"When I first discovered kimchi. I nearly ate a whole jar in a single salty, spicy and sour sitting. A fully formed addict, I went in search of recipes, and became acquainted with the kimchi jeon at Oshibi, a Korean restaurant in York. A jeon is a Korean pancake that forgivingly absorbs tofu and most vegetables you might throw at it, but still (quite considerately) becomes crisp, given enough time in the pan. The dipping sauce doubles up as the salad dressing in this recipe, making the salad perfect to throw on top of the pancakes." – Meera Sodha
Meera Sodha’s kimchi pancakes with spinach salad
This recipe from Meera Sodha's cookbook, 'East' is an excellent way to utilise everyone's favourite fermented cabbage side dish
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes
- 250g kimchi
- 80g rice flour
- 80g plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 200g firm tofu, drained and cut into thin slivers
- 80g bean sprouts
- 5 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
- 120g baby spinach leaves rapeseed oil
For the dipping sauce
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1½ tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds, plus extra to garnish
- Tip the kimchi into a sieve over a measuring jug, and press down to extract as much juice as possible. Measure the juice and, if need be, top it up to 200ml with tap water. Roughly chop the drained kimchi.
- In a large bowl, use a fork to whisk the flours and salt, then stir in the kimchi juice. Add the kimchi, tofu, bean sprouts and most of the spring onions – save a small handful of the onions for the sauce – and stir again. The batter should be wet but scoopable. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, chilli flakes, the reserved spring onions and the sesame seeds. Shred the spinach and put into a salad bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of dipping sauce and toss to coat.
- To cook the pancakes, heat ½ tablespoon of oil in a medium frying pan (ideally non-stick) on a medium flame and swirl it around to coat the base of the pan. Pour in a quarter of the batter and spread it out with the back of a spoon until it's 15cm in diameter. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the bottom is crisp and golden, then flip and cook on the other side until that, too, is crisp and golden. Transfer to a warm place, cover with foil, and repeat with the remaining batter, adding a little extra oil to the pan for each pancake, if need be.
- Serve warm with a big handful of spinach salad scattered on top and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Serve the sauce in little bowls on the side.
Recipe from Meera Sodha's 'East'; photography by David Loftus. Published by Penguin .