I'm a huge fan of Korean scallion pancakes—those crispy sheets of egg and flour batter mixed with sautéed scallions. But they are usually just one component of a large feast, and since I don't often have time during the week to bust out some serious banchan, I often neglect this dish.
The obvious way to solve this problem is to dump all kinds of other things into the batter—shrimp, bacon, and kimchi, for instance—but while the flavor may be there, the pancake often looses its crunch thanks to the extras. Plus, then I'm in seafood pancake area, and that prevents the pancake from getting the love it deserves.
But what if the filling and pancake could be cooked separately, and then combined at the end for a simple meal? Nothing sounded as promising as that triumvirate of sweet shrimp, salty bacon, and spicy kimchi. Just about anything would taste good with those three involved.
Scallion pancakes are most often cooked in large skillets, and then sliced into wedges to eat. But I decided to try out individual-sized portions using an 8 1/2-inch non-stick skillet. Some scallions are sautéed briefly in some oil, and then a quarter cup of the egg and flour is poured in. Left to cook for about two minutes until lightly browned on the bottom, it's then easy to flip with a spatula. Another two minutes, and you have a crispy little pancake to function as a base for the shrimp filling. A handful of lettuce adds some green, and a quick sauce helps tie everything together.
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon rice flour
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- Pinch of red chili flakes (preferably Korean)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, sliced in half lengthwise, and cut in half crosswise
- 1 cup kimchi, drained and chopped
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 scallions, sliced
- 2 cups mixed leaf lettuce, torn into 2-inch pieces
Whisk together egg and water until homogenous. Add flour and rice flour and whisk until no lumps remain.
In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili flakes, and sugar.
Add the bacon to a 12-inch nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the bacon pieces are crisp. Add the shrimp pieces, stir well, and cook until the shrimp turn pink, about 1 minute. Add the chopped kimchi, stir well, and cook until the kimchi is hot and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute longer. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200°F. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a small non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add 1/4 of the scallions, and cook until soft, about 30 seconds. Pour in 1/4 cup of the egg batter and tilt the pan so the entire bottom is covered. Cook until the bottom is lightly browned, about two minutes. Flip the small pancake with a spatula, and cook on the other side until lightly browned, another two minutes. When done, slide the pancake onto a plate, and transfer plate to the warm oven. Repeat process until three more are completed.
Carefully remove the plates from the oven. Top each with a handful of the lettuce and a quarter of the kimchi and shrimp mixture. Serve with the sauce on the side.