The Perfect Korean Pancake Mix

Jeon - Korean Pancake


Hope you have tried to make the Pajeon. Pancake mix are really easy to make, aren't there? This simple batter mix works great but probably won't taste or compare well to using a Korean Pancake(Jeon) Mix (Buchim Garu) sold in any Korean Market. All you would do is add water to make the batter. This mix contains all the ingredients to make the batter. Whilst this is a quick and easier solution, where is the fun in that? And you don't really learn to cook by using the pre-mix. ^_^ . Why use a mix when making a batter is easy. So let's examine what is in a commercial pancake mix.


There are some recipes online that suggest mixing jeon mix (Buchim Garu) with the fry mix (Twigim Garu). To get a crispier pancake. Let's look at the ingredients in the packaged mix: 

Jeon Pancake Mix (Buchim Garu) - wheat flour, corn starch, baking powder, emulsifier, salt, vitamin b, mixed seasoning, salt, onion powder, MSG.
Fry Mix (Twigim Garu) - wheat flour, rice flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, vitamine b, mixed seasoning.


 
 Pancake Mix (Buchim Garu)



 
Fry Mix (Twigim Garu )


To make the jeon flour mix you need wheat flour, rice flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, sugar and seasoning. The major ingredients are readily available. And if you make your own you can omit or replace the MSG. Also, in case you don't live next to a Korean Market that carries Jeon Pancake Mix. You can make your own authentic commercial pancake batter.

Jeon Flour Mix:
Dry Ingredients:
3 cup           wheat flour
1 1/4 cup    rice flour
2 Tbs          cornstarch
2 tsp           sugar
2 tsp           baking powder
2 tsp           onion powder
1 tsp           garlic powder
1 tsp           salt
1 cube        bouillon; I prefer organic cubes with no MSG (crushed)
1tsp            baking soda
You can make the dry ingredients ahead of time. You double the recipe, and stored in a dry air tight container. 

Wet Ingredients:
3                  eggs
2 tsp           doenjang*; crush into a paste (Korean bean paste)
4 cup          ice cold water (add a few ice cube)
*It is a soybean protein with lysine and essential amino acids. Does not contain any artificial additives and has healthy amounts of essential vitamins, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B12.

Method: 
1. If you can sift the dry ingredients to ensure that they are well mixed. Alternately in a dry mixing bowl use a whisk or fork and mix the flour mix well.

2. Add the doenjang paste and mix evenly into the flour mix.

3. Form a mound like a volcano and break the eggs into the flour mix. With a fork bind the egg into the flour mix until you get a lumpy mealy mixture.

4.  Add 1/3 of the ice cold water into the flour and egg mixture. Blend till you break the large lumps. Add the remaining ice water. Blend till you get a slightly runny batter. Do NOT over mix. It is normal to have some flour lump in the pancake batter. If there are any ice cubes, you can leave it in the batter.

5. Rest the batter for at least an hour or overnight. The batter is done!


Facts:

If you thought pancake making was an art, well it's probably more of a science. To better understand what makes a good pancake batter, it help to understand how the ingredient effects your pancake. Now, let's look at the science behind some of the ingredients: 

Cornstarch - Cornstarch acts as a thickening agent. While cornstarch thickens as it heats, it also sets as it cools, so it's particularly useful as a gelling agent to bind all the ingredients in the pancake. also note than because cornstarch is a binding agent, the more cornstarch makes it less crispy.

Baking Powder - Baking powder is key if you want the pancakes to rise at all. Baking powder is baking soda (which is an alkaline) with enough acid to cause a balance reaction. When the baking powder neutralizes it gives off carbon dioxide gas. Depending on the type of baking powder, it is activated when liquid is added or when it reaches a certain temperature (heated). Chances are the baking powder in you supermarket is "double acting" meaning it will act when you make your batter, and again when you are frying the pancake. If you want a fluffier pancake do not mix the dough once you've let the batter rest. As this will release the trapped air. Protein in eggs and flour provide a stretchy structure that traps the gas. When your batter is heated up it will cause the batter to rise. Note:-Browning works best in an alkaline environment. Because baking powder is neutral, the batter will rise but will have no effect on browning. 

Sugar  - Attracts moisture in the batter which reduces the amount of gluten formed in the flour. The result of this is twofold.  First, less gluten in the batter produces a more tender pancake. Second, because not as much gluten is formed, the batter will be lighter. When cooked, the batter will be able to rise more and the result will be a pancake with more volume. Sugar also adds color to the pancake, add more sugar if deep frying. The browning is the result of the sugar reacting with the protein in other ingredients (eggs, milk) when heated. The higher the sugar content the darker the pancake will turn out. 


Understanding food chemistry will enable you to fine tune the mix to suit your personal preference. Don't be afraid to experiment, there are no failed batters. But another learning experience; of what not to do next time. Each time you make the batter, you will learn something new.  And you will be closer to your perfect Korean pancake batter. Eat well and live happy!


28 comments:

Anonymous

Thank you very much for this thoughtful recipe. Much appreciated :)

Anonymous

Thanks! I appreciate your time and also the information about the science behind the food.

tastingkorea

Boullion and dwaenjang may be delicious, but is not really used in jeon.

Anonymous

I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!!
I certainly loved every little bit of it. I have you
bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

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