That’s exactly what they are and I’ve turned it over in my head many times (as you would making these) whether I should post about this at all but every time my Mom makes this and my butt is parked by the stove eating them fresh off the pan, all I can think is, ‘THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW.’ So here we are.
Before we get to today’s non-recipe, a little bit about Korean pancakes or jeon. As far as I can tell, anything that’s dredged + dipped + pan fried or battered + pan fried is called jeon. It can range from pan fried zucchini (hobak jeon) to the very popular spring onion pancake (pa jeon – my Mom’s awesome variation here) so shapes and sizes vary, too. Whatever kind it is it’s tasty and quite healthy because what’s pancake-d is usually a very wholesome food like vegetables or seafood. It’s no wonder that the jeon is a favorite side dish (ban chan) or snack on the Korean table.
These cabbage pancakes (baechu jeon) are crazy-simple to boot. To make 4-6 servings, you’ll need:
About 2 cups Korean pre-seasoned flour (available in Korean grocery stores)
Water as needed
1 medium head, Chinese cabbage (also known as Napa cabbage)
Canola oil or any other neutral-tasting oil for frying
1. Separate the Chinese cabbage leaves, wash, and drain. Set aside. Get a pan going on medium. While you wait, tip in about 2 cups of the pre-seasoned flour into a medium bowl. The stuff’s called boochim garu and you can use it to make any kind of jeon you want. Here’s what you should be looking for at the Korean grocery store.
2. Add water to the bowl, little by little, and stir until the mixture reaches the consistency of pancake batter.
3. When you’re there, crack in an egg and stir to incorporate.
4. Add oil to the pan. Take drained cabbage leaves to the batter and coat.
5. Cook in pan, turning over once in a while, until cooked to a golden brown.
And that’s it! That. Is. It. Serve with soy sauce.
What did I tell you??? I’m getting embarrassed now. Then again, the cabbage is subtly sweet and soft but with a bite – a really nice contrast to the crunchy and well-seasoned savory pancake. There is nothing simpler but a bite of this dipped in soy sauce makes my taste buds twerk.
Now the world knows. My work here is done.
Fun Food Fact: In the cabbage family, Chinese cabbage along with bok choy are the highest in calcium.