Diary of a Foodie

Bindae Duk (Korean Mung-Bean Pancakes)

Diary of a Foodie: Season Three: Korea: Ancient Food, Modern World

Serves8 to 12 (hors d’oeuvre or snack)
  • Active time:1 hr
  • Start to finish:6 hr
February 2009
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For pancakes

  • 2 cups dried peeled yellow split mung beans
  • 6 tablespoons glutinous (sweet) rice or other white rice (not cooked)
  • 1 cup drained preserved fiddlehead fern stems (also called boiled royal fern, bracken fern, kosari, and warabi; about 4 oz; see cooks’ note, below), cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
  • 2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil, divided
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 cups store-bought cabbage kimchi (9 oz), excess liquid squeezed out, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • About 2 Tbsp lard or vegetable oil for cooking pancakes
  • 4 (4- to 5-inch-long) fresh red chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped, or dried Korean red-pepper threads

For Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Make pancake batter:

  • Cover mung beans and rice with water to cover by 1 inch in a bowl and soak, chilled, at least 5 hours (or overnight). Strain in a colander set over a bowl, reserving soaking liquid. Purée half of bean mixture with 1 cup soaking liquid in a blender until smooth, then transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining bean mixture and 1 cup soaking liquid. Let stand while preparing remaining ingredients.
  • Toss fern stems with 1 tsp each of soy sauce, garlic, sesame seeds, and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Put pork in another medium bowl with remaining tsp each of soy sauce, garlic, sesame seeds, and sesame oil and mix well with your hands. Chill both mixtures 1 hour.
  • Toss onion with 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl and let stand 30 minutes, then squeeze out any liquid.
  • Mix pork mixture, fern-stem mixture, onion, kimchi, and scallions in a large bowl with your hands. Stir in bean purée, 2 tsp salt, and 3/4 tsp pepper until combined well.

Make dipping sauce:

  • Combine soy sauce and vinegar and divide among small bowls (1 per person). Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Cook pancakes:

  • Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. If using lard, wrap it in a small piece of wax paper or paper towel (to make it easier to handle) and quickly rub over surface of skillet to lightly grease. Stir batter. In batches of 4, drop 1/4 cup of batter into hot skillet, spreading to 3 1/2-inch pancakes. Top each with a few pieces of red chile. Cook until undersides are golden, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until firm, 1 to 2 minutes more (adjust heat if necessary). Transfer pancakes as cooked to a heated platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Preserved fiddlehead fern stems are available dried or packed in water in plastic packages. If using dried, reconstitute according to package directions before using.
  • Kimchi comes in varying degrees of heat. If your kimchi is too spicy for your taste, rinse it briefly to make it milder.
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