Even though I am a professional chef, I like to think that I am not picky about food. I am open to every cuisine and like to try everything once, no matter how displeasing the smell (stinky tofu anyone?), or unusual the appearance. Once in a while, I get random cravings like the time I wanted specifically potato in my meal or fresh bell peppers. This time, my craving was leaning towards the Korean seafood scallion pancake. This is a side dish that I haven’t had in at least 2 years, one that I never was too crazy about, and one that I had never craved before. For some reason, I found myself searching for a restaurant that prepared these crispy pancakes. I successfully found a Korean restaurant in Koreatown, Los Angeles, and had the best seafood scallion pancake I have ever tasted. Sometimes having these crazy cravings can be a good thing! The pancake was so delicious, I was determined to replicate it in my own kitchen. Serve it with a dipping sauce and these are just heavenly!
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp rice wine
- 1 cup mixed seafood (shrimp, oyster, mussels, calamari)
- 10 scallions, cut into 2 inch sticks
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Thai chili, finely chopped
- 1/2 scallion, chopped
- Combine dipping sauce and set aside.
- Combine 2 cups water with 2 tbsp rice wine in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Blanch the seafood until cooked, about 30 seconds. Drain well.
- Mix together all-purpose flour - salt and pepper. Slowly add the 1 1/2 cups water and whisk until the batter comes together. The batter should have a thin consistency, thinner like regular American pancake batter. Mix in the blanched seafood and cut scallions.
- Heat a non-stick pan or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. When the pan starts to smoke, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Ladle 1/4 of the batter onto the pan, spreading the batter to make one even layer. Cook until the bottom is crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until crisp and golden brown. Remove and keep warm while preparing the remaining pancakes.
- Serve hot with dipping sauce.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
The secret to the perfect seafood scallion pancake is making is crispy. How can this be achieved? Through a combination of the right consistency batter, a hot pan, and plenty of oil.
Unlike American breakfast pancakes, you want the batter to have a thin consistency, almost watery-like. Don’t worry about the pancakes losing shape while cooking; the baking powder and flour will act to form the pancakes.
You can choose to add shrimp, mussels, oysters and calamari to the pancake or just two of the four or maybe just shrimp – the choice is up to you!
Make sure to use a non-stick or cast iron pan when cooking these pancakes. The cast-iron will help develop a nice crust on the bottom while the non-stick will help make it easier to flip the pancakes. Wait until the pan is almost smoking before you add a generous coating of oil. Ladle in the batter and let the pancake crisp up and turn golden brown before flipping. You should be able to see tiny bubbles forming on the surface. Flip and cook until golden.
To ensure that every pancake is golden brown, add enough oil before cooking the next batch.
Traditionally, these seafood scallion pancakes are enjoyed with a cold glass of rice beer called Makgeolli. Rice beer or not, the pancakes are delicious as a side dish to any of your Korean meals. Heck, I can eat this as the main meal! Make a large batch and freeze half for next time – if they even last that long!