via Mykoreaneats: Day 5 of cooking and teaching a Korean man how to cook for his family. With a bunch of garlic chives and leftover squid from the other day in the fridge, quickly made a few batches of a kid-n-adult-friendly dish called Haemul Buchu Jeon 해물 부추 전, aka Seafood n Chive Pancake. It’s basically the same as haemul pajeon, which utilizes scallions or green onions in place of chives, but has a subtle onion-y and garlic flavor compared to the former. Although I’ve made tons of different jeon variations over time, there’s always something new I learn during the process. This time was no different. I finally learned how to perfect these delicious, savory pancakes, which is ideal on rainy days or when I’m in the mood for makgeolli, Korea’s humble rice wine. How perfectly did this batch come out? Think nicely formed crust and crispy edges with caramelized squid pieces in every bite. Even better, this dish is relatively healthy with the garlic chives being chock-full of vitamins and nutrients–meaning you can eat like 10 of them!
A little more about pajeon: One of many jeon varieties that contain green onions/ scallions as its prominent ingredient. The basic one consists of just scallions along with a batter of flour and eggs, but endless variations of this dish exists by simply adding other ingredients such as seafood (squid and shrimp are ideal), kimchi, or other vegetables. This is a popular dish known as anju (side dish paired with alcohol), where many Koreans order this along with Korea’s ubiquitous green bottled drink soju.
If you’ve been in Korea for some time, you probably know by now that makgeolli and pajeon are rainy day foods. Here are a few theories floating out there that I’m sure carry some truth to each of them. 1) Back in the old days when farming was common practice, farmers would gather on rainy days and share a few bottles (or brass bowls) of makgeolli and pajeon, the latter being one of the easiest and cheapest dishes to prepare consisting of green onions, wheat flour, and egg. 2) It is believed that the sizzling sound when making pajeon is similar to the sound of rain drops. 3) Humidity increases on rainy days, resulting in blood sugar levels dropping and people craving food that will restore blood sugar levels. 4) Rainy days often have people feeling down and depressed. Flour-based food and makgeolli will help since they contain high levels of serotonin, which improves mood and emotion as well as appetite. 5) They’re both just downright delicious and make one heck of a combination, rain or shine.
“Eat well or don’t eat at all.” ~ Mykoreaneats
- 2 cups buchim garu (pancake mix)
- 4-6 oz buchu (garlic chives), cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 squid, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 cups cold water (+ ice cubes)
- ½ onion, thinly sliced
- olive oil
- dash of salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp water
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the pancake mix, cold water, and salt n pepper. Whisk until the flour is fully dissolved and a runny consistency is achieved, much lighter than your average American-style pancake.
- Prep the squid and garlic chives accordingly, cut into 2-inch pieces. Add to the batter and mix thoroughly. The chives should dominate the batter as too much batter will make the jeon soft.
- In a generously oiled and heated non-stick frying pan, evenly spread out a thin layer of batter until covering the pan. Cook until the batter "dries" and edges become golden brown. Flip carefully and repeat, about 7 minutes on each side.
- Enjoy alone or with dipping sauce, made by mixing the last five items on the list.
- For extra crispy jeon in a nutshell: 1) cold cold water in batter, 2) extra chives and squid in batter, 3) lightly, runny batter, 4) high heat and generous amount of oil!