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Jeon (pronounced “jay-aan”) are savory pancakes or fritters enjoyed regularly in South Korea. There are many different varieties, some with only one major filling, while others have a plethora of vegetables, pickles, and proteins. They can be made with meat, seafood, fish, or vegetables and are most often served as an appetizer or banchan (side plate) next to the main course. I decided to make a full dinner out of them, serving them with kimchi (spicy Korean fermented cabbage) and a spicy dipping sauce. I used fillets from a largemouth bass I had caught, as well as some of the summer bounty my garden was offering at the time. Feel free to use any fish or vegetables to make these, there are no hard rules!
I call for a lot of oil in this recipe, but it works to fry the jeon nice and crispy. Using less oil may result in soggy or inferior pancakes.
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Bass and Veggie Jeon (Korean Savory Pancakes)Course: Wild Recipes
- For the Pancakes
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup corn starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1 cup ice cold water
2 boneless bass fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 cups vegetables, cut into thin batons or bite-sized pieces (I used beet greens, Swiss chard, nasturtium flowers and leaves, borage flowers, garlic chives, spring onions, green beans, peas, snap peas, zucchini blossoms, yellow zucchini, and carrot, but feel free to add whatever you have on hand in your garden or your fridge)
½ cup vegetable oil
- For the Dipping Sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon white sugar or honey
1 tablespoon rice vinegar or white vinegar
1 tablespoon Korean chili flakes (gochugaru) or 1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE: Mix all of the dipping sauce ingredients together in a bowl and beat with a fork until combined. If you tend to like lots of sauce, you can easily double the recipe.
- FOR THE PANCAKES: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and crack in the egg. Briefly beat it with a fork. Add the cold water and mix everything together until just incorporated into a batter. Try not to overmix.
- Add in the fish and veggies and gently stir them into the batter.
- Add the oil to a non-stick frying pan and bring to medium-high heat.
- Ladle about a third of the fish and veggie batter into the pan, trying to keep it vaguely pancake-shaped.
- Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown when you peek underneath.
- Using two spatulas, carefully flip the pancake over. This is probably the hardest part of the recipe. If it breaks apart, just tell everyone it’s supposed to be like that!
- Cook for another 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown, then gently move it to a rack set over paper towels to drain.
- Repeat with the next two thirds of the batter, one third at a time.
- Once finished, cut each pancake into quarters and serve each diner 3 pieces along with some dipping sauce. Enjoy!