Korean Seafood Pancake with Dipping Sauce


Haemul Pajeon is a popular Korean dish, also known as seafood pancake. It's a savory pancake made with a batter of eggs, wheat flour, rice flour, and water, filled with a variety of seafood such as shrimp, squid, and clams, along with green onions (pa) and sometimes other vegetables. The batter is mixed together and then pan-fried until crispy and golden brown on the outside, while the inside remains tender and flavorful.

Key Components of Haemul Pajeon:

  • Seafood: A mix of shrimp, squid, clams, or other seafood is used, providing a fresh and briny flavor.
  • Green Onions: The "pa" in pajeon stands for green onions, which are a crucial ingredient, giving the pancake its distinctive taste.
  • Batter: Made from a combination of wheat flour, rice flour, water, and eggs, creating a light and crispy texture.

About Haemul Pajeon

Haemul Pajeon, or seafood pancake, is a beloved dish in Korean cuisine, celebrated for its savory and crispy texture combined with the fresh and briny flavors of the sea. Originating from the coastal regions of Korea, this dish has become a staple across the country, enjoyed as a main course, appetizer, or snack.

The foundation of Haemul Pajeon lies in its simple yet flavorful ingredients. A mixture of wheat flour and rice flour creates a batter that, when combined with water and eggs, forms the perfect base for a pancake that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The inclusion of various seafood such as shrimp, squid, and clams provides a burst of oceanic flavors, while green onions add a mild, aromatic sharpness that complements the seafood perfectly.


Culinary enthusiasts appreciate Haemul Pajeon not only for its taste but also for its versatility. It can be made with any combination of seafood available, making it a flexible recipe that can be adapted to local ingredients. The preparation process is straightforward, involving mixing the batter, incorporating the seafood and green onions, and then pan-frying the mixture until it achieves a golden, crispy exterior.

In Korean culture, Haemul Pajeon is more than just a dish; it is often associated with comfort and conviviality. It is particularly popular during rainy days, where it is commonly paired with a glass of makgeolli, a traditional Korean rice wine. The sound of sizzling batter on the griddle is said to mimic the sound of rain, making it a perfect companion for gloomy weather.

Overall, Haemul Pajeon is a delightful representation of Korean cuisine’s ability to transform simple, everyday ingredients into something extraordinary. Its combination of textures and flavors makes it a perennial favorite, offering a taste of the sea wrapped in a crispy, savory package.


Ingredients

For the Batter:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch or rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Seafood and Vegetables:
  • 1/2 cup shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup squid, cleaned and cut into rings
  • 1/4 cup clams, cleaned and chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, cut into 2-3 inch lengths
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper (red or green), thinly sliced
  • 1 small carrot, julienned (optional)
For Frying:
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or other neutral oil)
For the Dipping Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. Prepare the Seafood and Vegetables: Start by cleaning and cutting the shrimp, squid, and clams (if using) into bite-sized pieces. Next, cut the green onions into 2-3 inch lengths and thinly slice the bell pepper. If you are using a carrot, julienne it into thin strips.
  2. Make the Batter: In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup of potato starch. Add 1/2 cup of cold water, 1 lightly beaten egg, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the flour mixture. Mix until you have a smooth, slightly thick batter.
  3. Combine Ingredients: Add the prepared seafood (shrimp, squid, and clams), green onions, bell pepper slices, and carrot (if using) into the batter. Stir until all the ingredients are well-coated with the batter.
  4. Heat the Oil: Heat 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is hot but not smoking.
  5. Cook the Pancake: Pour half of the batter mixture into the skillet, spreading it out evenly with a spatula to form a large, thin pancake. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown and crispy. Carefully flip the pancake using a large spatula, and cook for another 4-5 minutes on the other side until it is also golden brown and crispy. Remove the cooked pancake from the skillet and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Repeat the process with the remaining batter to make a second pancake.
  6. Prepare the Dipping Sauce: In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional), and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds (optional). Mix well until the sugar is dissolved.
  7. Serve: Cut the Haemul Pajeon into wedges and serve hot with the dipping sauce on the side.

Enjoy your delicious Haemul Pajeon, a perfect blend of crispy textures and savory seafood flavors!
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