Incredible korean style crispy green pancakes – vegan, gluten free, low carb, paleo

You know when something tastes so good you can’t resist eating it while you cook, and when you finally get to the table you forget all about things like table manners and cutlery and start tearing bits off with your hands in excitement? This is one of those things. It took me a full 15 minutes of eating before I could muster enough sense to pick up the fork. I’m stuffed now but still find myself longingly staring at the uneaten half of my third helping. Oh yes. This is one to get the fat-pants out for.

Except, it isn’t… It’s almost all veggies, with gram flour, onions, vegan kimchi  (thank you miss Maangchi!) and seasonings – apart from the oil used to fry them in there aren’t that many calories in them at all, for the way they taste. It’s like an amazing, crispy, pakora-like pancake but a billion times better… No overabundance of powdery dough, just the sweet, cruncy green veggies coated in a light layer of delicious, crisp, spicy batter… If I don’t stop describing this thing soon I’ll cave in and finish my plate. Make this. Especially if you find – as we did – a beautiful bunch of beets with greens intact that it’d be a crime to waste. They’re like kale but softer, less grassy and more sweet tasting. Although I’m sure baby kale or de-veined regular kale would work just as well.

Adapted from Maangchi’s kale pancake and kimchi pancake recipe vids on YouTube.

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Here it is next to some stir-fried veggies… Yummm

Ingredients – serves 3-4
1 large bunch of beet greens with stalks, maybe 150g, chopped
1.5 pak choi, washed, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green onion (scallion), chopped
1 medium chilli pepper, de-seeded and chopped finely
1/4 tsp smoked Paprika
1/2 cup kimchi of choice (we used vegan homemade – to Maangchi’s easy recipe with soy sauce instead of fish sauce & pear instead of rice flour slurry)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp toasted Sesame oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp salt
About 3/4 cup water
Up to 1 cup gram flour, or as much as required to make a thin batter that coats everything.
Generous amount of oil to fry in (2tbsp per pancake)
Optional – toasted Sesame seeds as garnish

1. Put everything except frying oil and gram flour in a large bowl
2. Mix well then add half the gram flour, mixing and gradually adding more until a thin batter coats everything and there are a few tablespoons more of it at the bottom of the bowl
3. Heat your pan with 2tbsp oil on high, putting ladlefuls of the mixture into it when hot, then flattening them out to make a relatively thin pancake (thinner means crispier and tastier). Fry until crispy on the bottom (around 3 min) then flip using a spatula, or just using the pan if you want to show off. Cook the other side until that’s crispy too, a few more min.
4. Transfer to a plate then start the next pancake in the same way. Stack the pancakes to keep them warm as you cook. Try not to eat too many as you fry!
5. Serve immediately, topped with toasted Sesame seeds if you like.
Enjoy!

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My favourite tomato, onion & herb cheesey quesadillas

We all have days off.  Days off work, off our diets, days when you forget the rules and just enjoy something for the sake of it, without feeling guilty, just because we need it.  This is one of my favourite foods for a day off.  If you don’t know about the magical thing that is a quesadilla, its like a super easy stuffed tortilla, two crispy layers filled with my favourite combinations of flavours and all held together with the most glorious gooey, melted cheese.  You can make it in 5 minutes flat, it’s healthier and faster than both pizza and its eastern cousin the paratha, and you could use the fillings and toppings from either of those here.  You can use what you have in the house, but the particular combination I’ve used here is the best I’ve tried.  As long as you spread a thinnish layer of your fillings and add a sparse sprinkle of cheese to hold it all in, have fun with it.  You need to make this, trust me.  You can thank me later.

quesadilla

Ingredients – makes 1 quesadilla (serves 1 as a snack or light lunch)

  • 2 medium/large tortilla flatbreads of choice – I used white flour tortillas here
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tbsp finely sliced/ chopped baby plum tomatoes (or 1 tbsp sundried tomato, chopped – anything flavourful)
  • a pinch of dried thyme, or 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley or coriander (cilantro)
  • optional – 1 tsp sundried tomato oil (yum)
  • 3 tbsp grated hard cheese like cheddar
  • optional – lemon wedges or guacamole dip to serve (but please not the supermarket jars!)
  1. heat a large, round frying pan without putting any oil on it.  Put one of the tortillas flat on the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle over all of the other ingredients fairly evenly, leaving a 1cm-1.5cm gap all around the edge of the tortilla. It is important the cheese especially is evenly distributed.
  2. when you see the cheese start to melt, immediately place the second tortilla on top and squash it down with a spatula or kitchen tool of choice.  Make sure all of the second tortilla makes contact with the melted cheese and the whole thing gets stuck together.  Quickly slide your spatula underneath the tortilla and flip it over – you should notice what was the bottom tortilla has now become a beautiful golden colour and is crispy.
  3. Press the tortilla down carefully but firmly with the spatula, not tearing it but allowing the second side to crisp up.  After about 20-30 seconds carefully lift the quesadilla on to a plate to serve.
  4. Cut using a knife or pizza slicer, and serve immediately with your choice of garnish or dip.  Enjoy! 🙂