Savory Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe
One of the things I love about pumpkin and other winter squash is how well it goes with sweet and savory dishes. One of my favorite pumpkin dishes is a Korean-style pumpkin pancake. It’s not the flour pan-fried breakfast favorite that you douse with maple syrup. This is a savory, fritter-type cake with chives and served with a soy dipping sauce. Pumpkin pancakes make a wonderful side dish or appetizer.
This is a winter squash version of a Korean Summer Squash Pancake. Unlike the summer version, this pancake has a sweet-and salty twist that compliments the pumpkin. Danhobak, also know as kabocha or Japanese pumpkin, is the traditional winter squash used in this dish. Danhobak has a hard, knobby-looking skin and is shaped like a squat pumpkin. Its flesh is a deep orange yellow and is very sweet. It’s similar to butternut squash.
Not all pumpkins are suitable for cooking. The standard jack-o'-lantern pumpkin does not provide an adequate amount of flesh for consumption. When choosing a cooking pumpkin, look for a smaller, denser variety. Many of the pumpkins used for cooking are not orange or round. Here are some varieties that are excellent cooking pumpkins: 'Baby Pam', 'Sugar Pie', 'New England Pie', 'Autumn Crown' and 'Marina Di Chioggia'. If you are not a fan of pumpkins, you can substitute with other winter squash. Butternut and acorn work well in this dish.
- 1 pound fresh pumpkin
- 1 bunch of chives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup flour
- 2-3 tablespoons oil for frying
- 2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of Sriracha (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Peel, seed, and slice the pumpkin thinly into 1/8-inch thick matchsticks. A mandoline with a julienne blade works great for this task.
Put pumpkin matchsticks in a bowl, sprinkle with sugar and salt, toss and let it sit for 15 minutes to extract moisture. Do not drain.
Add the chives, mix well.
Add flour and mix well. Adjust amount of flour if needed. The amount of flour needed will depend on the amount of liquid extracted from pumpkin. The batter should coat the pumpkin, with a little extra sitting in the bowl. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Spread 2-3 tablespoonfuls of pumpkin batter. Spread into a thin layer with a spatula. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until you get slight golden crust on both sides. Press with a spatula gently to sear the surface as you flip to the other side. Drizzle more oil if needed.
Serve hot with dipping sauce.
For the dipping sauce:
Mix the soy sauce, vinegar and Sriracha. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.