Recipe: Gluten-Free Green Garlic Jeon

Gluten-Free Green Garlic Jeon
Gluten-Free Green Garlic Jeon / Photo: Emily Han

Young green garlic is tender, sweet, and here for just a short while in spring. Harvested before the garlic bulbs mature, it has a mild garlic aroma without the bite and can be used in place of scallions, leeks, or other alliums. One of my favorite ways to cook green garlic is in savory Korean-style pancakes called jeon. This recipe resembles pajeon, or green onion pancakes, but the flavor is a little more delicate due to the green garlic and the use of rice flour and potato starch. Made without any wheat flour, it's gluten-free and nicely chewy. Serve it with dipping sauce as an appetizer or side dish.

Gluten-Free Green Garlic Jeon
Makes 4 pancakes

2 stalks green garlic
1 cup rice flour (not sweet or glutinous rice flour; I like using 1/2 cup brown rice flour and 1/2 cup white rice flour)
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup ice water
1 large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying (I like using grapeseed oil)
Dipping sauce (see below)

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Trim off the root ends and any tough leaves from the green garlic. Thinly slice the white and tender green parts and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours and salt. Add the water, egg, and sesame oil and whisk to combine. Stir in the green garlic.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet. For each pancake, add 1/4 of the batter to the skillet and spread it evenly with the back of a spoon. Cook for about 2 minutes until the bottom is crispy and golden. Flip over and cook until the other side is crispy and golden, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the skillet and drain on towels. Repeat with the remaining batter and add more oil to the pan as necessary.

Serve warm or room temperature with dipping sauce on the side.

Dipping Sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce (use wheat-free tamari for gluten-free version)
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust quantities, if desired.

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