if you’re ever lacking in motivation to do anything, look no further than to your own mother’s criticism of what she thinks of your blog.
i got off the phone with kathy the other day and before we hung up, she said in the most caring way possible, “너 인스타그램에 왜 엉망 한거만 있니?” - which translates closely to “why does your instagram have all this random junk?”. . . . ………
so this recipe is dedicated to you, kathy! and your love of crispy flat fried things, especially bindaeduk and jun. i grew up eating these savory crispy bu chim gae (korean pancakes) or Jun (if made using flour) at least like once a week. it was packed with a funky ripened kimchi, garlic, scallions, and little bits of spam.
when the kimchi juns were ready, my mom would transfer them onto a wooden cutting board and cut them into little bits for me, my sister, and brothers to eat as an after-school snack. we’d always fight for the crispy edges because why the heck would you not want the crispiest parts? my competitive spirit would kick in and i’d leap for all of the tiny crispy edges leaving none for my siblings >=]
on special occasions, my mom, her sisters, and my halmunee (grandma) would bust out large bags of dried mung beans, soak the beans over night, and blend them up with water to make a bindaeduk batter. in my halmunee’s kitchen in bakersfield, the women would open up as much surface area to fry these babies. think of griddle pans on portable butane burners on the dining tables and large frying pans taking up every spot on the stove.
it was like a bindaeduk factory, and the kids had the responsibility of stacking them on large plastic serving trays lined with paper towels. we’d pack them up in gallon sized ziploc bags to freeze to enjoy throughout the rest of the year.
i wondered why we ate bu chim gae so often at home, how it made it to the weekly rotation of recipes for kathy, why at least one aunt on my mom’s side brought bindaetuk to every family gathering, and why we never had it for any of the gatherings on my dad’s side. i did a little research (thank the lord for trusty wikipedia) and found that bu chim gae originates from northern korea, which is where my maternal family is from.
i don’t know too much about northern korean food or the origins of any korean food for that matter, but doing a little bit of research on it bonded my affinity for these korean pancakes even further. i sat in my kitchen making a modified version using chickpeas (due to food allergies) and wondered what my halmunee’s halmunee would think of her great granddaughter swapping out the mung beans for chickpeas after being inspired by having socca, a niçoise crepe, in the south of france. i also wondered if my halmunee ever recalled memories of making bindaeduk when she was younger while making them in her smoky bakersfield kitchen with her daughters and grandaughters.
i thought more about my grandma and this connection to bindaeduk and couldn’t help but cry into my precious chickpea pancake. instead of being just a snack at home or an appetizer at a restaurant, i now see them as a vehicle for my grandmother to bring us closer to those sacred and few memories she has of family that she had to leave behind in order to escape the “north” korea.
*brb, still sobbing*
2 cups chickpea flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup kimchi juice
1 1/2 cup water
3 green onion sprigs chopped
6 garlic cloves minced
2.5 cups kimchi chopped
1 cup korean chives (buchu) cut to around 3 inches long
1 cup frying oil (vegetable, canola, peanut)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
a pinch of gochugaru
combine chickpea flour, rice flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. slowly stir in water and mix until dry ingredients are incorporated into the water
stir in kimchi juice and sesame oil
toss in chopped kimchi, green onions, and minced onion into the mixture and fold into mixture until incorporated
crack 2 eggs into the batter and lightly mix into batter. don’t over work the eggs, as long as the yolk and whites have loosened up and mixed in, you’re good to go!
heat a frying pan with frying oil to a medium heat. test the heat by dropping in a little batter, if the oil bubbles immediately, you’re good to go!
carefully ladle or spoon in 2 tablespoons of batter and spread out into 4-inch wide disks. using a chopstick, lay buchu leaves across the top and press into wet side of batter
once the bottom side has turned golden brown, carefully flip and continue frying until the other side is golden brown
remove done bindae-duk from pan and onto a wire rack to cool down to a safe temperature
dip into dipping sauce, and enjoy while hot and crispy!