Making Gahmja-Jeon (감자전) / Korean Potato Pancakes
Some days all I wish for is to have someone to help me in the kitchen. I don’t mean to chop or to wash the dishes, but someone with nice looking hands (and forearms) who’ll be patient enough to act out the stirring and pouring actions while I take pictures.
One would say that the logical thing to do is to ask my sister for help, but since I like to get an early start on things while she chooses to snooze half the weekend away, it’ll be about noon when I can actually ask her to pretend to chop some onions without her grumbling. Her hands are not exactly of the dainty variety, but beggars can’t be choosers.
But then again, as I listened to her sing Bublé’s “Home” in what she believes is Michael Bolton’s voice while I’m trying to concentrate on getting the right photo, I say to myself that things are not so bad the way they are right now.
[ 2-3 medium sized potatoes + a small handful of chopped Chinese leeks or spring onion +1 chili pepper, thinly sliced + ¼ teaspoon salt +1 tablespoon flour ]
Peel the potatoes and grate them on a fine grater or cut into cubes and throw in a food processor.
**If you want it to be chewy and soft, thoroughly process it so it’s very soft. If you want it to have some more texture, grind a little bit coarse. But either way, it has to be a pretty creamy texture when you grind it.
Put the grated potatoes in a strainer and let the water drain out into another bowl. The less watery it is, the crunchier it will be.
Let the liquid sit for a couple of minutes. You’ll find that some potato starch has settled at the bottom of the bowl of the liquid. Throw out the water and then mix the settled potato starch back into your batter. Add the Chinese leeks or some spring onions, pepper slices, salt and flour to the pureed potato. Mix well.
In a generously oiled and heated pan,put a scoop of the potato mix in. You can adjust the size of the pancake to your liking. Use a spatula to spread it out and make a nice flat circle.
Cook the pancake until the bottom is browned and then flip and cook the other side. You want your pancakes to be golden yellow or brown so they are crispy.
Serve warm with a dipping sauce - I used a mixture of chili oil, soy sauce, vinegar and some chopped spring onions.
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