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2009-12-24 VIEW: 3752
Green and grassy June, with its sweltering summer days and cloudless clear skies. Around the middle of the month begins the rainy season. In these gray and damp summer days, haemul pajeon, with its buttery scent, is the must-eat delicacy in Korea. Why do Koreans enjoy eating this pan-fried dish during the wet season? There are many answers, but the general explanation has to do with the similar sounds of pan-frying and raindrops falling. When people hear the rain splash down, what comes to mind is the spattering of frying haemul pajeon.
Haemul means seafood in Korean, pa a green onion, and jeon pan-fried food.
Haemul pajeon is made with plenty of green onions and as a dough with clams, oysters, and mussels. The dish is prepared first by cooking the dough, then topping it with a whisked egg and pan-frying it. It thus has the soft flavor of green onion and the savory taste of fresh seafood. It is a Korean-style pizza that can stand up next to a Western one. Since the dish contains carbohydrates from the dough, proteins from the seafood, vitamins from the green onions, and fat from the cooking oil, haemul pajeon is as nutritious as it is tasty.
One region particularly famous for this delicious dish is Dongnae, in the Busan area. Dongnae pajeon was famous enough to be presented to the king during the Joseon Dynasty, but it is said to have started out as a light snack sold by street vendors in the Dongnae markets.
Haemul pajeon is particularly easy to make. First, prepare the various kinds of seafood, rinsing them in salt water and straining to remove moisture. Then trim the green onions and cut them into long sections. Make a rich dough by kneading together flour, non-glutinous rice powder and salt water. During the kneading, add green onions, seafood and eggs in that order. Finally, pan-fry the mixture in cooking oil, and voil your haemul pajeon is ready.
We’re at the entrance of the muggy summer now, with the drizzly wet season fast approaching. Why not try some nutritious and savory haemul pajeon in the rainy evening over a conversation with family and friends? It is sure to deepen that special summer night mood.
Ingredients & Amounts
- * Flesh of mussels(100g), clams(70g) and oysters(70g) 3 cups water(600g), 1/2 teaspoon salt(2g)
- * Seasoning : 1 teaspoon salt(4g), 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper(0.3g)
- * Doing : 1 cup flour(95g), non-glutinous rice powder(30g), 1/4 teaspoon salt(1g), 1 cup water(200g)
- * 1 egg(60g)
- * 1/2 cup cooking oil(85g)
- * Soy sauce/vinegar mixture : 1 tablespoon soy sauce(18g), 1 tablespoon vinegar(15g), 1 tablespoon water (15g), 1 teaspoon pine nut powder(2g)
- * Chuksain : Seed of Amomum xanthoides, another type of ginger plant
How to Prepare
- 1. Clean seafood by shaking lightly in salt water. Strain to remove moisture (190g). Cut seafood to about 1 cm in width and let sit in seasoning for about 10 minutes.
- 2. Clean and trim small green onions. Cut to 10 cm in length (150g). Cut red and green hot peppers diagonally to about 2 cm in length and 0.3 cm in width.
- 3. Mix flour, rice powder, salt and water thoroughly to make dough.
- 4. Break and whisk egg. Prepare vinegar soy sauce.
- 5. Heat frying pan and add cooking oil. Over medium flame, place about 30g of dough on pan in a circle of about 10 cm in diameter and 0.8 cm in thickness.
- 6. Spread small green onions evenly over the dough and add seafood and red and green peppers. Add another 30g of dough and top with whisked egg.
- 7. Leave over medium flame for about 5 minutes until bottom is well cooked. Flip over, cover pan, and leave for another 3 minutes.
- 8. Serve haemul pajeon with vinegar soy sauce.
- For Dongnae pajeon dough, add anchovy broth to non-glutinous rice powder or glutinous rice flour
- Written by Professor Yoon Sook-ja and translated by Kim So Eun
Photographs courtesy of Professor Yoon
Professor Yoon is Chief of the Institute of Traditional Korea Food & Director of the Tteok and Kitchen Utensil Museum