When your mom already cooks the best Korean food you could ask for, and every day at that, you quickly learn to leave that stuff up to her. The results of this: I can make crêpes, chocolate soufflés, and an array of pastas, but I only learned to make rice a few months ago. Shameful? A little bit, yes. But this utter lack of knowledge in Korean cooking is what makes living off-campus so exciting. What foods I used to regard as mysterious, something that just magically appeared on my dinner table without me asking, are slowly starting to become part of my everyday meals.
For starters, I bring you pajeon, a Korean scallion pancake, made with flour, water, soybean paste and scallions, that you serve with a soy sauce-based dipping sauce. When I’m low on time, I whip this up in a quick 15 minutes for the perfect single-person weeknight meal. The recipe is open to other additions like red chili peppers and vegetables but I like to keep it simple.
Pajeon (Korean Scallion Pancakes)
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soybean paste (dwenjang in Korean)
2 large scallions, sliced into thin strips
1. Mix together the flour, water, sugar and soybean paste.
2. Heat up a pan with a little oil. Fry the scallions until they’re cooked through and soft, maybe even a little crispy around the edges.
3. Pour the batter evenly on top and spread it around a little. Cook until the bottom is crispy, then flip and cook the other side.
4. Serve with a sauce made with 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon white vinegar (or I used apple cider vinegar), a teeny pinch of sugar, chopped scallions, chopped red chili peppers and a big pinch of roasted sesame seeds. If you don’t have these ingredients, a simple soy sauce and vinegar mix is fine too.