In Sue Kim's family, special occasions always meant shrimp. When she was a child, her family's favorite place to buy seafood was the waterfront in Southwest Washington.
"My mom never sat down and taught me how to cook," says Kim, 29, an information technology consultant who lives in Vienna.
"I learned mostly from just watching her, shopping with her, and getting comfortable with her favorite seasonings and recipes. ... Eventually, it becomes secondhand."
Kim's recipe here -- a special Korean-style seafood pancake -- is one that all her friends are hooked on. It was created by Kim and her mother, Jyung Hee Yoo, who lives in Greenbelt. The pancakes can be made with shrimp alone or with squid, crabmeat or scallops (or all three) added. (Asian markets carry frozen assortments of seafood suitable for the pancakes.)
The key to making the pancakes crisp, Kim says, is a hot pan and cold batter. She serves this as an appetizer, with cold Asian beer; it's also good for a light lunch.
Servings: 4 - 5 pancakes
- 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 to 1 cup ice-cold water
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
Rinse the shrimp and pat it dry. Finely chop it and place it in a bowl. (It is important to let the shrimp dry fairly well; otherwise, the batter will be too runny and make limp pancakes.)
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, sesame oil, cornstarch, egg and water until well blended. Add the shrimp and scallions. Let stand for 1 to 2 minutes; it should be the consistency of regular pancake batter.
Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil (each pancake will need about that much to cook).
Ladle one-quarter of the batter into the skillet and spread out mix. Let it cook thoroughly (the batter and seafood should stick together). Check the bottom of the pancake to see if it is light brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip over and cook the other side until done, 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve hot, cut into serving pieces or letting guests tear off pieces.
Adapted from Sue Kim and her mother, Jyung Hee Yoo.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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