Savory Korean Style Pancakes

The following is a guest post: Jerry is the epitome of cooking without a plan. As a matter of fact, he secretly wishes he could participate in an Iron Chef America episode, simply because it is one place where he wouldn’t feel at all out of place. Not knowing the ingredients beforehand doesn’t make him nervous at all. Of course, the reality is that he’d probably lose and look entirely foolish, but hey, it would still be fun! Follow all of his misadventures at Cooking by the Seat of my Pants.

When I found I had an opportunity to guest post here, I was elated. Of course, that elation quickly dissolved into a moderate form of panic as I tried to decide just what I wanted to make. Would it fit the rest of Lori’s recipes? Would it be up to par? Would I choke and not be able to get it done on time? I really didn’t know.

I dug through what I had on hand and found some country style pork ribs that I’d smoked a few days ago. That sounded like a good start, but I didn’t want to be the guy who did yet another pulled pork something-or-other, so I scoured my favorite websites and cookbooks looking for something, anything, that might work with my rather eclectic cooking style and still fit with Lori’s previous posts. I thought I was sunk, but Savory Korean Style pancakes, or Buchimgae, came to the rescue. I mean, really. Who doesn’t love pancakes?

Savory pancakes may sound odd to most Americans, but they’re a favorite street food in many parts of Asia. Unlike our flapjacks, these are delicate in flavor and a bit chewy and more like an omelet than what we think of as a pancake, with fillings ranging from fish and vegetables to fermented cabbage and rocket-hot peppers. They’re the perfect party food, designed to be folded and dipped in soy or any other sauce that compliments the filling.

The other reason I chose these is for their versatility. You can fill them with anything you happen to have around and the results will more than likely be exceptional, so if you don’t happen to have smoked pork, feel free to use ham, bacon, chicken, turkey, sausage or simply skip the protein and go veggie-based. It’s still going to taste fantastic.

If you really want to try these as written, but don’t happen to have a smoker or access to smoked pork, you can fake the smoker experience by simply marinating a few pieces of pork in a tiny bit of oil and a few drops of liquid smoke overnight, then cooking the pork wrapped in foil for about an hour in a 350 degree oven. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s close enough for Govt. work.

In any event, I hope you give this recipe a try. These really are amazing little blasts of flavor and well worth the few minutes it takes to make them. They’ve opened a whole new chapter in my cooking adventures recently and I’ve not had a single complaint yet.

Savory Korean Style Pancakes ( Buchimgae)

INGREDIENTS:

Batter:

  • • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • • 1 cup cold water
  • • 1 egg white, beaten
  • • 3-4 drops roasted sesame oil (the dark brown stuff, not the light stuff)
  • • 1 good pinch salt

Filling / Topping:

  • • 1/2 cup smoked pork, cut in strips (Or any of the other options listed above)
  • • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • • 1/2 cup assorted bell peppers, sliced in thin strips
  • • 2 cloves garlic, minced

METHOD:

Add all topping ingredients to a bowl and toss together.

Combine flour, water, sesame oil and egg white in a large bowl using a whisk or electric mixer.

In a large skillet, heat 3 tbsp. vegetable or peanut oil over medium to medium high flame. Add batter 1/4 cup at a time, immediately sprinkling topping over pancake. Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until firm, flipping approximately 3/4 of the way through.

Drain on paper towels, cut in quarters and serve immediately with light soy sauce or your favorite condiment. (bbq sauce cut with a bit of chicken stock would be nice here as well.)

What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:

The original recipe states to cook until golden… I think I tried everything, but golden never happens,. These will go from cooking to burnt in seconds, so just a little color is fine.

savory-korean-style-pancakes

By the way, THIS is what guest post should be like!  Exceeded my expectations!  Thank you Jerry, and you know I love those cowboy boots;)

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