26 September 2011

Hobakjeon: Pan-Fried Pumpkin Side Dish


Walking along the Devereux Slough at sunset and seeing birds gliding across the peaceful surface of the water, a swan ruffling its wings off in the distance, and a lone egret fishing for supper, it is easy to slip into a deep and restful sense of well-being.  Some friends of mine are lucky enough to have a generous garden plot along the banks of this slough, and here, with the blue Pacific ocean in view beyond the slough, my friend Katy likes to relax with a book or simply sit and enjoy the calm beauty as her husband TG tends the garden with care.  With all of nature smiling on and with the attention of a careful gardener, it's no surprise their garden flourishes as it does, bursting with tomatoes, squash, and corn that grow bigger and tastier there than in any other garden I've seen.

TG, not only a great gardener but also a fantastic cook, once shared with me some Chinese pork, cucumber, and corn soup that he'd made using produce from the garden.  The flavor and texture of the corn, still on the cob, were wonderful; each kernel, separating easily from the cob, had remarkable roasted flavor and pleasing, hearty chewiness.

On another occasion I was the delighted recipient of one of their Chinese-style pumpkins--pale, speckled green skin on the exterior and deep golden-yellow flesh inside.  Part of the giant pumpkin I used in making a pot of doenjang jjigae.  After simmering in doenjang broth, the chunks of pumpkin became melt-in-your-mouth jewels, seriously so much better than any squash or pumpkin I've had before.

Pumpkin.  Isn't it that time of year again?  Time to pull out the pumpkin recipes, like pancakes and cinnamon rolls and goulash and pie... and now these great pan-fried pumpkin slices.

With more of TG's fresh pumpkin left on hand, I was inspired to prepare some of it as hobakjeon sometimes is: thinly sliced, dredged in flour and beaten egg, and then pan-fried until soft in the center and lightly crispy on the exterior.  Dipped into a salty-sour sauce, it was an absolutely delicious side dish for dinner one evening, and leftovers made a great snack the next day.  If you're getting in the mood for Fall and buying pumpkins and squash, why not try making this tasty pumpkin dish!

Hobakjeon (호박전) Pan-Fried Pumpkin Side Dish

Squash or pumpkin, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thin (if you don't have garden-fresh Chinese pumpkin, try Korean hobak or butternut squash)
all-purpose flour, for dredging
beaten egg
vegetable oil, for frying

Coat the bottom of a large non-stick skillet with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Dredge slices of pumpkin in flour, shake off excess flour, then dip in beaten egg to coat thoroughly.  Place immediately in hot oil and fry until golden, turning once to cook both sides.  Remove cooked pumpkin from pan and place on paper toweling to blot oil.  Repeat with remaining pumpkin slices, adding more oil to the pan as needed.  Serve warm with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 green onion (green parts only), finely sliced
1 tsp. Korean red chili powder (고추가루/gochugaru), optional

1 comment:

Post a Comment