June 26, 2008
My personal favorite: Korean mung bean pancakes (bindae duk)
As with many other Korean special occasion foods that are made in large quantities or not at all, mung bean pancakes (bindae duk) are not something one decides to make on a whim. Two ingredients require overnight soaking and the resulting quantities are usually sufficient to feed the entire Duggar brood(although something tells me Korean food isn’t a fav in the Duggar house). For me, however, it is one of those foods evocative of large festive gatherings, the smell delicious foods wafting through the house overheated by cooking and bodies, ending inevitably with the need to unbutton one’s waistband.
One can buy freshly made bindaeduk at Korean mega-marts like Assi and H-Mart, but they never look like this version. Fernbrake, as known as bracken, is relatively expensive and often eschewed for cheaper ingredients like cabbage and carrots. My mother always puts fernbrake (kosari ) in her bindae duk and this recipe is a variation of the kind I grew up with.
In order to make this dish, you need to buy the smallest bags of dried mung beans and fernbrake you can can find at your Korean or Asian grocery store. This recipe calls for 8 C. of soaked mung beans which was an entire bag (sorry, I didn’t note the weight of the bag). One bag of dried bracken makes a shockingly large amount. You can soak the entire bag and use the remaining fernbrake for bibim bap, or just soak what you need.
This bag wasn’t even labeled as “bracken” or “fernbrake.” “Wild Greens” and “Well-being Food” are the only words in English on the package. Gotta love cryptic labeling.
That 100g bag of unpromising dark bracken expands to this soft, uniquely fragrant “meaty” vegetable.
Mung bean pancakes are a great source of protein, gluten-free, and if omitting the pork, can be vegan. The beans give the pancake a heavier texture and you’ll feel full after just a couple (although you will keep eating since they’re so tasty!).
Korean Mung Bean Pancakes (Bindae duk)
Yields 35-40 3-4″ pancakes
8 C. mung beans, soaked overnight with any green casing picked over and discarded
1½ C. hydrated fernbrake, cut 1-2″ long
1 bunch sliced scallions, cut 1-2″ long
1½ C. chopped kimchi
8 oz. thinly sliced pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ C. sesame seed oil
salt and pepper to taste
oil to fry
(you can add up to 4 lightly beaten eggs to this recipe if you wish to make your pancakes less dense.)
Working in batches, liquefy mung beans 2 cups at a time in a blender, adding about 1/4 of water used to soak the beans each batch.
Combine pureed mung bean, fernbrake, scallions, kimchi, pork, garlic, sesame seed oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Heat oil on griddle or large frying pan on medium to medium high. Ladle about 1/4 or 1/3 C. on griddle, making sure not to make the pancakes too thick. I like to keep them between 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Turn over when golden brown (about 4-5 minutes) and add more oil as needed. Serve hot with Korean dipping sauce.
Mung bean pancakes freeze very well, so go ahead and make that large batch. Just defrost and refry when you have a hankering for these delicious pancakes.