Image courtesy of AGO
By Renée Bellefeuille, AGO Executive Chef
Oh, the gourds I know! As we, here in Ontario, cling to the end of autumn, it is the perfect moment to salute the last of the harvest holdouts. Technically a fruit, universally considered a vegetable, pumpkins and squash are long season crops, able to withstand temperatures as low as minus two in the field, making them perfectly in season now until the hard frost.
Although all pumpkins and squash originated in the Americas, they are now an international food. In Korea, pumpkins are used in a number of dishes, including pumpkin porridge (Hobakjuk, 호박죽), which is known for reducing swelling after surgery, and pumpkin pancakes ( 늙은 호박전 neulgun hobak jeon), which translates to “the aged pumpkin pancakes.” These sweet/savoury fritter-like pumpkin pancakes come alive when topped with a tangy dipping sauce, or paired with a fried egg.
PS: Beyond being a delicious and versatile food, pumpkins are nutritious and linked too many health benefits. They are one of the best-known sources of beta-carotene – a powerful antioxidant that gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant colour.
Yield 10 pancakes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 –15 minutes
For the pancakes:
450 grams (or 1 lb) pumpkin, kabocha or buttercup squash, seeded and peeled
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 medium-sized red onion, finely sliced
1 green chili, finely diced, (de-seed if you are worried about spice level)
1/2 to 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
For the dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 green chili, seeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seed