May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and to celebrate, we will be adapting recipes from Asia with olive oil.
By Janey Lee
One of the fastest-growing markets when it comes to olive oil consumption is Korea, where EVOO now accounts for over 21% of the market share, topping both canola and sesame oil usage. This reflects a similar trend in the Asia/Pacific market overall, where industry analysts expect that the market for olive oil will grow by 4.2% by 2025 . Experts theorize that one of the driving factors of this growth is an increase in global travel and greater exposure to the Mediterranean diet, which has consistently ranked as one of the healthiest eating patterns.
The increase in olive oil usage can be found in both foodservice and home kitchens. The signature dish at Korea's most popular fried chicken chain is "olive chicken," which is fried in olive oil.
My mother, who immigrated to the United States from Korea in 1977 switched to olive oil for her cooking around 15 years ago. It's the only cooking oil she has in her house other than sesame oil (which she only uses for flavoring). Why did she switch? For health reasons. Like other Koreans, she strongly believes that food is medicine and for that reason, she added olive oil to our family's diet.
But let's move onto the cooking! For today's post, I recruited my mother to share her recipe for Jun (also called Jeon) which are pan-fried foods coated with a soft egg batter. Jun can be made with fish, meat, or vegetables. This simple recipe requires no special ingredients and is easy to make at home.
Korean Fried Zucchini Discs (Ho Bak Jun)
- 3 zucchini
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Slice the zucchini into rounds around 1/8" thick
- Beat two eggs and season with salt
- Mix the finely minced garlic with the eggs
- Put 1 cup of flour in a bowl and set it next to the eggs
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- Working in batches, roll the zucchini in flour and then dip in the egg wash.
- Place in pan and fry for one minute. When browned, flip and cook for 1 minute on the other side.
- Add more olive oil between batches. Repeat until all zucchini slices are done.
This basic recipe can be used to make other types of Jun.
- Use thinly sliced fish filets to make Saeng Sun Jun
- Butterfly shrimp to make Sae Woo Jun
- Create meatballs to make Wan Ja Jun
You can serve with a dipping sauce. Mix together the following ingredients
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon water
- Chili pepper flakes (for heat, optional)
- Sliced scallions (optional)