mung bean pancakes, bindaettok, and skills every cook should know
(The recipe is at the bottom of this post.)
As I mentioned in my Quiche Epiphany, I contracted vegetarianism when I was 14. Unchecked, it grew into full blown veganism by 21. International travel cured me: It’s hard to be picky when your abroad — even less so way back when, but I still love vegetarian and vegan foods.
My guide when I was 14 was Recipes For A Small Planet. The only foods I had the skill to prepare were bean burgers — for years I ate bean burgers not knowing that with a few alterations I could have been eating Korean Bindaetteok and Indian Dosa, two high protein meatless meals which demonstrate techniques you can use to re-imagine Meatless Mondays in your homes. Later this week I’ll introduce you to Dosa, but now I’d like to ask you what is Bindeaetteok?
The best Bindaettok I had was in the Gwangjang market in Seoul, South Korea. I had my friend ask the ladies at each stall what they were made of. Their answer: Mung beans, sprouts, kim chi and nothing else. These are the essential ingredients.
I talked with several people after who each told me how they made Bindaetteok at home. These recipes could include meat, eggs, rice flour, wheat flour, specific types of kim chi, bracken and various other filling vegetables. Seasoning at the market was a side dish filled with soy sauce and vinegar with a heaping pile of onions and garlic. To that the home cook might add fish sauce, sesame oil, chilies, or season it with nothing at all. However you make it, Bindaetteok — or your personal variation of it — should be part of your repertoire.
Step one: Are you a whole food enthusiast, or do you want Bindaettok closer to the original? Whole mung beans are green. When the outer shell is removed the remaining bean is yellow. Yellow mung beans will produce and end product which is a light golden to yellow colour, but a whole foodist might want the fiber and nutrition from the whole bean resulting in a green “pancake”. (There are variation in Indian Dosa which use the whole mung bean such as Pesarattu.) Whichever you chose, soak 1/4 cup dry mung bean per person overnight.
Step two: Drain the beans and place them in a blender with the juice which rises from kim-chi, or add kim-chi to blender with plain water. I prefer to add 1 tablespoon of rice flour per 1/2 cup of dry beans. The rice flour absorbs any extra liquid, makes the end product denser, and adds carbohydrate to complete the protein. Liquify it. The mixture should be pourable for a traditional meal, but I prefer it thicker so I can shape the Bindaettok in the pan. (If it’s your first time, I suggest you start with a thicker batter. You can thin it out with each successive “pancake” to get a feel for how you like it.)
To make Bindaettok you must use kim-chi and bean sprouts, but to expand your menu and learn what you can do chose a new flavour profile and experiment.
Step three: You need mung or soy bean sprouts. Do you have the time to blanch them? If not, add them raw to a bowl. Do you have time to slice and chop? You can add vegetables. Do you want meat? Add ground pork. There is no golden ratio of bean mixture to vegetable/meat. If the mixture is too liquid for your taste, add in a bit of rice flour to absorb it.
Step four: Oil adds flavour and texture to the dish. It’s possible to bake it or dry fry it in a non-stick fry pan but you’ll lose texture, mouthfeel, and flavour. I compromise by adding enough oil to coat the bottom of a non-stick skillet. Drop the Bindaettok into the fry pan, press down, and shape. The larger the Bindaettok, the longer the cooking time. For a Ten-Minute lunch fry them as small disks over medium high heat until golden on both sides.
Step five: Serve with 1:1 vinegar:soy sauce dipping sauce.
First tier: you must use
- 1 cup yellow mung beans soaked overnight
- 1/2 cup water plus 1/2 cup chopped cabbage kim-chi
- 1 cup mung or soy spouts (you can blanch if you like)
Second tier: suggested ingredients
- 2 tablespoons rice flour
- 1/4 cup vinegar (for dipping sauce)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (for dipping sauce)
- sesame oil (for cooking and/or dipping sauce)
Third tier: optional ingredients
- 100 grams minced pork
- 1 cup chopped or sliced vegetables such as carrot, onion, green onion, capsicum, bracken, cabbage, chrysanthemum leaves, nira.
- fish sauce to taste (for dipping sauce)
- minced garlic and/or onion (for dipping sauce)
Place the soaked beans in food processor or blender with water and kim-chi, blend until smooth. While the beans are blending put all your vegetables and meat into a bowl. Heat a non-stick fry pan with sesame oil. Pour the bean mixture over the vegetables/meat and mix. Drop by spoonfuls into the frypan, press down. Fry until golden and crisp, turn and fry the other side until crisp.
While the Bindaettok are cooking, mix soy sauce and vinegar. Add fish sauce, if using. Mince onion and or garlic if using.
Put the Bindaettok on a plate and serve with the dipping sauce and optional onion/garlic.
Start to finish is 10 minutes.