"Flapjacks, crêpes, pajeon, dosa, blini, tortillas, crespelle, jian bing, pikelets, ataif, blintzes, bánh cuốn, palačinka, injera …the varieties are as endless as the cooks who prepare them and the countries they hail from."
I was able to rule out traditional American breakfast pancakes right away, having been traumatized by sogginess as a child. I still won't eat them, and I shy away from syrup, as well (syrup + big thick pancake = soggy), though I do love a nice crispy waffle with jam on top. I could go on about my childhood trauma, but I'll spare you and just get to pancakes I do like.
I love savory pancakes of all sorts and particularly Korean jeon (or jun). Jeon are pancake-like dishes made from a sturdy batter of flour, eggs, water and a little oil. Different fillings result in different dishes, and include scallions, shellfish, white fish, meats and all sorts of vegetables. Even though the name of the dish changes with each type of filling used, most people just call any Korean pancake pa jun (or pajeon) which is actually the well-known version made with scallions.
Pajeon are large pancakes made in a skillet, requiring cooking on both sides. Although the batter is very sturdy, they can be a little tricky to flip if you've really loaded them up with filling. You can watch Mark Bittman prepare them here, and see the recipe I adapted here.
Korean Fish and Vegetable Pancakes
adapted from Mark Bittman in The New York Times
Serves 4 - 6 as an appetizer and 3 for a main meal
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil, more as needed
1 1/2 cups water
5 scallions, green parts only, cut into 3-inch lengths and sliced lengthwise
20 chives or 5 chopped scallions
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 small yellow or green squash, trimmed and julienned
1/2 pound firm white fish, cooked and flaked
1 tablespoon rice or white vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot pepper oil
3 - 4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, eggs and oil with the water until a smooth batter is formed. Stir in the scallion greens, chives, carrots, squash and fish.
Heat the oil in an 8- inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Ladle in about a quarter of the batter and spread it out evenly into a circle. If the batter seems too thick you can thin it with a little more water for the next ones. Turn the heat down to medium and cook until the bottom is browned, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter. As the pancakes are finished you can drain the on paper towels, and place in a warm oven to keep hot.
Make the dipping sauce by mixing together the vinegar, sesame oil, hot pepper oil, soy sauce and sugar.
Cut pancakes into small triangles and serve with dipping sauce.