What’s in Pajeon?
The Korean word “jeon” is often translated as “pancake.” In South Korea, the most popular comfort food during the rainy season is buchimgae or jeon, also known as Korean pancake or Korean pizza. Koreans eat it with makgeolli, a type of rice wine. The pa in pajeon means scallion, green onions that are its distinguishing ingredient.
Basically, pajeon contains nothing but flour, water and green onions. Variations can include eggs, shellfish, kimchi or other vegetables. The simple preparation and fast cooking times make the dish very popular as a midday snack or as part of a larger selection of foods. Pajeon can be accompanied by rice, bean curd, vinegar dipping sauces, or it can be sprinkled with ground pork.
The simplest batter for making pajeon consists of water and flour. Very cold water helps the pancake become crisper as it is being cooked in a pan, or pan-fried with little oil. White flour, rice flour or buckwheat flour is used, and in some versions, prepared glutinous rice also is added to the batter to give it more texture. Some incorporate vegetables, meat, and fish into the batter to create variety and gives the pancake its distinguishing name. There’s green onion pancake, kimchi pancake, mung beans pancake, shrimp pancake, tuna pancake, vegetable pancake with Asian chives, among many.
So what makes pajeon, together with makgeolli, very popular during the rainy season in South Korea? A Korean news article says that sales of pajeon ingredients surge on rainy days. There were theories that say the sound of rain reminds people of the sound of making pajeon.
Experts say that people experience a drop in blood sugar when humidity increases, making them crave for flour-based food. When paired with makgeolli, with its low in alcohol content (6%) and sour kick, it quenches thirst. Both flour and makgeolli contain lots of serotonin which elevates emotion and appetite. The combination seems to cheer people up on rainy days.
A Comfort Food, Korean-Style in Bellevue
On rainy days or non-rainy days, our Korean pancakes are popular here at Seoul Hot Pot, your Korean restaurant in Bellevue. We serve Seafood and Green Onion Pancake and Vegetable Pancake, both can be prepared for vegetarians. And for fans, our ever-faithful Kimchi Pancake.