Flip sides

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 April, 2010, 12:00am

Most people think of pancakes as something sweet that should be eaten for breakfast, often with maple syrup or fresh fruit, or traditionally on Shrove Tuesday. Pancakes, however, can be savoury, easy to make and delicious at any time of the day.

Kimchi pancakes (pictured)

This batter is quite versatile - it goes well with vegetables, seafood and meat. I like the slight chewiness that comes from a combination of potato starch (sometimes called potato flour) and regular flour. The recipe is based on one in Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen by Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall. Restaurants make large pancakes and cut them into pieces but I prefer to make smaller, individual ones.

For the pancakes:

150 grams cabbage kimchi

120 grams minced pork

1 large egg

70 grams potato starch/flour

70 grams plain (all-purpose) flour

240ml ice water

Fine sea salt and ground white pepper

4-6 spring onions, cut into 3cm lengths

Red and green large, mild Thai chillies, sliced about 3mm thick

Oil, for pan frying

For the vinegar soy sauce:

30ml soy sauce

30ml Korean or Japanese rice wine

30ml rice vinegar

15ml sesame oil

1 tsp lightly toasted white sesame seeds

A pinch of Korean chilli powder (optional)

Put the kimchi in a colander and press gently with paper towels to extract some of the excess liquid - the kimchi shouldn't be too dry nor should it be dripping wet. Finely chop the kimchi and put it into a bowl. Add the pork, egg, potato and plain flours, water and salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently then refrigerate for about an hour (this lets the batter thicken as the starches absorb the liquid). Mix together the sauce ingredients and transfer to a small serving bowl.

Heat a skillet over a medium flame and rub it lightly with oil. When it is hot, arrange two or three pieces each of the spring onion and chilli in a tight pattern in the skillet. Stir the batter and ladle in enough of it to cover the spring onion and chilli and to form a pancake that's about 6cm in diameter. Leave the pancake to cook undisturbed until the surface edges look as if they're drying out, then flip it over and cook the other side. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and cook the remaining batter. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Potato pancakes

Don't mistake these for the shredded potato pancakes known as latkes; this version is made with mashed potato. This recipe is based on something my mother made - she would take leftover mashed potato, add dried shrimp, minced pork and spring onion and cook the lot for breakfast. My own mashed potatoes are too buttery and creamy for this dish (they don't hold their shape) so I make it with freshly mashed potato. You can add vegetables such as frozen green peas or corn kernels (blanch them for about 30 seconds).

2 large potatoes (the smooth-skinned local variety), about 250 grams each

2 large egg yolks

5-10 grams dried shrimp, soaked in warm water until pliable then drained

80 grams minced pork or chopped fresh shrimp

4 spring onions, finely diced

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cooking oil, for the skillet

Put the whole, unpeeled potatoes in a pan and add enough salted water to cover them by about 1.5cm. Put the pan over a medium flame, bring to the boil then cover with the lid. Turn the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and peel them when cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes into large chunks and force through the smallest holes of a potato ricer. Mix in the egg yolk, drained dried shrimp, minced pork or fresh shrimp, spring onion and salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a skillet and oil it lightly. When the skillet is hot, add the potato mixture in heaped tablespoons, leaving about 3cm of space between each one. Use the back of the spoon to flatten the mixture in the skillet so each is about 8mm thick. Cook until the bottoms of the pancakes are an attractive lacey-brown then flip them over and cook the other side.

Corncakes

4 ears of fresh corn, husks and silks removed

30 grams unsalted butter, divided

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 large shallots, minced

2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 tsp sugar

120ml milk

70 grams plain (all-purpose) flour

1/4 tsp paprika

A pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cooking oil, for pan-frying

To serve:

Sour cream

Fresh salsa made with diced tomatoes, minced shallot and garlic, chopped fresh coriander and salt and fresh lime juice to taste

Blanch the ears of corn in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain and when cool enough to handle, cut the corn kernels from the cob using a sharp knife.

Heat half the butter in a skillet, add the garlic and shallot and cook over low heat until soft. Stir in the corn kernels, paprika, cayenne and salt and pepper and cook until the corn is crisp-tender. Remove from the heat, stir in the remaining butter and cool to room temperature.

In a bowl, whisk the yolks with the milk. Whisk in the flour then use a rubber spatula to stir in the corn mixture. In a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt and the sugar until they form soft peaks. Fold the egg white into the corn mixture.

Heat oil in a skillet to a depth of about 5mm. Scoop some of the mixture into the skillet and flatten it to make a pancake about 4cm in diameter. Cook until the bottom is medium-brown then flip it over and cook the other side. Continue with the remaining mixture. Serve the corncakes hot, topped with sour cream and tomato salsa.

Styling Corner Kitchen Cooking School