If there’s a food that I crave that will likely not do well to go, it’s something like haemul pajeon. Well, anything fried really.
When the recent craving struck, I went back and forth with wanting to make it will all purpose flour or to get creative with my new recipe development skills. So much stress over food, right? On a whim, I went with the creative, gluten-free challenge route. Because, I also have extra ingredients left over from last month’s experiments.
The results: a pancake of sorts, but not a pajeon, and not what I was expecting. It reminded me of when I attempted a totally un-photo-worthy gluten-free dutch baby at the start of the shelter. For that experiment, I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-for-1 Baking Flour mix.
The pajeon was still edible, especially when eaten with the soy-vinegar dipping sauce, but..chewy, in an undesirable way. My goal was for a lacy, crispy, mildly chewy connection of gluten to its seafood filling – instead, the result was more of a thick, endlessly chewy, knife-and-fork kind of cake.
I used a blend of millet, sorghum, and rice flours, as well as tapioca and potato starches. Taste-wise, this combination wasn’t bad, and well, it was fried, after all. Overall, the pajeon fried decently. Even if it wasn’t a textural win, the color wasn’t terrible.
The experimental factor was using 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum, and I think that the xanthan gum did this experiment in. Xanthan gum is a food additive that (fun fact) is also found in toothpaste and industrial products. It’s a stabilizer and a thickener that is popular in gluten-free baking. And I could tell even that seemingly minuscule 1/4 teaspoon made the batter texture a little..slimy. A lot of water was required to thin the batter out, and even then it was still quite viscous. So, if I attempt this again, I will omit the xanthan gum and see what happens.
The kindly reminder is that recipe development and testing isn’t always pretty. So much of the craft of cooking has always been achieved through trial and error.
To be continued..