Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mung Bean Pancakes with Kimchi

With a large supply of kimchi from our Open Oak Farm cabbages, a recent New York Times recipe for kimchi mung bean pancakes caught my eye. 

The article was about cooking with kids (in this case the daughter of chefs Jean-Georges and Marja Vongerichten).  I was skeptical that our kids would try pancakes with kimchi (my jars of fermenting cabbage are a source of jokes for them right now, but someday they will see the light). However, I thought the basic principle (similar to falafel) of making a batter from soaked, raw legumes could be the starting point for all sorts of pancakes. So for my recipe I left out the kimchi juice from the batter and incorporated grated raw carrots and chopped mint into half for kid-friendly Korean style latkes. Both versions were delicious as appetizers for dinner, and the remaining batter made a tasty lunch of fritters on top of a green salad. 

Mung Bean Pancakes
adapted from “The Kimchi Chronicles,” by Marja Vongerichten and Julia Turshen
makes about 20 pancakes
2 cups split mung beans
1/4 cup short grain rice, such as sweet rice
1 cup water
1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
pinch of salt
1 cup kimchi (or 1 cup grated carrots and chopped mint, plus more salt)
neutral oil, such as canola, for frying

dipping sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
2 scallions, green and white parts finely chopped

for serving
cilantro leaves
lime slices
sriracha sauce

1. Combine the mung beans and rice in a fine-meshed colander and rinse well with cold water. Transfer to a bowl and add 8 cups of lukewarm water. Cover the bowl and soak at room temperature for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours, changing the water once or twice.

2. Prepare the pancake batter by draining the soaked beans and rice and transferring them to the jar of a blender. Add 1 cup water, the fish sauce (if using), sesame oil, soy sauce, and salt and blend into a slightly coarse paste. Do not overmix. Transfer to a large bowl, finely chop the kimchi and stir into the batter. You could also divide the batter into two bowls and incorporate 1/2 cup finely chopped kimchi into one and 1/2 cup grated carrots, chopped mint, and a pinch of salt into the other.

3. To fry the pancakes, heat a large skillet, such as cast iron, over medium heat and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Heat until the oil shimmers. Using a 1/4 cup measure, ladle in the pancake batter, flattening each pancake to 1/3-inch thickness. Cook until crisp and browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until browned on the other side, another 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

4. While the pancakes are cooking, you can make the dipping sauce by combining the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, red pepper, and scallions in a small bowl and mix until blended.

5. Serve the pancakes warm with the dipping sauce, cilantro leaves, lime slices, and sriracha.

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