The Astronomer and I were gifted a 20 inch-long, five pound zucchini from our friends Andrew and Miri a few weeks back. They had forgotten to pluck it from their garden prior to leaving on vacation, and as a result, the zucchini grew without bounds for weeks on end. I had initially hoped to bake several loaves of zucchini bread with the monstrosity, but my plans were squashed (pun intended) once the heat wave hit.
After a bit of Seoul searching, I decided to make Hobak Jeon (Korean Zucchini Pancakes) instead. This recipe was originally developed by Maangchi.com, the ultimate Korean recipe site. I followed it as written and the results were just as I had hoped. The texture was properly crisp around the edges, while the batter was mild enough for the zucchini to shine through. Maangchi recommends serving these with a soy-based Korean dipping sauce (recipe below), but I quite loved them with a ladle of nước chấm chay. Either way, these pancakes are a savory delight.
- 1½ cups zucchini, julienned (approximately 1 small zucchini)
- ½ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup water
- Sesame oil
- Vegetable oil
This is the giant zucchini that Andrew and Miri’s garden produced. The soil in Eagle Rock must be fortified with steroids.
Begin by julienning a small zucchini.
Next, place the zucchini strips into a bowl and add in the flour, salt, and water. Combine well with a spoon. [I used a Szechuan peppercorn-infused salt, hence the dark brown flakes.]
Pour 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil onto a heated, non-stick pan. Spread 1/4 cup of batter evenly and thinly onto the pan. When the bottom of the pancake starts to set (approximately 1 to 2 minutes), add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil into the pan, along the edge of the pancake. Tilt and shake the pan so that the sesame oil spreads underneath the pancake.
Cook for another minute until the bottom turns light golden brown and crispy, then turn over the pancake with a spatula. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer the pancake to a paper towel-line plate. Serve hot with nước chấm chay or Korean dipping sauce (combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 tablespoon chopped onion, 1 clove of minced garlic, and 1 sliced green chili pepper).
Makes 1 large pancake or 3 medium-size pancakes. This recipe easily doubles or triples, just in case you have a five-pounder to work with.