Category Archives: Korean

Super Easy Zucchini Pancakes.

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I got this recipe from a Korean cooking blog called Maangchi.com for zucchini pancakes. The Korean name for this is Hobakjeon (squash pancake). One day I was craving potato latkes and breaded zucchini with Italian breadcrumbs.  And I didn’t have potatoes, or Italian breadcrumbs. So I looked up zucchini pancake and found this recipe. I’ve made it twice a week for weeks now. It’s super easy, as you only need 5 main ingredients: zucchini, flour, water, salt and oil. Maangchi serves this with a dipping sauce made with soy sauce, but I like it best with just a sprinkle of sea salt right after frying. 

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Maangchi also uses a bit of sesame oil at the end of frying, so the sesame permeates the pancake creating a nice aroma and flavor. You can do this if you have sesame oil and want a hint of that Asian taste. I only do this when I’m making the soy dipping sauce. You can check out ingredients and instructions for the sauce on her website. I’ll just keep mine simple for now. 

Zucchini Pancake  – makes 1 pancake

adapted from maangchi.com 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cups julienned zucchini
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • vegetable oil for frying

Directions: 

1) In a bowl, combine julienned zucchini, flour, water and salt. 

2) In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp. oil on medium high heat. Using a spoon, spread zucchini mixture evenly onto the pan. Swish and tilt the pan to ensure the oil is evenly coating the bottom of the pancake and the pancake isn’t sticking to the pan. 

3) After a few minutes peak underneath the pancake to see if it is browning. Using a spatula, flip the pancake to cook the other side (or if you’re a master chef, flip it without the spatula). Be careful with splattering oil. Use the spatula to press down on the pancake every so often. Add a bit more oil if necessary. 

4) When both sides are golden brown and crispy, transfer pancake onto a dish. Sprinkle salt on top and serve. 

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If you’re not a professional vegetable chopper (I think I’m a slow-poke though people tell me I’m pretty fast) this is the fastest way for me to julienne a zucchini: 

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Chop off the ends and discard them. Slice the zucchini into even, thin strips like this. Should take about 2 seconds. 

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Taking a stack at a time, chop those into thin strips. 

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And in about 10-12 seconds you’ll have this giant mess. 

Okay, maybe it’ll take a couple minutes. 

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In a bowl, combine julienned zucchini, flour, water and salt. 

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In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp. oil on medium high heat. Using a spoon, spread zucchini mixture evenly onto the pan. Swish and tilt the pan to ensure the oil is evenly coating the bottom of the pancake and the pancake isn’t sticking to the pan. 

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After a few minutes peak underneath the pancake to see if it is browning. Using a spatula, flip the pancake to cook the other side (or if you’re a master chef, flip it without the spatula). Be careful with splattering oil. It will splatter if you added more oil than you should (in my case, I usually do). So if you’re a klutz, hold two spatulas using oven mitts and wear an apron and face mask. 

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Use the spatula to press down on the pancake every so often. Add a bit more oil if necessary. 

Sometimes I get a little ahead of myself and turn it before its a deep golden brown. It’s ok, just flip it over again and brown until you’re satisfied with it. 

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When both sides are golden brown and crispy, transfer pancake onto a dish. Sprinkle salt on top and serve. 

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I have two pancakes here because I used an entire zucchini, which yielded 3 cups of zucchini rather than the 1 1/2 cup for one pancake. And that way my husband and I get our own because we’re a couple of fatties. Ok I speak for myself…I wanted my own pancake. Because I’m the fatty. 

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If you find that you wanted the pancake more doughy/chewy on the inside, add an extra bit of water. If you wanted it less doughy, reduce the amount of water. Fiddle around with the proportions until you’re happy with it. You’ll be making this a lot this summer as people leave you baskets of squash at your door.

Sweet Korean Chicken Wings.

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I’ve been craving Korean fried chicken wings for roughly 5 years now. So when wings went on sale for $3.47 at my local grocery store, it was a sign that I was meant to make them. KFC has nothing on this KFC (Korean Fried Chicken). The reason these are so delicious and crispy is because unlike the typical buttermilk drenched, thick flour breading, they are dusted with a cornstarch/flour mixture (no liquid) and double-fried. The double frying process ensures that the fat from the skin is rendered out, creating a thin crispy outer shell. Southern style breading is thick, and while it creates a crispy and golden outside, it usually leaves the skin inside flabby and bland. 

