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Green Onion Pancakes, and the story of a blue frog

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March 26, 2012

Green Onion Pancakes, and the story of a blue frog

Once upon a time there lived a young frog boy named "Blue".
They called him "Blue" because he was a very unusual blue frog.
Blue lived with his mother in a small cottage near a little stream deep in the mountain of South Korea.
His mother loved him very much and did the best she could to teach him, so that he could grow up to be well mannered and respectful. But alas! Blue was not the most obedient boy you can imagine. In fact he was quite rebellious and often showed the contrary behaviors.

 If his mother asked him to clean the mess in his room, he would make even bigger mess. When she asked him to not to go to the dangerous part of village where the snake lives, he would head down there right away. Blue thought he was so courageous and smart.

All of his misbehavior made his mother worried. Very worried that she got ill.
The doctor came to help but didn't know how to cure. Blue's mother felt that she would die soon leaving her young son behind. She tried to explain the situation to Blue but he wasn't willing to listen.
She realized that her son wouldn't change his contrary behaviors, so she decided to ask him contrary to what she desired.

She wanted to be buried on the hillside but knowing her son, he would do exactly the opposite way; if she asked him to bury her on the hill, Blue would bury her on the side of the stream.  So she asked him the opposite way, "Son, when I die..., please, bury my body near the stream. NOT on the HILL..."

A few days later his mother died.
Upon his mother's death, Blue finally realized that he had been foolish, and regretted for being so disobedient.
So, for the first time in his life, he decided to obey his mother's wish. He buried her near the stream!
Then, the rain came down on the next day. The water in the stream over flowed and washed his mother's grave away. Blue couldn't help but crying as he watched his mother's grave floating away from him. It was just too late for him to take it back.

Since that day, whenever it rains in Korea, you can hear the frog's loud crying noise near any streams.
"Ribbit.., ribbit..,"

This is a one of the Korean folk tales that I told my kids as a bedtime story when they were young.
My daughter cried when she first heard it. She was 5 years old. This story helped her to understand the importance of being trust worthy.

So what does this story has to do with green onion pancakes?
Well, when there's rain, Koreans like to eat this types of savory pancakes and talk about the blue frog.
This is the story that I heard from my mother, and she heard it from her mother, and so on...

This is a very easy to make savory pancakes with only a few ingredients.
The recipe will give quite nice crisp texture to the bite which we all love.
I used small shrimps but any seafood will work fine, or omit if you prefer it as vegan.

Cut the green onions into 2" long and slice 1-2 chilies as well.

Mix cake flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
You can use plain flour but cake flour will create the crispier texture.

Add ice cold water to the flour mix and stir.

Add one egg and whisk until combined. Do not over whisk.

The batter should be thin like breakfast pancake batter.

Add green onion, red chili, and shrimp.

Toss to wet all the ingredients. 

Heat generous amount of oil in the skillet over medium heat, spread about 1/4 cups of batter and let it sear for 3-4 minutes.

Flip it over. Do you see the golden crust? It is quite crisp. Continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes to the other side.

Flip again to see what the other side looks like. Nicely browned!
You might need to adjust the heat level from medium to med-low.

 Make dipping sauce by combining all the ingredients.
Serve your pancakes hot with this dipping sauce.

Have I seen a blue frog?

But I could hear his crying as I bite on these crisp pancakes.
Ribbit.., ribbit..!

Let's obey our parents...
whether we are young or old.
... a little food for thought of the day.


Green Onion Pancakes with Shrimp
serves 3-4

200g (7oz) small shrimps, peeled and cleaned
1 bunch green onion, cut into 2" long slices

1-2 red chilies, thinly sliced (optional)
1 1/4 cup cake flour
1/8 teaspoon baking flour
pinches of kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup + 2 tablespoon ice water or more

1 egg
2-4 tablespoon grape seed or canola oil

Dipping Sauce:
2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1-2 teaspoon Korean chili flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, crushed with fingers

1) In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and pepper. Add water and egg, and whisk until just combined. The consistency of batter should be like breakfast batter. Add more water if batter seems too stiff.

2) Add the green onions and shrimps to the bowl, toss well to coat.

3) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat, add 1/4 cupful of batter to the skillet and spread out thinly. Sear the pancakes 3-4 minutes until the edges seems to form a crust, flip to the other side.
Add more oil if the skillet seems dry. You should see the golden brown crust. Sear the other side of pancakes for another 3 minutes until  golden as well.

4) You might need to adjust the heat to med-low in order not to burn the pancakes.

5) Serve hot with dipping sauce.

Need a printable recipe? Click here.

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At March 26, 2012 at 7:27 AM , Anonymous leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Aww, what a sad story. I want to give my parents a hug and make them pancakes now!

At March 26, 2012 at 7:55 AM , Anonymous Leah Parra said...

I remember reading that story from the korean folk books my mom got for me when i was younger.  And...I love korean pancake!! so so halmunee made these sooo yummy for me as a child. And now my mom.  I shall make them for my little one soon!! I love your blog and all the korean food on here....makes me miss korean food so bad (i live in sicily)

At March 26, 2012 at 8:07 AM , Anonymous Bernaschreiber said...

So so amazing! Thanks for sharing this!

At March 26, 2012 at 8:10 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Thank you Leah. What a beautiful place you live in. Can you find Korean groceries there?

At March 26, 2012 at 8:11 AM , Anonymous Bloggy said...

The story and the recipe both are too good, the monsoons will be here in a month or two and I will surely make this and eat them, while blue cries nearby.

At March 26, 2012 at 8:14 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

You are so sweet. My daughter actually gave me a hug after she heard the story.

