size portions.
The red chili pepper version finished at last.
We had some green Serranos so they were thrown in the mix too.
Our green chili version getting fried and ready.
Servings: 2 people
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 2 cups kimchi, finely chopped
- 2 cups buchimgaru (Korean pancake mix)
- 1 cup of water
- 1/4 onion, finely diced
- dash salt and pepper
- 1/2 red and green chili pepper
- vegetable or canola oil
- 1 egg (optional)
1. Finely chop up the 2 cups of kimchi reserving liquid for the batter. Cut the onions in the same manner, cutting into small cubes is preferable. Finely dice the chili peppers.
2. Mix the kimchi, onion, half of the chili peppers, and water with the buchimgaru. Mix until thoroughly blended and a pancake-like consistency is achieved. Adding more water or buchimgaru might be necessary.
3. Add a generous amount of oil on a non-stick pan or skillet and wait until it reaches medium-high heat. Ladle the batter to fry in either one large pancake or several smaller ones, about 5 minutes or until slightly golden brown. If wanting a more aesthetic look, you can add a few chili pepper pieces in the center and then cook underside.
4. Transfer to a serving plate and enjoy while hot. Soy dipping sauce would be ideal with this appetizer dish.
*Buchimgaru can be bought at your local Korean market, but it can be substituted with flour and some seasoning of salt and pepper.