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Kimchi Pancakes with Tamari and Sesame Dipping Sauce

Kimchi is Korea's national dish. It is a traditional fermented side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings. It has become hugely popular lately especially with the health benefits associated with fermenting foods.
Red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru) are now used as the main ingredient for the flavour and heat for many varieties of kimchi. And Baechu, or napa cabbage the most common vegetable.
Kimchi is made by lacto-fermentation, the same process that creates sauerkraut and traditional dill pickles. In the first stage, the cabbage is soaked in a salty brine that kills off harmful bacteria. In the second stage, the remaining Lactobacillus bacteria (the good bacteria) convert sugars into lactic acid, which preserves the vegetables and gives them that wonderful, tangy flavour.

After buying some fresh kimchi from the Bondi markets I decided to try the kimchi in a popular pancake-style. I served these beauties as a starter to an Asian feast for 5 people and these were a huge hit – the pancakes puff up so wonderfully and have the most delicious texture, and are perfect in the cooling lettuce with the hot, spicy sauce. 
To turn it into a meal serve alongside some marinated steak or BBQ chicken.
This recipe is based on one by Karen Martini from the Good Food section of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Pictured: Kimchi Pancakes

150g plain flour
150g potato starch
2½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt flakes
320g kimchi, squeezed of liquid and chopped, 50ml liquid reserved
6 spring onions, finely sliced
Oil, for shallow-frying
1½ tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Iceberg lettuce cups, to serve – cut in half and soak in cold water to easily remove the leaves
Coriander sprigs, to serve
60ml tamari or a good soy sauce
1½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp sesame oil
1 long red chilli, finely sliced
In a large bowl – mix the flour, potato starch, baking powder and salt. 
Whisk in the reserved kimchi liquid and one cup of water to make a smooth batter. 
Fold in the chopped kimchi and half the spring onion. 
The batter should have the consistency of a thick pancake batter; add another 50 millilitres of water if it's too stiff.
For the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Preheat a couple of centimetres of oil in large, flat-based frying pan until nice and hot.
Drop two tablespoons of batter for each fritter into the pan, cook three or four at a time for 2½ minutes on one side. 
Sprinkle a little spring onion and sesame seeds on the uncooked sides and then flip and cook for another minute. 
Drain well on paper towel and repeat.
Serve the pancakes on a platter with the other serving ingredients ready - to wrap in the lettuce cups, drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with coriander.

Makes  around 12 pancakes