Also known in Korea as "Rainy Day Pancake", Pa Jeon is definitely one of my most favourite Korean comfort foods. Freshly made and hot out of the frying pan, this savoury pancake is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and extremely satisfying when dipped in a mixture of soy sauce and plain white vinegar. When eaten cold as leftovers, you don't need to dip it in anything since the onion and red pepper flavours have had a chance to strengthen overnight in the fridge (the same goes for mandhu! I love mandhu when it's cold!).
Often, Pa Jeon is served as a side dish, or banchan. We all know how much Koreans love side dishes. If you teach (or have taught) in Korea you may recognize this pancake as one of the sides you have for lunch occasionally at school. They're yummy, but definitely not as yummy as the Pa Jeon you'll find at a street vendor or as a side at a Korean restaurant and most certainly not as yummy as the Pa Jeon you can make yourself at home.
The best thing about making this dish is that the ingredients are universal and you'll be able to make it from anywhere in the world. All you need are some onions, eggs, flour, and water. Seriously. So enough of my banter; let's get cooking:
Janine's Pa Jeon
You will need:
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups of water
- one bunch of green onion, chopped in one inch pieces
- one regular onion, coarsely chopped
- two red chili peppers, sliced (seeds in or out; your choice)
- lots and lots of salt and pepper
- one squid, cleaned and chopped into bite size pieces (optional, of course. Squid isn't for everyone.)
Mix the water, flour and eggs until the batter resembles that of a crepe batter. Season the batter very liberally with salt and pepper because there is a real possibility of your pa jeon being way too bland. There, I said it. So don't be afraid of the salt. Add about half of the pa, or green onion and all of the regular onion. At this point, if you are using squid, you can also add the squid.
Heat a pan over medium heat and add about 1 Tbsp. of canola oil. Spread evenly around the pan, and then add enough batter to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Let cook on this side for about 5 to 7 minutes. In the meantime, sprinkle some of the chili pepper and some more green onion on the top of the pancake. Check the bottom to make sure it's adequately brown, and then flip using a spatula (this is a very simple process- the batter crisps almost immediately and the whole thing is very together, if you know what I mean). Cook the other side for about 5-7 minutes and slide onto a plate. You're done! Time to make a few more!
This recipe should yield about three large pa jeon. To make the dipping sauce, simply add about 1 Tbsp. of vinegar to about 1/4 of a cup of Soy Sauce. Sprinkle some cayenne on top if you're feeling a bit wild.