Shake up Lenten dinners with variety

March 20, 2023

It’s customary for people participating in Lenten fasting to skip meat and poultry dinners on Fridays between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. It is a sacrifice symbolic of the sacrifices of Jesus Christ. However, opting for vegetables and fish in lieu of meats doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor.

“Seafood Pancakes” from “Judy Joo’s Korean Soul Food” (White Lion Publishing) are a popular Korean appetizer. Any shellfish can be substituted, but the ingredients listed help keep the pancakes crispy. Enjoy this dish as a light lunch or in addition to other offerings for a tasty dinner.

Seafood Pancakes

Makes 4 to 5 pancakes

2 ounces mussels, cleaned and debearded

2 ounces clams, cleaned

31⁄4 ounces rice flour

2 tablespoons cornflour

21⁄2 ounces self-rising flour

2 tablespoons dwengjang (Korean soy bean paste)

1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 large pinches of sea salt

31⁄2 ounces brown shrimp

5 spring onions, julienned

1 teaspoon garlic, grated or finely chopped

2 red chillies, thinly sliced at an angle
Vegetable oil for frying

In a large saucepan, add enough water so that it’s three-quarters full and bring to a boil. Add the mussels and clams and cook until the shells open. Remove the shellfish and set aside to cool. Retain 3⁄4 ounces of the cooking liquor then strain it to remove the meat from the shells of the mussels and clams and set aside.

In a large bowl, gently whisk together the rice flour, cornflour, self-rising flour, dwengjang, pepper, salt and 8 ounces of cold water and liquor from the cooked shellfish until smooth. Add the brown shrimp, mussels, clams, spring onions, garlic and red chillies (keeping the seeds, if you like more heat) and stir batter until thoroughly combined.

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat a generous drizzle of oil over a medium-high heat. Spoon in the batter and spread it evenly to form a pancake about 5 inches wide. Fry until golden brown and crispy on the base, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Carefully flip and cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes until the other side is golden. Transfer to a kitchen paper-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the frying pan as needed.

Serve immediately with a favorite dipping sauce.