The skin on the Korean wings stayed crispy even after being drenched in a homemade sweet ginger soy sauce. The meat was tender and juicy on the inside. And most of you might think double frying seems more greasy than, say, frying only once; in actuality, the second frying session gives the skin a chance to render out even MORE fat, and overall leaves the chicken healthier and LESS greasy (not to mention golden brown). Ironic isn’t it? 

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The sauce is made with a combination of ginger (lots of ginger), brown sugar, honey, vinegar and soy sauce. It is boiled down until thick and syrupy, and mixed with the freshly fried wings while still hot. Most recipes call for a cup of corn syrup (to create that glistening, shiny effect) but I used about 1/3 cup of honey instead. Honey is slightly sweeter than corn syrup, so I used less. The sliced ginger will also sweeten from the brown sugar/honey, and will resemble little pieces of candy in the sauce when done. You won’t even recognize them, and they are surprisingly delicious when eaten. 

If you’re still not convinced, my husband (who usually HATES fried chicken, or any kind of wings) ate about 10 wings in 10 minutes. He absolutely loved these. 

And once you taste them I can guarantee that you’ll love them too. 

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Left: Fried once / Right: Double fried 

Sweet Korean Fried Chicken Wings (Makes 20 wings) 

Ingredients: 

  • 3 lbs. chicken wings (approx. 20 wings)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper

Sweet Ginger Soy Sauce: 

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ginger (sliced thinly)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds (optional)

Directions: 

1) Separate the drumettes from the wings, rinse with cold water and pat dry of excess liquid with paper towels. In a large bowl, combine chicken with a mixture of 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup cornstarch, salt and pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined. 

2) In a deep frying pan, heat enough cooking oil (preferably Canola or Corn oil) to fully immerse (or almost fully immerse) a single layer of wings. Test the temperature by dropping a bit of flour into the oil (or if you have a thermometer, 350 degrees). If it rises up and bubbles then the oil is hot enough. Fry for at least 15 minutes; if wings aren’t fully immersed in oil, flip halfway to ensure both sides are cooked. Turn heat up a notch or down a notch to keep at a steady temperature. Drain wings on paper towels. 

3) In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients for sauce except sesame seeds. Boil until it is reduced to a thick sauce (thick enough to coat a spoon). Set aside. 

4) To double fry: Place the drained wings back into the hot oil. Fry for at least 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. 

5) In a large bowl, combine chicken and sauce. Mix until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle sesame seeds (optional). Serve. 

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Separate the drumettes from the wings. Rinse chicken with cold water and pat dry of excess liquid with paper towels. 

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In a large bowl, combine chicken with a mixture of 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup cornstarch, salt and pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined. 

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In a deep frying pan, heat enough cooking oil (preferably Canola or Corn oil) to fully immerse (or almost fully immerse) a single layer of wings. Test the temperature by dropping a bit of flour into the oil (or if you have a thermometer, 350 degrees). If the flour rises up and bubbles then the oil is hot enough. Fry for at least 15 minutes; if wings aren’t fully immersed in oil, flip halfway to ensure both sides are cooked. Turn heat up a notch or down a notch to keep at a steady temperature. Drain wings on paper towels. 

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Sliced ginger. 

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In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients for sauce except sesame seeds. Boil until it is reduced to a sauce thick enough to coat a spoon. Set aside. 

I forgot to take pictures of the sauce!!!! 

Imagine it being brown, thick and syrupy when done. 

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In between the first and second frying sessions, use a mesh strainer or slotted spoon to catch all the floury debris floating in the oil. This way you won’t get any burnt little nubs of flour stuck onto the chicken. 

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To double fry: Place the drained wings back into the hot oil. Fry for at least 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. 

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These look good enough to eat already. And they are. But the sauce will make them taste even better. 

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In a large bowl, combine chicken and sauce. Mix until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle sesame seeds (optional). Serve. 

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Enjoy!

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