What’s your sign?
Don’t worry I’m not hitting on you (and, for the record, were I to try, my pick up line would be better than that)! I ask because I find signs to be revealing of people’s personalities. My ex who double crossed me? He was a vengeful and reckless sort of Capricorn. My solid-as-a-rock mother? She’s a balance-the-scales Libra. And me? I’m an Aries through and through — passionate, fiery, determined, and (ahem) stubborn from time to time.
My passion and determination are pluses because they drive me to go after my dreams, but, more often than I’d like to admit, the stubbornness rears its ugly head. Like a few years ago when I first started spending time in my man’s hometown of Honolulu. We were at a happy hour, beer and music-making shindig and I was served a Korean snack that the folks here called meat jun.
Now, I have had many a scallion pancake – aka pajeon– but never had heard of meat jun. I declared the spelling incorrect and (stubbornly) insisted that anything with jeon (prounounced like fun with a j) in the title was a pancake and not the battered and fried strips of meat I had been served. To prove my point, I even texted my Korean-American friends and searched my favorite Korean cookbooks and LA-based restaurants’s menus all to find not one mention of meat jun. Aha!, I proclaimed. I found yet another dish that my Hawaiian friends claimed was authentic when it was really fusion.
That was all fine and dandy until last month I was at my friend’s Korean wedding and her mother said, “Here, try the jeon!” I looked down to see yukjeon — a more authentic, meat take on jeon. Not quite what I had in Hawaii but close enough to land me an I-told-you-so look from my S.O. I screamed a silent, “argh!” but had to admit it was delicious. As was the veggie jeon, the fish jeon, and the array of other Korean foods on display.
But a good couple makes comprimises, no? So, in that vein we came up with our own jeon. It combines our favorite jeons – kimchi, meat, and scallion – with no intention of being traditional. But you know what? It’s so much better than I ever imagined. Even my loyal Cancer man agreed with this Aries and, we’ve be serving it at a few happy hours out island way were our local friends have coined it with the pidgin name of “Our Kine Jeon.”
Our Kine Meat Jeon Recipe
- Makes: 3 large pancakes (about 18 wedges)
- Total Time: 3 hrs 20 mins
- Hands-On Time: 45 mins
- For the marinade:
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1-inch piece of ginger, cut into 3 coins
3 garlic cloves, smashed
- For the jeon:
8 ounces boneless pork chop or other lean pork, frozen 15 minutes before slicing
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups water, plus more if too thick
1 cup kimchi, roughly chopped
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large eggs, well beaten
Canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil, for frying
- For the dipping sauce:
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon Korean chile powder
2 scallions, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Combine all marinade ingredients in a large shallow nonreactive bowl or dish and stir until well combined.
Remove meat from the freezer, trim off any excess fat, and trim, across the grain, into paper thin slices. Add meat to marinade and marinate covered in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
When meat is ready, whisk flours and baking soda together in a large bowl. Add eggs and water to flour and mix until well combined and batter resembles pancake batter (a few lumps may remain).
Remove meat from marinade and roughly chop into 1-inch pieces then to batter along with kimchi and onions and stir to coat thoroughly.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil to a large nonstick frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Make sure the oil is hot before you start cooking and note that the more oil you use the crispier the pancake will get on the edges. Spoon one-third (1bout 1 1/2 cups) of the batter (making sure to get the meat and other goodies) into the pan and cook until underside is golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Using a large spatula, carefully flip the pancake on the plate and cook until underside is golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes more.
Slide pancake onto a cutting board, slice into 6 pieces and serve with dipping sauce. Repeat with remaining oil and batter to make two more pancakes.