Developing new vegetarian recipes is a challenge that is both frustrating and fun, creating the tastes and textures I want. Sometimes I get it right the first time, or come close.
Often, however, it takes multiple versions of a recipe to come up with a decent finished product. And with every trial that fails to deliver, I wonder if victory is an attainable goal.
Take a recent recipe for kimchi pancakes. This week was the fifth or sixth variation I’ve made, and I finally have the flavor where I want it: bursts of sesame oil, chile, garlic, and of course, kimchi.
Yet the texture remains somewhat gummy, and the pancakes don’t rise evenly. Maybe it is due to the moisture-filled ingredients, like cabbage, onion, and kimchi. I’m not willing to dilute the flavor just for a fluffy pancake. And I love the moistness.
So I wonder if there is a way to get what I want after all: a fluffy, moist, vegan pancake that has a cakey texture, loaded with chewy shiitake mushrooms and the crunch of vegetables that haven’t been cooked to death.
Arrgh! Back to the stove…