Have you ever had gochugaru? I hadn’t until recently and it was eye opening.
I feel, while I try my best to eat and cook a variety of food, I inevitably get stuck in my ways and in my food bubble. I know what I like and I generally play around within my comfort zone without much sway. But when Jean Choi, the author of Korean Paleo asked if I would review her new book, I was honored and excited to cook outside my safe space.
While there are numerous recipes I will be making, I wanted to try something that I felt was a bit intriguing. A recipe with only a few ingredients but one in particular that I had never been exposed to before - gochugaru. I didn’t know what to expect.
A zucchini pancake seems fairly straight forward, right, but in this case, it is utterly transformed the moment it touches the sweet and sour dipping sauce. For me it was a moment of awe. After the first bite, I had to stop and take in the experience - it was new, unfamiliar and intriguing. A simple sauce can elevate a food to new heights and in the moment, I knew, I was going to love the rest of the book as much as this recipe.
So let’s talk about the pancakes. You’ll need zucchini, cassava flour, egg and sea salt. Few ingredients but they create a crispy, light, savory pancake that melts in your mouth. And I hope you will experience the same moment of intrigue as I did the moment you dip a delicious hot zucchini pancake in the sweet and sour sauce.
So be sure to check out Jean’s Korean Paleo cookbook and get your hands on incredible, flavorful recipes!
Hobakjeon - Zucchini Pancakes From Korean Paleo
- prep time: 5 minutes
- cooking time: 5 minutes
- yields: one large pancake or several small
- 2 cups zucchini, julienned (about 1-2 zucchini)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup cassava flour
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil of your choice
For sweet and sour dipping sauce:
- 2 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ teaspoon honey
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon gochugaru
Combine all ingredients for sweet and sour dipping sauce and set aside.
Toss the julienned zucchini with the sea salt in a bowl. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Use a cheesecloth or a nut milk bag to squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the zucchini, and reserve and set aside the liquid.
Place the zucchini in a mixing bowl and add the cassava flour, egg and ½ cup of zucchini liquid. Mix with a fork. If the batter seems too thick, add more zucchini liquid. (1 tablespoon at a time) until it reaches the consistency of pancake batter. If you run out of liquid, use plain water.
Heat your choice of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Wait 5 minutes until the pan gets very hot. Add the entire batter if you want to make 1 large pancake, or you can add a few tablespoons at a time to make smaller pancakes. Let it cook for 1 minute and then reduce heat to medium and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until browned and crispy on the bottom. flip and cook the other side for 2 minutes adding more oil if needed.
Serve immediately with a side of sweet and sour dipping sauce. You can cut the pancakes in smaller pieces or rip them apart as you eat.