Bindaetteok!!! Oh how I have missed you..I am sorry that I am so late in writing a post about you. I always wanted to post about you from the time when I started my Korean food blog. Oh..Bindaetteok..You and I go way back.. to the days when I was a kid, sitting on the kitchen floor, making bindatteok all day with my sisters…. From morning till late afternoon, I helped my sisters cook bindaetteok until I was so tired of the smell that at the end of the day, I had no appetite for dinner – which was and still IS a rarity for me!! 🙂 We had to do this because we had to make a LOT of bindaetteok in preparation for big parties or for traditional Korean holidays like New Years and Chuseok (Korean harvest moon).
Especially for Korean New Year’s, we always had bindaetteok (빈대떡) or Nokdu Jeon(녹두전) and naengmyeon (Cold Noodles Soup) all ready to serve. We fed all guests that came to pay respects to my parents. Guests came morning, noon and night and Korean style hospitality meant we almost force fed them regardless of what time of day it was and no matter how strongly they said they already ate. Because, we all knew at least half of them were just saying that.. haha..
The great thing about bindaetteok is that you can make it ahead of time and just reheat it when you need to serve. Of course, I have to tell you that bindaetteok DOES taste best when it’s just freshly cooked so if you can make it right before you eat, that’s the best way to eat it.
Now, bindaetteok comes in many variations depending on the region but most Koreans will tell you that bindaetteok originates from Northern part of Korea. Scholars say there are different theories of its origin but the one that makes the most sense to me is that it comes from the times of Goguryeo (37 BC – 668 AD : One of the ancient Three Kingdoms of Korea, located in the northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula and the southern and central parts of inner and outer Manchuria). Which then confirms the theory that the Northern style (이북식 yibukshik) bindaetteok is the original version and also the most delicious. 🙂 You may say that I’m biased and I’m fine with that. But hey, to me- our family’s bindaetteok recipe is the best.
Now the worst bindaetteok variations are the ones that mix rice flour or flour with mung beans. Because mung beans were lot more expensive than flour, restaurants added rice flour or flour to the batter. Bad versions also contain almost no kimchi. 🙁 When you do this, bindaetteok ends up being quite hard and dry. And sadly, very few restaurants get it right. So I usually don’t order bindaetteok at Korean restaurants (both in Korea or in US) unless the restaurant specializes in North Korean cuisine.
The recipe I provide below is a modernized, simplified recipe but still preserves the taste and texture of traditional authentic North Korean style bindaetteok. It is based on both my sister #2 and sister #3 recipes. Thank you sisters – as always. 😉
Servings: 12 pancakes Time: Prep 30 min + 1 hr Difficulty: Medium
- 2 C (12 oz/ 340 g) dried peeled split, mung beans (깐녹두 kkan nokdu/Lentille Verte) *kkan = peeled, nokdu = mung beans
- 2 1/4 C (540 ml) water
- 1 C ripe kimchi, sliced thin
- 1 handful of fresh bean sprouts (optionally, blanch and squeeze excess liquid)
- 3 slices of pork belly (bacon thickness) or samgyeopsal (삼겹살)
- 3 green onions
- pinch of salt
- splash of sesame oil
- lots of vegetable oil for frying
- Dipping Sauce
- 2 T soy sauce (진간장 jinkanjang)
- 1 T rice vinegar
- 1 T chopped green onions
- Soak peeled split mung beans in water according to package directions. The package I bought says 30 mins is enough. In the old days, you had to soak overnight so this is great! You may want to soak overnight just to be sure. This is the package I bought from my local market – try to buy bigger, unbroken mung beans.
- Get 1 cup ripe Kimchi, remove excess seasonings/stuffing and also squeeze out excess liquid. Cut thinly.
- Chop 2 green onions and add to kimchi and season with a splash of sesame oil (about 1 tsp).
- Cut 1 green onion into 2 in (5 cm) long pieces. Splitting thicker white ends into halves.
- Rinse a handful of bean sprouts and drain. *Note, a fully traditional recipe uses blanched bean sprouts but my sister #3 uses it raw and I agree with her that raw sprouts add extra crunch. Also simpler to make.
- Cut pork belly slices into 1 in (2.5 cm) widths and set aside.
- In a blender, add soaked and drained mung beans and enough water to just cover the mung beans.
2 cup dry beans make about 4 cup soaked mung beans. Add 1+ 1/2 cup water to 4 cup soaked mung beans and blend. Once blended, slowly ADD remaining 3/4 cup water till you have loose pancake batter consistency. The blend should look like this-
- Arrange all ingredients for Bindaetteok (mung bean pancake) like so –
- Now to 1/2 of the mung bean batter, add 1/2 of the kimchi and mix.
This is how it should look once the kimchi is mixed in. If it looks much more red then you probably added too much kimchi or you have too much kimchi liquid.
The reason for dividing the batter is because mung bean mix will start to become watery once you add salt. So it’s better to mix a smaller amount, season and make the pancakes before they turn into mung bean water. And then start another batter.
- Add about 1/8 ~ 1/4 tsp salt to season batter.
- Heat 2 T oil on medium heat in a 10″ (25 cm) frying pan. When the pan is nice and hot, pour the mung bean batter in the pan. Making about three 4-5 in” (10 – 12 cm) size pancakes.
- While pancake is cooking, top with few bean sprouts, one to two pieces of pork belly and some green onion.
- Once edges are brown, turn over and press with a spatula. Pancake is done when it is brown on both sides. Add more oil in between if the pan looks dry.
- Make the dipping sauce and serve! Best when it’s HOT off the pan.
And there you go!! You have a fabulous, gluten-free savory mung bean pancake or Bindaetteok (빈대떡) as we call it!
- Carnivore – add chopped, seasoned ground pork to batter. It’s really good. sister #2’s recipe
- Vegetarian – omit pork, add more bean sprouts and you can have a great vegetarian, protein rich pancake
- Super Traditional – add rehydrated gosari (bracken fern). I don’t add this because it doesn’t add a lot of flavor. Just a little chewy texture. Also, blanch bean sprouts and squeeze excess liquid before chopping and adding to batter. This is good but more work.
- Spicy – add chopped green chili peppers or Jalapeno peppers for more kick
- Freeze leftover blended mung bean (BEFORE you add anything like kimchi) and other ingredients like pork separately. Then just defrost and cook later by adding kimchi and green onions, etc at time of cooking. Comes out just as good as the first time. – tip from sister #3
- Also freeze leftover cooked bindaetteok and reheat. Not as fresh tasting as freezing mung bean as tip #1 but pretty good too!
- Bindaetteok is soo good with Makgeoli (Korean rice wine) and/or Naengmyeon. A great party menu for Korean food lovers. I actually recently had a party with bindaetteok – will share the menu in my next post.
Till then, eat healthy and by happy!