Sunday, 26 August 2012

Korean Seafood spring onion pancake ‘ Buchingae’

Korean pancake is called ‘Buchingae’ or ‘ Gigim-yee’ in Korean. Basically, it is pan-fried savoury pancakes using all different kind of vegetable, seafood and meat in light flour batter. 

When I was a little girl, my mum and my aunties prepared 5~7 different Buchingae for ‘Jesa’ which is a ceremony of the memorial event to the ancestors of the family. To start the event, all family of my grandfather side gathered in my father's house ( he was the first son) and a lot of traditional style Korean food was prepared from the day before. Following the day,  we set a large well presented food table in front of the grandfather’s photo frame and we were dressing up traditional Korean custom, 'Hanbuk’ and we gave big bows to the grandfather's photo. It was a kind of preparing breakfast for my grandfather but after all,  we were remembering him. After the ceremony, we set around the table and shared all the food that we prepared. It ended the ceremony. 

It was hard work for my mum and aunties to prepare such amount of food but it was such nice to thing to do with all family. I never met my grandfather personally but only remember his face in the black and white photo at this ceremony, Jesa every year. This ceremony is nice to remember where we came from. It was very Korean cultural experience as a child.  
Since my father's family moved to the New Zealand and my father’s two brothers stopped the Jesa. Shame.

In that reason, ‘Buchingae’ is quite a meaningful dish to me. It reminded me of my childhood extended family gathering. Even I can remember the smell of cooking Buchingae in my parent’s house. My mum and aunties spent a whole day to cook Buchingae and they were served as cold on the next day. But I like them when it is warm and freshly cooked. So I was usually sticking around my mum, while she was cooking Buchingae, and I ate them.  

I started to cook Buchingae when I‘ve got my own flat 5 years ago to impress Korean culture to my Kiwi visitors in New Zealand.  And I developed my own skill of cooking Buchingae learning from the western approach, presentation and texture. Cut them in reasonable good strip size and prepare the flour batter and other vegetable separately. (Typical Korean Buchingae is mixing them all together). First put the batter in hot frying pan and spread evenly all prepared ingredients on top with my own artistic way. Even eggs should not be mixed in batter. Just spread them on the top with a spoon at the last. The eggs bring yellow colour to it. As a result, all ingredients appear as what they are and very colourful.  It is looks much appetizing and nice bite to eat.

A simple spring onion & red onion pancake is my favourite and great starter. Kimchi pancake is spicy intensive taste but it is great for snacks. Seafood spring onion pancake can be labour intensive because of preparing fresh seafood but it is a perfect light meal with rocket salad. Don’t compromise fresh seafood ingredients.  I clean the fresh squid and peel the fresh prawn by myself. I will guarantee you get all fresh sea taste.

Here is the seafood spring pancake recipe.

Prep time            30 mins
Cook time           30 mins
Serves                  4

Ingredients :

90g fresh squid, gutted and cleaned
3 oysters or mascle, shelled (optional)
5 prawn, peeled and deveined
5 spring onion, sliced into thin strips
½ red onion, sliced
½ red chilli or red capsicum, cut into strips
50g Enoki mushrooms
2 free range eggs
Vegetable oils for fry
Salt & cracked black pepper

For the batter,
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup corn starch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

For dipping sauce,
6 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1. To prepare squid, wash the squid carefully, rinsing off any ink that remains on the body. Holding the body of the squid firmly, pull away the head and tentacles. If the ink sac is still intact, remove it and discard. Pull out all the innards including the long transparent pen. Peel off and discard the thin purple skin on the body. But keep the two small side fins. Slice the head across just under the eyes, severing the tentacles. Discard the rest of the head. Squeeze the tentacles at the head end to push out the round beak in the centre and discard. Rinse the pouch and tentacles well. ( your fishmonger will prepare squid for you. If you want).  Slice squid to ½ cm thick strip size and slice peeled prawn to half. Place in a bowl.

2. Slice spring onion to thin strip as well as red onion, capsicum or chilli. Try to cut them similar shape. Then they will be combined well together. Set aside in a plate.

3. To make batter, place a medium mixing bowl, add flour, corn starch and season with salt and sugar. Pour cold water slowly and mix with whisker until lightly runny and smooth.

4. Crack the eggs in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt. Whisk with a fork lightly.
Make the dipping sauce by combing all the ingredients in a small bowl.

5. Place a frying pan in the medium heat and drop good lump of vegetable oil. Pour the batter in one scoop of ladle into the pan, ensure that it is even thickness across the base. 

6. Place the spring onions, red onion, chilies, red capsicum and mushrooms. Add sea food, distributing the ingredients evenly. Spread lightly whisked eggs by a spoon. Press down with spatula and cook until the underneath of the pancake is brown and set. Turn it over carefully and press down with spatula again.

7. When the top is cooked briefly, take it to the pizza board or timber board to rest for 3 minutes. Slice the pancake into 6 pieces or bite size and serve it with dipping sauce.