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Dubu Jeon: Korean Keto Tofu Pancake

Dubu Jeon: Korean Keto Tofu Pancake

Recently, my friend mentioned that she’s been feeling like someone made an error translating the famous Mayan calendar. That it must have said that the world will end in 2020, not 2012. Can’t say I don’t relate.

The world’s been a depressing place recently. It feels like every day I wake up to more depressing news. People have always been fascinated by trainwrecks and we’re living in the midst of a big one right now. 

See, I know it’s not good for my mental health. I need to wall it off. But the bad news is big, overwhelming, and everywhere.

Escapism is all that’s left. And my escapism has recently been… Korean cooking vlogs.

Korean cooking vlogs give me the same feeling that Ghibli movie food scenes do: they feel homey. Comfortable. Like coziness personified.

(Only there’s no plot to follow so I don’t need to use my brain power. Perfect for relaxation).

Also, most of the stuff people I follow cook looks delicious.

Needless to say, I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to try my hand at cooking written out in the form of a long list.

Dubu Jeon – a traditional Korean tofu pancake – was at the top of the list.

Here’s why: it’s traditional. And the beauty of traditional cuisine is that there’s no universality to it. Good luck trying to find a ‘signature’ dubu jeon recipe. As a Georgian, I relate to that. It also meant that I didn’t need to think a lot about Keto-fying the recipe and searching for substitutes for certain specific ingredients. Because there are no specific ingredients. Seriously. I’ve watched no less than half a dozen YouTubers make dubu jeon and the only universal things added were chives and eggs

Other than that, they all seemed to simply add the stuff they liked:

So what are popular ingredients for dubu jeon?

Aside from the chives that are pretty much a given for most Korean recipes, I’ve learned, everyone simply follows their own taste.

I’ve seen recipes add garlic, zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, hot red chili peppers, mushrooms, onions, etc.

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Needless to say, while carrots are not a usual thing on a Keto-menu, there are plenty of other, Keto-friendly ingredients to choose from.

On the other hand, from what I’ve seen, usually only 3 to 4 extra ingredients are added to tofu. Just in different combinations. It can be chives, carrots, and zucchini. Or chives, carrots and mushrooms. Maybe just mushrooms and chives. 

But I’ve never come across a ‘loaded’ dubu jeon recipe. Most keep it simple. 

It may be because they just don’t want to work with too many ingredients at once in order to make the pancakes quicker, but that works perfectly for me. Too many ingredients together tend to overwhelm my palette and not in a good way.

I’ve tried different combinations, but I’ve found that I prefer fewer ingredients when it comes to dubu jeon. My favorite recipe is the one that combines chives, fried oyster mushrooms, garlic, and some of my favorite spices.

But you’re absolutely free to play around with your favorite ingredients. That’s the beautiful thing about traditional cuisine. It’ll still be a dubu jeon.

Dubu Jeon

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 10 pancakes

Equipment

  • 2 mixing bowls
  • A non-stick pan
  • A stove
  • A garlic press (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of firm tofu (16 to 18 oz)
  • 1 pack of oyster mushrooms (6 to 8 oz)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely crushed (or 1 tbsp of garlic paste)
  • A bunch of chives
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour (preferably blanched, for coating)
  • Chili powder (optional, to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper (to taste)
  • Olive oil

Instructions

  • Clean and chop your oyster mushrooms. Heat some olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Sautee the oyster mushrooms for 5-6 minutes. Add a bit of salt and black pepper.
  • While the mushrooms are sauteing, drain the tofu and mash it. Then drain again.
  • Chop the chives and crush the garlic into a paste (use a garlic press if you have one). Drain the fat from the pan and transfer oyster mushrooms to a paper towel. Let them cool.
  • While the mushrooms are cooling, add the chives, garlic, and 2 eggs to your tofu. Mash together.
  • When the mushrooms are cool, add them to the tofu mix alongside some chili powder (optional) with some more salt and black pepper. Mix again until everything is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
  • Put 1/2 cup of (blanched) almond flour in another mixing bowl. Form the tofu mixture into patties and lightly coat each one with the flour.
  • Heat some olive oil in the pan over medium/medium-high heat again. Fry the tofu pancakes from both sides until golden-brown (do not flip until one side is done, or they might fall apart).
  • Serve right away with some soy sauce.

Notes

You can add oyster mushrooms to the tofu mix without frying too. Though I find they are less flavorful this way.
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