This Thursday is Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving/mid-autumn festival). A Korean feast always includes a variety of jeon (pan-fried battered food). Luckily, I have several different jeon dishes on this blog to help you celebrate Chuseok. For example, in my modeumjeon post, I showed you how to make a type of jeon that’s pan-fried in egg batter, using different ingredients, such as hobakjeon (zucchini), saewoojeon (shrimp), and saengseonjeon (fish).
You make these jeon dishes by first dredging the main ingredients in flour, then dipping them in egg batter, and finally pan-frying them.
This kkaennip (perilla) jeon is made similarly, but it’s a variation that’s stuffed before being coated with the egg batter. The perilla leaves lend a distinct, robust flavor to the mildly flavored filling as well as provide an overall textural contrast. If you don’t have perilla leaves, you can stuff zucchinis or green chili peppers instead. Enjoy it on your Chuseok table or simply as an appetizer or side dish with any Korean meal.
12 kkaennip (perilla) pieces
For the stuffing:
4 ounces zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 small carrot
2 to 3 mushroom caps
1/4 small onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
4 ounces ground beef (or pork)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
salt (about 1/4 teaspoon) and pepper
1 tablespoon of egg batter
For the batter:
1/4 cup flour
3 large eggs, beaten
oil for pan frying
Finely chop the zucchini. Lightly salt. Set aside for about 10 minutes. Squeeze out the liquid.
Finely chop the carrot, mushrooms, and onion. Combine all the stuffing ingredients well by hand until evenly blended.
Wash both sides of the perilla leaves under running water, one leaf at a time. Shake off the excess water. Do not dry completely. Dredge both sides of the perilla leaves in the flour, one leaf at a time.
Place a perilla leaf on your hand. Add about a tablespoon of stuffing to the upper half of the perilla leaf. Spread evenly with a spoon. Bring the other half of the leaf over to cover the stuffing. Lightly flatten it with your hand. (Do this step for each leaf before the next step.)
Heat a large non-stick skillet and lightly oil, using a couple of teaspoons of oil, over medium low heat. Dip each stuffed leaf, one at a time, in the egg batter, carefully placing it in the heated skillet.
Alternatively you can stuff zucchinis or peppers:
Cut the zucchini into 1/2 inch-thick rounds. Cut out the interior with a spoon (or a melon baller). Lightly sprinkle with salt. Let sit for about 20 minutes. Pat dry excess water with a paper towel. Dredge in flour. Fill the opening with the stuffing. Coat the stuffed zucchini lightly with the flour. Dip in the egg batter. Follow the directions above to cook.
Here are some other dishes enjoyed during the Chuseok holiday:
Songpyeon (Half-moon shaped rice cakes)
Modeumjeon (Fish, Shrimp and Zucchini Pan-fried in Egg Batter)
Galbijjim (Braised Short Ribs)
Japchae (Stir-Fried Starch Noodles with Vegetables)
Nokdujeon (Savory Mung Bean Pancakes)
Sanjeok (Skewered Beef with Asparagus and Mushrooms)
Radish Soup (Mu Guk/Moo Guk)