The chef: Hooni Kim
Its restaurants: Danji and Hanjan, both in New York
What he’s known for: Deceptively simple and masterfully executed Korean cuisine that is both traditional and modern
NOT EVERYBODY returns to its roots via Michelin-starred cuisines. But that’s how it turned out for Hooni Kim. The Korean-born chef arrived in New York City in 1982, at the age of 10, but didn’t start cooking his native cuisine until after graduating from culinary studies and working with some of the greats. city ââleaders.
At 32, Mr. Kim was at Masa, the famous Japanese restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. âThe chef loved Korean food, so I made it to [the staff] meals three times a day, âhe said. “Some of the dishes on my menus still come from that time.” Korean cuisine on the fly for discerning chefs, Mr. Kim has applied improvisation and technical know-how equally, a combination that sets his cuisine apart even today.
Take this squid, green onion and scallop patty, her first contribution to Slow Food Fast. Like the fried version at his Hanjan restaurant, it’s thick, multi-texture, brackish, and just a little sweet. But this one is pan-fried, like in his other restaurant, Danji. âFor the pancake to be even crispier, the batter has to be very cold,â the chef said. “That way, when it hits the hot oil, it fry immediately and get really crispy.” However, this spirit of improvisation prevails; Mr. Kim is not the type to make difficult recipes at home. âEven if you don’t fry this properly,â he promised, âit will still be good.â
Pan-fried seafood pancake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Â¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 cup of club soda
- 1 teaspoon of grated garlic
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of mirin rice wine
- teaspoon of sesame oil
- 3 medium fresh squid, tentacles and bodies separated, cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces
- Â½ pound of bay scallops
- 2Â½ bunches green onions, white and light green parts only, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, club soda, garlic, 1 tbsp soy sauce, sugar and egg yolk. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the dough in the freezer while preparing the other ingredients. (If you hold for more than 10 minutes, transfer to the refrigerator.)
- Prepare the dip: In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin and sesame oil. Reserve the sauce.
- Stir squid, scallops and green onions into chilled dough.
- Place a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Once the oil is very hot and shimmering, ladle half of the pancake batter and spread it evenly across the pan. Sear pancake until golden brown at bottom and crispy at edge, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until the wrong side is golden and the center is cooked through, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the rest of the dough and oil.
- Cut the pancakes into quarters and serve with the dipping sauce.
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