At March 26, 2012 at 8:21 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Thanks Bloggy. Hope you can give it a try. It is quite appetizing especially on the rainy days.

At March 26, 2012 at 9:02 AM , Anonymous Bloggy said...

Yes surely, the moment i try and make it as tasty and beautiful as you did will surely be the first one to inform you.

At March 26, 2012 at 9:33 AM , Anonymous MS BC said...

you are AWESOME! i loveeeee these pancakes :D

At March 26, 2012 at 9:34 AM , Anonymous Leah Parra said...

There is a small section on the navy base with kimchee(not good), and some Shin Ramen....thats about it!! I need some kimchee jigae out here and ttuk bo sam favorite kimchee moomalangi.  My mom has attempted to try and send some from America, still waiting to receive it!!!

At March 26, 2012 at 12:46 PM , Anonymous Lyndsey@TheTinySkillet said...

I loved this post, thanks for sharing a little Korean tradition with us. I like your food for thought of the day! I work in an elementary school and I see first hand the children that don't listen. :)

I have been wanting to make a crispy Korean pancake, now you just reminded me to try it! It looks great for breakfast in my eyes. Too bad I didn't have it yesterday it rained here. :)

At March 26, 2012 at 4:59 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Lyndsey, this pancakes will tastes good whether it rains or shines. Hope you get to try soon.

At March 27, 2012 at 1:11 AM , Anonymous Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I cannot believe I haven't stumbled your blog before too!  Thank you for stopping by my blog.  I need to look around when I blog hop. =P

Your green onion pancakes look so delicious - your photos are gorgeous and I love how you put step by step photos (large and nice) in the post too.  So fun to follow you cook.  Nice to meet you!

At March 27, 2012 at 8:27 AM , Anonymous Mohala Johnson said...

This looks and sounds delicious!


At March 27, 2012 at 8:38 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Thanks for stopping by Nami. Hope to communicate with you often through our blogs.

At March 27, 2012 at 11:01 AM , Anonymous lisa said...

I have a recipe for scallion pancakes that calls for a little rice flour and more regular flour. The rice flour is supposed to make it crispy.  I think it works but do you think I can put more rice flour in than the regular flour and still have it come out?


At March 27, 2012 at 1:25 PM , Anonymous Amy Kim said...

yum yum yum! i love pa jun!

and i vaguely remember this story. maybe because my brother and i were like blue when we were little kids. :-) i think it's time to tell my kids! 

love your website and photos!

At March 27, 2012 at 1:37 PM , Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the recipe and the story. I love green onion pancakes, and your recipe looks so simple and delicious!

At March 27, 2012 at 5:58 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Actually rice flour is to get a chewy texture not crisp. If you want crispier but doesn't have cake flour, add about 2-3 tablespoon of cornstarch to plain flour with a tiny pinch baking powder.The baking powder will leaven the batter slightly and help create the crisp texture

At March 27, 2012 at 6:00 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Ha ha, we all were the blue frog in some degree.

At March 28, 2012 at 10:37 AM , Anonymous Renee said...

I made these last night and they were easy + delicious! Thanks for the recipe and the story. I love your blog!

At March 28, 2012 at 5:26 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

I am glad that you liked it. Thanks Renee.

At March 28, 2012 at 8:04 PM , Anonymous Bo Park said...

Oh I heard a version of this when I was growing up! The difference was that instead of the mother's death, she told him not to jump into the stream and that's exactly what he did, thus leading to his death. The funny thing is, my dad told me this story because I started doing what the boy frog did. It wasn't necessarily my fault at the time though, because I was joking around saying it was "opposite day". But after that day I never played "opposite day" again...

At March 28, 2012 at 9:13 PM , Anonymous xoCATox said...

What a fantastic post! Lovely story... and those pancakes look divine! And simple too. I think I'll have to try it some day :) 

At April 1, 2012 at 4:48 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Hi Bo
My daughter used to love the story called, "The contrary Mary" and, to some degree, it was great for children to come up with creative ideas to be contrary I think. I never heard of the version of frog jumping into stream. That is even more sad.

At April 1, 2012 at 10:48 PM , Anonymous RNB Research said...

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time I visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially
its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not
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At April 2, 2012 at 8:08 AM , Anonymous kitchenriffs said...

Really nice story.  And a great pancake.  Although I totally like the breakfast pancakes with maple syrup, savory pancakes are more interesting to me.  A nice way to use veggies.  Thanks for this.

At April 3, 2012 at 11:10 PM , Anonymous Angel said...

First visit.  Haven't had much Korean food, but love the recipes I've read so far.  Will be back to read more.  Great blog!!

At April 4, 2012 at 4:18 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Thanks Angel. Hope you be back again soon.

At April 12, 2012 at 12:07 PM , Anonymous Mabel said...

I've tried making pajeon using just all purpose flour but didn't think it tasted as good as the packet flour. I haven't tried it with cake flour though... But I think adding sweet rice flour would give the pajeon some sticky, chewy (jjinduk) texture. 
I love your blog a lot! I've started a blog myself and you're a huge inspiration.


At April 12, 2012 at 4:58 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Hi Mabel
Yes, you can add the rice flour if you like the chewy texture. I tried and I prefer without it in the savory pancakes. I just love the crispness that cake flour adds.
Thanks for you sweet comment. Blogging is fun and wish you the best with your brand new blog.

At April 27, 2012 at 9:09 PM , Anonymous Eseta Perry said...

I just made this recipe last night to be added as a side dish to our Rib-eye  steaks. It was delicious. Although...mine didn't look like yours as pictured above, it literally looked like a think pancake. But, my family and I enjoyed it and ate it all. Thanks for sharing with us. 


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