Having eaten cake and brownies all day at work, I came back home with a late-night craving for something savory. I finished off a container of hummus with some leftover bagged salad (hey, it worked fine!) but that just didn’t do it for me. I looked back in the fridge and saw my enormous jar of perfectly fermented kimchee. Light bulb: Time to make kimchee pancakes!
Now, the reason why this was such a good idea is because my kimchee happened to be perfectly ripe, and by that I mean it was at least three months-old. Don’t be alarmed kimchee novices. The older the kimchee is, the better. Unless you really let it go and it becomes faintly alcoholic.
It’s really so easy to make. This recipe is somewhat impromptu, because I sort of went by how I remember the way my mom makes it, but if you feel more comfortable with a specific recipe, check out this one from Maangchi.com.
All you really need to do is combine two parts flour and one part water, or around there until the mixture has the consistency of — you got it — pancake batter. Then roughly chop your very fermented kimchee and add to the batter. Be sure to include a little bit of kimchee juice — that’s the bright red liquid you see here.
Aged kimchee produces the most amazing liquid. It’s what makes kimchee jjigae, a robust Korean kimchee stew, so very delicious. It will also act as a flavoring agent for your batter. My mom doesn’t add kimchee juice to her pancakes, but I like to.
I fried one pancake with canola oil and wasn’t quite satisfied with the level of crisp on the pancake’s edges. So I then opted for olive oil the second time around, and surprisingly enough, it produced an even better and lighter oil-infused crispness. Imagine that! One of my rules in cooking is, there aren’t really any rules. If you want to use olive oil in cooking Korean food…go for it!
These go great with beer but I’m just finding that it accompanies well with a glass of Viognier. Enjoy!