I recently had the opportunity to participate in a Korean cooking class with four other Korean adoptees at Shilla Korean Restaurant in East Perth. The event was co-organised by myself and another adoptee Leanne, for the Korean Adoptees in Australia Network (KAiAN). Funding for the event was provided from a grant KAiAN were awarded last year by the Australia Korea Foundation to establish the network. As part of the grant proposal, each major city (with a known group of Korean adoptees) were allocated a small sum of money to organise an event for adult adoptees in their city. Melbourne had a makeup class, Canberra went to a Korean film festival and us Perth kids cooked and ate.
Our host James and the staff at Shilla were amazing! It was the first time they'd ever done an event like this but you wouldn't have known it. There were three parts to the afternoon. An introduction and overview of Korean food, a 'cook your own' and then 'eat your own' section. In the 'cook your own' part, we marinated bulgogi beef which we were able to take home and made seafood and kimchi jeons (pancakes) which we ate, along with some Korean fried chicken (the REAL KFC), japchae noodles and bulgogi beef in the 'eat your own' portion.
A jeon is a Korean pancake like dish. They can be made to either savoury or sweet, and are often served as banchan (side dishes). We made two different kinds of jeon, seafood and kimchi. I've discovered there are dozens of different types that you can make using meats, vegetables and edible flowers. According to my friend Google, Kimchijeon (kimchi pancake) and pajeon (spring onion pancake) are two of the more popular varieties that you'll find in Korean restaurants.
- 100g flour
- 230ml water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg
- 4-5 spring onion stalks
- Seafood (prawns, scallops, squid)
- 2 eggs
- Vegetable oil
- Diced kimchi (about two handfuls)
- Diced onion (about 1/2 an onion)
- 20g flour (as needed)
- Vegetable oil
- Combine the batter ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. The batter is quite watery for the seafood pancake.
- Heat the pan to a medium heat, adding a splash of vegetable oil.
- Pour 2/3 of the batter into the pan.
- Place the spring onions and seafood across the pancake.
- Whisk the eggs and pour over the top of the pancake.
6. When the edges brown, flip the pancake and cook for a few minutes until browned.
7. Plate and serve warm.
- With the remaining 1/3 of the batter, add about 20g flour so the batter thickens. The consistency is similar to pancake batter.
- Add the chopped onion and kimchee and gently fold.
- Heat the frypan on a medium heat with vegetable oil and pour the batter into the pan.
- When the edges brown, flip the jeon and cook for a few minutes until browned.
- Plate and serve warm.