Why did it take me so long to try cooking pajeon, which is one of the simplest Korean recipes? In part, I hadn’t realized how easy it would be to prepare pajeon in a gluten free way. (I don’t always eat gluten free but I am trying to prepare all the recipes in my Korean Food Project without gluten.)
Pajeon has so few ingredients — just flour, some vegetables and some spices — that I figured it would taste terrible if I tried to remove gluten from it. But then I learned that rice flour is an easy swap for wheat flour in pajeon. So, here’s a rice flour-based pajeon recipe that is gluten free, simple and quite tasty.
Pajeon (Scallion Pancake) — 파전
- 1 c. rice flour*
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. Korean red pepper powder**
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¾ c. cold water
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced
- ¼ c. finely diced red bell pepper
- 1-2 red chili peppers, thinly sliced*** [NOTE: Using 2 peppers will result in very spicy pancakes. Use only 1 pepper if you want a more moderate level of spice.]
- 1½ Tbsp. vegetable oil
- soy sauce for serving
*Rice flour is essentially the same thing as rice powder (pulverized rice). You can buy rice flour at Asian grocery stores or the Bob’s Red Mill brand on Amazon.com for about $4. Above is a photo of a bag of rice flour and a small bowl of the flour itself.
**You can find plastic bags of Korean red pepper powder (called gochugaru in Korean) at Asian grocery stores or on Amazon.com for about $13 a pound. The consistency is between a coarse powder and a fine flake, so gochugaru is sometimes called red pepper powder or hot pepper powder and sometimes called red chili flakes. The photos above show gochugaru in packaging and loose in a bowl.
***The type of pepper that Koreans use in this dish is basically a red chili pepper. The shape is long and thin; see photos above. You can find these peppers at Korean grocery stores.
- Mix the rice flour, salt, red pepper powder, eggs and cold water in a large bowl.
- Add the scallions and chili peppers.
- Heat ½ Tbsp. of the vegetable oil in a frying pan.
- Spoon about 1 c. of the batter into the pan.
- Cook the pancakes for 3-5 minutes on each side.
- Repeat until batter is gone.
- Serve pancakes with soy sauce in a small bowl for dipping.