Today’s recipe, Kkaennip-jeon (pan-fried perilla leaves with fillings), is a fast, fun, and light savory side dish. If you like perilla leaves (kkaennip: 깻잎), you will love this dish: the egg batter makes the lightly minty leaves a little crispy, and the juicy, savory, beef patty fillings go well with them too.
This recipe is a type of jeon, or pancake, of which there are many in Korean food. If you can’t get perilla leaves, kale works well for this recipe. Just be sure to cut the leaves into something closer to kkaennip size, about 2½ to 3 inches long from the leafy end of the leaves.
Even if you love meat, you should only use a thin layer of beef in these jeon, otherwise they will be too thick and will take too long to cook. When it’s thin, it cooks fast and the egg gets golden brown, never overcooked and burnt. They look gorgeous on the table!
15 medium size perilla leaves (kkaennip), washed and strained
8 ounces ground beef (or ground pork)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons flour
For the dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Combine beef, garlic, green onion, and onion in a bowl. Add soy sauce, sugar (if you use), ground black pepper, and sesame oil. Mix it by hand until it’s well incorporated and turns into a sticky lump. Cover and keep in the fridge until we’re ready to use it.
Strain the beaten egg through a mesh strainer over a bowl. Let it sit on the counter until we’re ready to use it.
Put flour on a cutting board and one by one, press both sides of each leaf into the flour to coat.
Take the meat out of the refrigerator. Unwrap and put about 1 tablespoon meat mixture into the inside of a leaf, thinly covering one half of it. Fold the leaf over to make a packet. Repeat with the rest of the perilla leaves and the meat mixture.
Heat up a large non-stick skillet with some vegetable oil over medium heat. Take a packet and dip into the egg so it’s totally covered, and place it onto the skillet. Add more packets until the skillet is full, but the packets aren’t crowding each other.
Cook for a few minutes until lightly crisp, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook another one or two minutes until the other side is lightly crisp. Add more oil if necessary. Flip and cook another minute or two minutes until both sides are crisp.
Remove from the heat. If you need to cook in batches, clean the pan with a paper towel before re-oiling and cooking the next batch.
Serve with dipping sauce:
Make the dipping sauce by combining all the dipping sauce ingredients and mixing well. You can garnish with a few bits of chopped green onion.
Serve together. To eat, dip a pan-fried perilla leaf into the sauce and eat.