I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE kimchi pancakes. It’s one of those things that’s fairly easy to make (I guess if you have the ingredients), but can be quite pricey when you get them at a restaurant. So I adapted the following recipe from one I watched on PBS’ Kimchi Chronicles. I don’t know if many people know about it, but I was at my local H-Mart (Korean supermarket)one day and saw Hugh Jackman cooking Korean food. I was like, “What?!” So anyways, I ended up looking for the show online and it’s really a great series - takes you through the different parts of Korea and the foods they prepare in each region. And if any of you have been to Asia, you know the culture is all centered around food, so there was definitely plenty of material for the show.

So right, kimchi pancakes…the recipe on the show used mung beans as a base for the batter instead of flour. So what you end up getting is something a little heftier with a bit more of a crunchy bite. If you think about it, the recipe is a bit like falafel - you’re frying up a bean mixture flavored with different flavors, and this time, that flavor is kimchi.

When I was making it, I didn’t want to wait 6 hours for the beans to soak, so what I did was add boiling water to it and left it for 2 hours while I prepared the rest of dinner. I thought it came out fine. Also, I never feel like I get enough kimchi flavor in my pancakes, so what I did was double the amount of kimchi and added lemon juice to really amp up the kimchi flavor. Do be careful of draining the kimchi as this may add a bit more liquid to the batter. You could also just adjust the amount of water you add to the batter when initially blending it. Essentially, half of the kimchi was blended right into the batter, and the other half, I folded in to give the pancakes texture. (Also, it’s nice to bite into big chunks of kimchi as well.)

A special note is that it’s good to keep this mixture fairly thick. The last time I made kimchi pancakes, I added a bit too much liquid and when I pan fried them, the pancakes broke apart, so beware. Also, starting the pancakes at a slightly higher heat, and then turning it down helps sear the pancakes, which helps them from breaking apart when you turn them. Finally, because it’s such a thick mixture, it is necessary to use whatever you are ladeling the batter with to use that and press down to distribute the batter into one fairly thin and even layer. If the layers are too thick, it will not crisp up.

Directions

1. Combine mung beans and rice. Add boiling water to cover and soak for 2 hours.

2. In a blender, add the drained mung bean mixture, half the diced kimchi, the kimchi liquid, chopped scallion, 1/4 cup water, fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse or blend mixture until slightly smooth with course bits still inside. Transfer to a bowl and fold in rest of kimchi.

3. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet pan over medium-high heat. (Note: Pan should be on the medium-high to high heat side at the beginning to prevent pancakes sticking). Ladle batter into pan with diameter of the pancakes being 3-4 inches. First side should take about 3-4 minutes before it loosens from pan. Then 2-3 minutes for second side. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve with soy sauce.

Ingredients:

Serves 3-4 (Makes 10-12 Small Pancakes) - 1 cups dried mung beans (soaked in warm water)
- 1/8 cup sweet rice, rinsed in a few changes of cold water - 1/4 cup sour kimchi liquid - 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce - 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil - 1 teaspoon soy sauce - 2 tablespoons lemon juice - pinch of salt - 1 cup diced sour kimchi (half for blender, half to add onto batter after) - vegetable oil - 2 scallion stalks (1 for pancakes, 1 for garnish)