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35 mins

Maangchi's Real Korean Cooking
Serves 4

Perilla leaves have a distinctive minty, herbal taste that goes well with meat. Here they are folded over a savory filling of beef, tofu, onion, soy sauce, and garlic, then dipped in a light egg batter and fried. Koreans make these pancakes for parties and special occasions, not only because they taste great, but also because the green pouches look pretty on the table. Serve them as a snack, an appetizer with drinks, or as a side dish with rice.

This recipe uses the same savory meat filling as Chili Pepper Pancakes, so you can easily double the filling and make them both at once. If you have leftover beef mixture, make little meatballs about 1 inch in diameter, coat them with flour and beaten egg, and panfry them in a nonstick skillet in a little bit of vegetable oil. You can buy perilla leaves at Korean markets, and you can also grow them at home. You might even have some growing near your house if you have Koreans in the neighborhood.

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© 2022 Maangchi · Reproduced with permission. · Excerpted from Maangchi, © 2015 by Maangchi. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Photographs © by Maangchi 2015
  • Step 1

    Make the dipping sauce: Combine the soy sauce and vinegar in a small bowl and sprinkle in the sesame seeds.

  • Step 2

    Make the filling: Wrap the tofu in a paper towel or piece of cheesecloth and squeeze to remove excess water.

  • Step 3

    Combine the beef, garlic, onion, scallion, tofu, soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper, and sugar in a bowl and mix well.

  • Step 4

    Put the flour in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat the egg with the salt in another shallow bowl.

  • Step 5

    Dust both sides of a perilla leaf lightly with flour. Place a heaping tablespoon of the beef filling on one half of the leaf, spreading it to the edges. Fold the other half of the leaf over the meat and press to seal. Coat the packet with flour again. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling. Transfer to a plate.

  • Step 6

    Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet. Working in batches, so you don’t overcrowd the pan, dip the packets into the beaten egg and place in the skillet. Cook until lightly crisped and light golden brown on the first side, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is lightly crisp and golden, 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter. Serve the pancakes with the dipping sauce on the side.

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