Jeon is a savory Korean pancake. More like a flat, eggy omelet than a fluffy pancake you'd eat for breakfast, jeon can be eaten any time of day. As a Korean American, I grew up eating lots of jeon filled with all sorts of ingredients, from green onions to fish and oysters, and sometimes, ground-beef stuffed chili peppers. One of the most popular jeon out there – the kind you'd likely get as banchan at a Korean restaurant – is "crab stick" jeon, made with imitation crab meat. I'm not a fan of the fake stuff, so when Umami Mart started carrying canned Snow Crab, I thought it would be perfect for making real-deal crab jeon. Turns out I was right – and it's pretty damn good! But you don't have to take my word for it. Here's the recipe to make Snow Crab Jeon and taste for yourself.
To pronounce "jeon" like a Korean, channel your inner Master P and really annunciate the "uhhh" in "juhhh-n."
Snow Crab Jeon
Makes about 7-8 small pancakes
First thing's first. Let's make the dipping sauce now, so it's ready to go when the jeon are hot and fresh off the pan.
DIPPING SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1 green onion, chopped
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp (or to taste) Korean gochugaru (red pepper powder)
1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds (I used black sesame seeds, but regular toasted would be better)
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside while you prepare the jeon.
3 to 4 green onions, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 carrot, shredded
1 can Shirakiku Snow Crab
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Leaves and short sprigs of cilantro for garnish (optional)
1. Crack the eggs and beat them in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Remove the tops from the green onions and chop them into small, even pieces. Set aside in a medium-size bowl.
3. Thinly slice the onion and set aside in the bowl with the green onions.
4. Peel the carrot. Then use a box grater or mandolin to shred it up. Move the carrot shreds into the bowl with the onions. Save the leftover carrot nub for later use, or eat it before you move onto step 5.
5. Open the canned snow crab and drain off the juice. You'll notice the crab is wrapped in paper, with some claw meat sitting on top of the white, flakey meat. Marvel in all that beautiful crab meat you didn't have to pick out from the crab yourself. Dump the crab into a mixing bowl and break up the meat with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
6. Add in the prepared vegetables and stir.
7. Add the cornstarch, salt, and white pepper. Incorporate ingredients together well.
8. Add the beaten eggs. Mix well. The consistency will be very eggy and runny, and not like a typical pancake batter.
9. Heat up a pan over medium-high heat with about a tablespoon of vegetable oil. If using cilantro, when the oil is hot, place a few sprigs and leaves down where you plan to lay your jeon. Imagine that the jeon will be medallion-sized, so space the leaves with that in mind. (You'll notice in the picture that I experimented by placing some of the crab claw meat on the pan with the cilantro. I hoped they'd look pretty in the finished jeon, but it didn't really do much. Just incorporate those pieces in with the rest of the crab in Step 5.) Use a ladle or spoon to stir the batter and scoop up about 1/4 cup of the egg mixture. Place the batter carefully onto the hot pan over the cilantro.
10. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on one side. Put some more cilantro springs on top if you want both sides to be pretty.
11. Flip and press the jeon with a spatula. Cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.
12. Remove the jeon from pan and cover with foil to keep warm while you finish cooking the rest of the jeon batter. Plate and serve while warm with the prepared dipping sauce.
Conbini Creations is an experiment in cooking with ingredients found in the conbini, or convenience store section, of Umami Mart’s Oakland retail shop.