How to make Jeon (전)

We may know Jeon as the Korean "pizza" or "pancake." We may have tried them in makgeolli restaurants or after hiking mountains.  Cheap, healthy and delicious, they're traditionally served with seafood or spring onions, yet Jeon has unlimited potential for customization.

Now it's time to harness the magic of Jeon.  It's time to transform our cold, boring veggies into crispy delights.  Conjure quick, tasty meals at home with these easy steps.

Stage I : At the Syu-puh Mah-ket
Jeon batter is our keystone ingredient.  Look for sacks of Buchim Galu (부침가루) in the sack section of your nearest grocer.  Choose between 1kg or 500g, between the expensive organics or the dirt cheap.  We prefer ones labeled Basakham (바삭함), meaning crispy.

Vegetables of your choice.   Traditions vary from region to region, or even family to family, but tofu (두부) and mushroom (버섯) seem to be popular, and of course spring onions (파) are the classic, inexpensive ingredient.  Garlic chives (부추) are even less expensive, and allegedly replace the spring onions at some penny-pinching restaurants.

Choose any veggies that can present an edible structure after a 3-minute stint on the frying pan.  Tough ones like carrot or potato may remain too stiff, while softies like eggplant may become too mushy, or absorb too much cooking oil.  Of course there are ways to accommodate almost any ingredient, depending on your slicing size and cooking duration.  And an apprentice dabbling in the ways of meat, cheese, herbs, spices..... you may unlock phenomenal cosmic power.

Zucchini (돼지호박) and shitake mushrooms (표고버섯) are an easy, healthy choice. 

Cooking Oil.  Canola oil is cheap and seems to be the proper viscosity.

Eggs and salt (optional).  Eggs increase fluffiness and decrease crispiness.  Salt increases salinity and clogs arteries.

Soy sauce and pepper powder.  For your standard dipping sauce, find 진간장 and 고춧가루, respectively.

Stage II : In the Chicken... err Kitchen
Assemble your weapons: a knife and cutting-board, a bowl for mixing, a frying pan, cooking oil, the Jeon batter and your ingredients of choice.  We chose these for the sake of a colorful display.

[Butter doesn't belong in this picture! (It makes soggy Jeon)  It has been banished along with my set designer.]

Cut your veggies thin.  Depending on your intended Jeon form, either chop them into bits for a combo pancake, or slice them into flat sections for individual veggies.

Form I : The Pancake.  First, summon the chopped veggies to your mixing bowl.  Then add batter, then water, then an optional egg or salt.  Then mix thoroughly.  As for proportions, the batter should be creamy, not watery.   Add what Master Chef Seanie Lee calls a certain "I don't know how much."

Pour the concoction into an oiled frying pan.  Roll up your wizard's sleeves and beware the spitting oil.  Flip when halfway cooked through, only about a minute or two on upper-medium heat.

Form II : Individual Veggies.  Mix the batter first, then dip veggie slices one by one. Drop them directly into the pan while still coated in a thick layer of batter.  Flip once when cooked halfway through.

Prepare the dipping sauce.  Mix soy sauce and pepper powder at a 2:1 squirt-to-pinch ratio.

Stage III : The Reckoning...
....and maybe The Recooking.  Achieving your desired taste and texture may take some practice, and adjustments to the water/batter ratio, cooking times, ingredients, etc.

Hopefully someday you'll be enjoying delicious Jeon and a frosty cup of Makgeolli.  Gunbae!

Master Lee's Bonus round.  This specimen was imbued with curry powder for more flavor and an egg for more fluff.

What would make the best ingredients?  Comment below, witch!  

1 comment:

  1. after reading the post of course I can make Jeon. it's very tasty . yummy