When I thought about moving to Korea, I imagined that I would become an expert on cooking Korean food. I knew I’d have a kitchen and full access to all the ingredients I might need to make just about any Korean dish I wanted.
I didn’t really think about the fact that I might not feel like making Korean food every day, or that what I’d end up craving about 80% of the time would be comfort foods from home (including things I never really even ate when I was still in America). But instead of making my own kimchi or perfecting bulgogi, I have been sticking to pretty basic non-Korean food.
I saw jijimi (also called buchimgae, according to my students) listed on a few menus (mostly drinking places, because apparently it’s usually a bar snack), and thought it sounded like something that was worth a try. I did a little web research, and ended up making this, which seems to be a cross between Japanese okonomiyaki and jijimi. There are numerous possibilities for adapting this recipe to include different vegetables and toppings, and I fully intend to experiment with it some more. I think it’s pretty tasty dipped in soy sauce mixed with vinegar or topped with kimchi, and of course, a nice cold beer would be a welcome accompaniment.
1 cup flour
1 cup water
a generous pinch salt
2 c thinly sliced cabbage
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp vegetable oil
soy sauce and rice vinegar
Whisk together the water and egg, and gently stir in the flour and salt. Fold in the vegetables and sesame seeds. It won’t look like typical pancake batter, it will probably look more like coleslaw.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high. Swirl the pan so the oil is evenly distributed. Pour the cabbage mixture into the pan and spread to the edges so it is evenly thick.
Cook 3 to 4 minutes each side, or until golden brown. If the bottom begins to burn but the top is still very runny, turn the heat down.
Flipping can be a bit of a challenge. If you need to, slide the pancake, cooked side down, onto a plate, and then invert back into the pan to finish cooking. When cooked through and golden on both sides, cut into quarters to serve.
Mix the soy sauce and rice vinegar in a one-to-one ratio for dipping, or top with kimchi.