I must confess that I have a weakness for Korean BBQ… I don’t always cook at home. When we decide to go out, Korean BBQ is on the top of our list. I am amused by all the fresh ingredients that are cooked before your eyes. The orchestrated arrangement of little dishes with fermented vegetables, salty sweet, sour, spicy crunchy, juicy, is a circus of textures, temperatures, flavors and aromas. All my senses are awake.
One of my favorite side dishes would be the the Pajeon or Korean pancake. A savory light pancake, made with eggs, rice flour, flour, scallions-green onions. All sorts of variations can be made, including beef, pork, sea food, shell fish, kimchi…Oh! the kimchi.. My favorite.
With this Korean pancake in mind and a little help of the current abundant green leafy season, I thought about making a lighter all veggie version using one of my favorite seasonal greens…“Rainbow Chard” this colorful happy leafy green, is a close relative of the beet family, delivers 3 major vitamins A, K and C. Loaded with phytochemicals rainbow chard is one of the healthiest, most beautiful, and tasty vegetables I know. Flavorwise, I would describe it as a cross between baby spinach with a bit of sweet beet background. Texturewise, the leaves are way softer than kale which makes it a bit more pleasant to eat raw or quick sautéed. Rainbow chard has it all, flavor, texture, and color.
Inspired by all these great leafy green qualities, I was almost in a rush to attempt to make an all veggie Rainbow Chard Korean Pancake. The result was fantastic, the rainbow chard’s sweetness and texture are a good match for this light savory pancake. The charred scallions, green garlic and the spicy jalapeño kick in combination with the rice vinegar dipping sauce for the perfect savory pancake match.
Once again I proved to myself that cooking with fresh ingredients is not only a great nutrition and a healthy value. It inspires me and it’s a feast for the eyes!. That for me makes it even more appetizing…Enjoy!
Rainbow Chard Korean Pancake
Makes 2- 9” round savory pancakes
½ cup unbleached-all purpose flour or gluten free flour like all-purpose King Arthur like this
½ cup stone ground rice flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 egg or 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons of water= 1 egg
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil, canola oil, or any neutral oil. And a little extra oil to pan fry the pancakes.
1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
pinch of salt
pinch of white pepper
¾ -1 cup water
6-8 rainbow chard leaves
1 garlic clove or 3 green garlic shoots
1-2 red or green jalapeno or red thai chili
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
extra oil for pan fry the pancakes
Rice vinegar dipping sauce:
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon agave nectar
a pinch of red dry chili flakes or a teaspoon of sambal sauce
1. In a medium size bowl, mix the flours, egg, vegetable oil, sesame oil salt, pepper and water, whisk well until a smooth batter that resembles a loose pancake batter. Set a side to rest.
2. Chop all your vegetables, scallions and jalapenos on a bias. Make a roulade of rainbow chard leaves and chop them into a chiffonade, chop rainbow chard stalks into matchstick size.
3. On a cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat drizzle some oil, and arrange a layer or vegetables, starting with the jalapenos, rainbow chard matchsticks, scallions, green garlic and rainbow chard chiffonade. Sprinkle some sesame seeds and promptly ladle half of the batter , spreading it out evenly into a circle.
4. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the bottom is golden brown, a few areas will have a bit of char which is perfectly fine. Cook for about 5 minutes per side.
5. The “flipping matter”… you can use Julia’s Child encouraging words “flip it with conviction!!!”, or you can use a plate to flip the pancake upside down and then return it to the pan, to finish cooking…both methods work great!
6. Once both sides are cooked, transfer to a warm plate and repeat the process with the remaining ingredients.
7. In a large platter, cut into triangles and serve warm with the rice vinegar dipping sauce.
Variations: You can add shrimp, small tofu squares, carrots, squash, kimchi!!!
Hey! the pancake is you canvas, have fun and enjoy!