The Holiday season is not over for Koreans until after the lunar New Year is celebrated. Therefore, I decided to post a traditional dish for a Korean feast. I usually make this dish for birthday dinner parties for the elderlies in my family. However, this dish can be easily made and enjoyed as an appetizer or side dish along with any meal any day of the year.
Jeon (or jun) is a collective term that refers to pan-fried battered food in Korean cuisine. There are typically two types of jeon. The first type is pancake-like dishes, such as pajeon, buchujeon, gamjajeon and kimchijeon. For these, all the main ingredients are mixed in with flour batter and then pan fried into a crispy pancake.
The other is the dish I made for this recipe. The small ingredient pieces are individually pan-fried in egg batter to create a soft skin. As is the case with the first type, the latter has many variations. They include: saengseonjeon (fish), hobakjeon ( zucchini), saewoojeon (shrimp), kkaennipjeon (perilla leaf), guljeon (oyster) beoseotjeon (mushrooms), gochujeon (chili pepper), etc. Any combination of these is called modeumjeon.
My dish here consists of hobakjeon (zucchini), saewoojeon (shrimp), and saengseonjeon (fish), but you can create your own combination with the ingredients you like. These delicious small delicacies will be an elegant addition to your lunar New Year’s dinner or your daily meal!
- 1 zucchini
- 10 shrimp (medium to large)
- 1/2 pound flounder or cod fillet (or any white fish)
- salt and pepper
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup flour
- vegetable or canola oil for pan frying
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- pinch pepper
- Slice the zucchini into 1/3-inch disks. Lightly salt both sides and set aside at least for 20 minutes. Pat dry excess water with a paper towel.
- Peel and devein the shrimp, keeping the tail on. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel. Butterfly the shrimp by cutting along the curved back. Do NOT cut through. Open the shrimp halves and remove the vein. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides. Set aside at least for 15 minutes.
- Rinse fish and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the fish fillet into 1/2-inch thick, 2-inch long slices by running the knife diagonally through the fillet. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides. Set aside at least for 15 minutes.
- Dredge both sides of the prepared ingredients in flour, one piece at a time. (Do this step for all the pieces before the next step.)
- Heat a large non-stick skillet with a tablespoon oil over medium low heat. Dip each piece one at a time in the beaten egg, and carefully place in the heated skillet.
- Cook for 1 to 2 minutes each side, adding more oil if needed, until slightly golden.
- Repeat until all the ingredients are pan fried. Add an additional tablespoon of oil each time. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.