Fermenting a mother-approved vegan kimchi | Good Food

Kkenip Buchimgae
(깻잎 부침개 • Perilla Leaf and Scallion Pancakes)  
Makes 12-16 Medium Pancakes 

My mother was very worried when I declared to my family that I was going vegetarian. Surprisingly, she was curious if I would get enough protein.If this was a sign that I am on an never-ending quest to be, “skinny”She was onto something. . .), and how I could possibly keep up with my running eating nothing but vegetables. She was also anxious about what she would cook for me, when I arrived.  

She soon discovered how easy it was to make buchimgae or pancakes typically made with seafood, without the shrimp or oysters. For quick batter, add water to the flour mixture and a few vegetables. Omma makes large batches whenever we visit her and keeps some in the fridge for unexpected visits. I do the exact same thing for myself, to satisfy those unannounced cravings around 10:17 p.m.  


2 cups allpurpose flour (see note). 
1⁄2 cup potato starch 
1⁄2 tablespoon garlic powder 
1⁄2 tablespoon onion powder 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
1⁄2 Korean squash or regular zucchini, julienned 
1 carrot, julienned 
4 to 5 perilla leaf, julienned 
11⁄2 cups ice cold water 
12 to 16 small leaves of perilla, whole 
4 to 5 scallions, julienned 
Vegetable oil, to fry 
Spicy Soy Sauce Dressing Recipe for Serving (recipe here) 


Combine the flour, potato starch and onion powder in a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, squash, carrot, garlic powder, onion powder and julienned Perilla leaves. Do not add the entire perilla leaves or scallions.
Add the cold water and stir. You should have a fairly thick and rough batter, but if it’s too thick to work with, add more of ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you arrive at a consistency that’s thicker than regular pancake batter but not as thick as biscuit batter.
Heat enough oil in a nonstick skillet to coat the pan on medium-high heat. Before you add any batter, place a few scallions on the pan along with one whole perilla leaves. Then pour 1 ladle (about 1⁄4 cup) of batter over the top of the scallions and perilla leaf, so that they are completely covered.
Cook for 3 minutes. Flip the pancake over and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Continue making more pancakes.
Serve with the spicy dressing  

*Gluten-free flours work very well with this recipe; however, because of the additional moisture in the batter often caused by gluten-free flours, fry the pancakes at a lower temperature so they have more time to “dry out”Without burning.   

Spicy Soy Sauce Dressing

There is nothing more satisfying than coming home after a long day of work and whipping up a dish that looks and tastes like you’ve been slaving away in your kitchen all afternoon. This incredible dressing is the secret ingredient that makes it all possible. It takes just 15 minutes to prepare and can be kept in the fridge for weeks. This dressing can be used as a dipping sauce to your favorite savory dishes. You can also use it to drizzle over beans, vegetables, or to braise tofu. You’ll have yourself something that looks and tastes fancy, but could not be simpler.  


1 cup soy sauce 
2 tablespoons gochugaru   
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced 
2 scallions, chopped 
1⁄4 cup finely diced red onion 
1 shishito pepper or jalapeño, sliced 
1 Fresno pepper, sliced 
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup, or maple syrup 
1 tablespoon vinegar for rice 
1 tablespoon mirin 
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric  


Mix together the soy sauce (gochugaru), garlic, scallions and red onions, shishito peppers, Fresno bell peppers, brown sugar syrup, rice vinegars, mirin, black peppers, and turmeric in a small bowl.
Keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one month.
Before serving, shake well.  

TikTok sensation Joanne Lee Molinaro, aka the Korean Vegan, modernizes traditional Korean recipes for a plant-based palate, while simultaneously sharing her family’s personal history, in her first book. Photo courtesy Avery.

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