Around the World in 80 Plates, Recipes

Around the World in 80 Plates: Spring in South Korea

Spring is getting closer every day! Captain Create has traveled to New Jersey to learn about a childhood favorite food of Korean Chef Judy Joo: the scallion pancake known as pajeon.

When people think of spring, they usually thing of spring rain, which brings all the green things back to life after a cold winter. This is also what Chef Judy Joo thinks of when she thinks of spring, but she has one other spring tradition from her childhood to share with us today.

Chef Judy says,”When I was little, I always looked forward to the rain. Rainy days meant one thing to me: pajeon, a crispy Korean scallion pancake, often loaded with meat or seafood.”

Pajeon (pa-jee-on) are made all over Korea. Pa means scallion, and jeon refers to anything flat, coated in some kind of batter, and pan-fried. Korean pancakes aren’t the same as sweet American-style pancakes. Korean pancakes are chewy, with crisp edges, and lots of “stuff” mixed in.

In Korea, pajeon is commonly made with wild green onions, but any green onions you have on hand will work just fine. Traditional pajeon has just enough batter in it to hold the ingredients together, so that the bright green onions can shine through.

You can add in anything else that sounds tasty, from leftover pork or chicken, to sliced veggies like bell peppers, asparagus, tomatoes, kale, and even carrots. The only rule is that the pancake also has scallions.

Aren’t scallions and green onions the same thing? Yes they are! The two names are just how shops choose to label them for sale; they are the same plant! Chives are related, but are a different plant.

You don’t need to wait for a rainy day to enjoy this classic Korean meal though! You can make it today if you’d like. You can serve it any way you’d like too; Some families cut them up and serve them as an appetizer to a bigger meal, and others make mini pajeon to make eating them easier. You can also serve it pizza style, with extra veggies on top if that makes you happy! Try it out and see what you like the most. Enjoy!

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