Kimchijeon (Kimchi Pancake)
At Pyeong Chang Tofu House in Oakland, Calif., Young S. Kim’s golden kimchijeon are a revelation. Tart with pungent kimchi, the pancakes are both satisfyingly chewy and shatteringly crisp. At the Tofu House, where Mrs. Kim turns 1,400 pounds of Napa cabbage into kimchi each month, her homemade kimchi is the secret to her kimchijeon’s unsurpassed flavor. Use the most flavorful traditionally prepared kimchi you can find — it’ll make all the difference in this simple recipe. This version, adapted from Mrs. Kim’s original recipe, comes together quickly: Just combine kimchi and its juice with a few dry ingredients into a simple batter, then fry it in a cast-iron skillet into a mouth-watering pancake. Serve it to a crowd as an appetizer, or eat it on its own as a filling meal.
- Serves: 2 persons
- ¼cup citrus ponzu sauce
- 1tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
- 1scallion, thinly sliced
- ½cup potato starch
- ½cup all-purpose flour
- 1teaspoon garlic powder
- ½teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1heaping cup kimchi (about 10 ounces), plus 1/4 cup kimchi juice
- 2scallions, chopped
- 2tablespoons gochujang
- 1tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1teaspoon fish sauce
- 3tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola
Step 1Make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, combine ponzu sauce, sesame seeds and scallion. Set aside.
Step 2Prepare the pancakes: In a large bowl, whisk together potato starch, flour, garlic powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Step 3Dice kimchi into 1/2-inch pieces. In a medium bowl, stir together kimchi and kimchi juice, scallions, gochujang, sugar, fish sauce and 1/2 cup water. Add kimchi mixture to flour mixture, and stir to combine.
Step 4Set a 10-inch cast-iron pan over medium heat. When it’s hot, add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. When oil shimmers, add half the batter, and spread from the center out to the edges of the pan. After about 1 minute, once you sense the pancake is setting, use a thin metal spatula to make sure pancake is not sticking. When the bottom of the pancake is brown and the top fades from glossy to matte, after another 30 to 60 seconds, carefully flip the pancake using the metal spatula. (Alternatively, slide the pancake onto a rimless plate, and flip it back into the pan.) Continue cooking for another 60 to 90 seconds on second side until set, then carefully slide pancake onto a plate.
Step 5Use remaining oil and batter to make a second pancake. Cut into wedges, and serve hot with dipping sauce.