Buchimgae or jijimi or chijimi is a thin, savory pancake from Korea. It’s similar to a Japanese okonomiyaki, but is a bit less complicated to make. (Also closely related is pajon, a pancake with lots of green onions.) It’s basically a pancake-like batter holding together a lot of vegetables and other ingredients. It’s a great way of using up leftovers, and holds up a lot better than okonomiyaki as a bento item I think. It makes a nice change from rice or bread based bentos.
Here are two batter recipes. One is a traditional one using wheat flour and beaten egg, the other one is a vegan and gluten-free variation. Use the one that suits your needs. The traditional one is a bit lighter and crispier, and the vegan one is denser.
To make about 4 pancakes
Heat up a frying pan or griddle, and coat with oil. (Using a little sesame oil adds a wonderful nutty flavor to the pancakes.) Mix the batter and the other ingredients together - the ratio of filler to batter should be quite high (the batter should just hold together the other things). Spread out as thinly as you can on the hot griddle or frying pan. Cook over medium-high heat until crispy and golden brown, then turn over and cook on the other side. Cut into wedges or squares.
In the meantime, mix together the dipping sauce ingredients. Serve in a small bowl alongside the pancakes. (You can also mix up a large batch of the dipping sauce, minus the green onion, and store it in the refrigerator.)
One pancake is about 350-400 calories, depending on how much oil you use, what ingredients you put in, and so on.
These pancakes can be frozen. Cut into wedges or squares, and wrap well in plastic wrap and store in ziplock bags or freezer containers. Put them in an dry non-stick frying pan over lot heat to defrost and crisp them up.
Sift the flour and salt together. Combine the egg and water. Add the liquid to the flour gradually, to form a thinnish batter. If you can, set aside to rest for at least 1/2 an hour.
After some experimenting, I discovered that using potato flour or dessicated potato flakes makes the pancakes a bit lighter and ‘bouncier’ than using rice flour alone. If you can find potato flour or potato starch, use that instead of the dessicated potato flakes. The gram flour is used mainly to add protein.
Mix or sift together all the floury ingredients. Add the water to it in stages, until you have a thinnish batter. You may need more or less than 350ml (the amount seems to depend on how dry the flours are). If you can, set aside to rest for at least 1/2 an hour.
Don’t be afraid of the kimchi by the way - they aren’t really that spicy when cooked like this. They just add lots of umami and a pleasant warmth.
Above is a very simple chijimi bento. I used the vegan batter, and added some edamame and fried tofu (aburaage) strips, to make the pancakes complete nutritionally. The dipping sauce is in a small container. Even at room temperature they were delicious! I made the sauce on the spicy side by adding a lot of chili oil.
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