23 (Mon) July 2012
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Korea-
with the Family
Saengseon jeon is a Korean dish. Fish (saengseon) – any firm white fish, usually pollack (myeongtae), sometimes cod (daegu) (as here) – thinly sliced, dredged in flour, coated with egg wash, lightly pan-fried in oil. Almost always included as part of an assorted jeon platter.
So easy, convenient, and quick to make. Tasty, healthy. Also, it can be made well in advance and enjoyed at room temperature, even cold, straight out of the fridge.
- 400 g sliced fish
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp salt (or 1 tbsp of Yeondu)
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 6 tbsp vegetable oil (TIP: soybean oil is considered ideal) (TIP: avoid olive oil, especially EVOO, which has a strong flavor that makes Korean food taste distinctly non-Korean)
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
1. Combine the flour and baking powder in a shallow plate.
2. Beat the eggs with the salt and pepper in a deep bowl.
3. Combine the vegetable oil and sesame oil in a bowl.
4. In a skillet over low-medium heat, pour enough oil to cover the bottom in a thick layer.
5. Dredge the fish pieces in the flour mixture and dust off the excess (TIP: use chopsticks or tongs to avoid cakey build-up on the fingers).
6. Dip the dredged pieces in the egg wash, covering both sides of the fish (TIP: let the fish sit for a couple seconds to absorb sufficient egg).
7. Transfer the fish to the skillet, working in batches so as to avoid overlapping the pieces (TIP: hold the plate containing the egg wash directly over the skillet to facilitate the transfer, which will unavoidably entail errant drops of egg wash).
8. Cook for about 1 minute, just until golden brown on the underside, then flip over and cook for another 1 minute (TIP: if the cooking time is taking longer/shorter than 1 minute per side, adjust the heat).
9. Remove the fish to a plate lined with paper towels.
10. Refill the skillet with oil, as necessary, between batches.
11. Serve as an appetizer on its own or as a side dish in a traditional Korean spread of rice and soup (as here) (TIP: allow to rest for at least 10 minutes, giving the components time to set and firm up a bit).
12. Optionally, serve with light soy sauce (or ketchup!) (or tartare sauce!!).
Condiments aren’t strictly necessary, particularly if the jeon is seasoned right. Here, just for presentation purposes, I added the juice from a jar of soy-pickled chilies that my aunt had given me.