Spicy Kale and Bacon Gochujang Pancakes Jangddeok

Jangddeok are savory pancakes sassed up with luscious gochujang paste folded into the batter. We use bacon in place of ground pork; aside from the fact that it makes almost everything delicious, bacon is sometimes easier to have on hand than the traditional fresh ground pork. As for the batter consistency, think more of a fritter batter, chunky with ingredients and a barely there binder. As the kale cooks down, it will become more of a flat, crispy pancake. Gochujang, a hot pepper paste, is available online and in some local groceries.

By / Photography By Kim Sunée & Leela Cyd | October 13, 2017

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang paste
  • 4 cups packed thinly sliced kale, stems removed (about 1 bunch)
  • 4 green onions, cut into thirds and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
  • For serving: Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce
Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce (Cho-ganjang)
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon gochugaru (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
  • Optional garnish toasted sesame seeds

Preparation

Combine the water and gochujang in a small bowl, stirring with a large spoon and pressing the paste against the side of the bowl to loosen it up.

Place the kale, green onions, flour, bacon, eggs, and gochujang mixture in a large bowl. Mix gently just to combine, preferably using your hands to carefully incorporate the ingredients. The batter should appear as if the flour is barely binding the vegetables and bacon together. Not to worry, though; it will all come together in the pan. As the kale cooks, the liquid that’s released will also help bind the batter.

Heat about 1½ tablespoons of the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Test the skillet by adding a tiny splash of water or a bit of the batter; the oil and batter should dance and crack and sizzle. When the oil is hot, add the mixture to the pan, using a ladle or a ¾-cup measuring cup, and press down gently, using the back of a spatula, to even out the mixture into a pancake. Cook until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes. If the pancake is steaming and not sizzling, increase the heat and add another drop or two of oil. Gently flip and cook the other side for another minute or two until golden; try not to flip more than once. Repeat with the remaining oil and batter. Place the pancakes on a wire cooling rack to prevent steaming; rewarm in the skillet, if needed, to crisp up the edges before cutting into wedges and serving. Serve warm with Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce. If making ahead, reheat a minute or two in a dry skillet.

Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce (Cho-ganjang)

This is a classic dipping sauce to accompany and brighten up a wide range of dishes, such as jeon (pancakes) and grilled fish. We always use soy and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio for this sauce. Anything else, such as sugar, green onion, or gochugaru, is a bonus and can be adjusted to your taste.

Makes 1/2 cup

Place the soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar in a medium-size bowl; stir to combine. Add any optional ingredients, if desired, sprinkling with toasted sesame seeds just before serving. Serve in a bowl with a small spoon for easy serving, or in individual sauce bowls and use as needed. Can be stored, preferably without the sesame seeds, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Variation: Quick and easy version: Combine soy sauce with balsamic vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang paste
  • 4 cups packed thinly sliced kale, stems removed (about 1 bunch)
  • 4 green onions, cut into thirds and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
  • For serving: Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce
Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce (Cho-ganjang)
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon gochugaru (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
  • Optional garnish toasted sesame seeds
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