Saturday, February 26, 2011

Seoul Cooking: Salteñas Cakes

I created this recipe a few hours ago, and it turned out so well I had to post about it.

This came about because I wanted to make something nice for Sunday brunch at home without having to go to the store first. We've been eating out a decent amount recently so there wasn't much to build on. M. reminded me about a bag of sweet potatoes that we needed to use. With that, I decided to make a kind of potato cake using twigim flour. While I was cooking the cakes I thought about what to pair them with, since we didn't have any sour cream or plain yogurt, my usual potato cake accompaniment. We had all kinds of hot sauce to shower them with, but that alone seemed kind of boring. Suddenly, I remembered the two hard boiled eggs we had sitting in the fridge. Combined with raisins and chopped green olives, it became a salteñas-inspired topping for the sweet potato cakes, an homage to Julia's. Eating them was a bit like eating a deconstructed empanada.

Hard boiled eggs, olives, raisins - somehow, it works
Salteñas Cakes
Serves 2 for a hearty brunch

For the salteñas topping:
 *2 hard boiled eggs, chopped into bite-sized pieces
*10-12 green olives, chopped
*a small handful of raisins
*dash of freshly ground black pepper

For the cakes:
*3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
*Half a thinly sliced onion
*Twigim flour (seasoned flour for deep frying; substitute all-purpose flour with a bit of garlic powder and salt)
*1 teaspoon chili powder

Whisk the flour and chili powder with water until you get a thin batter (I didn't measure; pancake batter consistency or maybe a bit thinner). When the batter is smooth and lump-free, mix in the sweet potatoes and onion.

Beautifully browned cakes
Meanwhile, heat up a large skillet over medium heat. Add a bit of oil (or butter for something more decadent) to the pan; when the oil's hot, add dollops of the sweet potato mixture and spread them out thin, pressing them out (a measuring cup with a flat bottom works great for this). Cook the cakes on one side until they start to brown a bit, then flip and cook the other side, pressing to thin them out evenly. Continue flipping, cooking, and pressing until they are thin and crispy and the sweet potato and onion are cooked through. Remove to a serving plate and continue until you've used up the rest of the mixture. To serve, spoon a bit of salteñas topping onto the center of one cake,  add a bit of hot sauce, fold in half and enjoy. If you have some, yogurt or sour cream would be great with these too.


Julie said...

You know I love green olives, but I don't think I can find twigim flour in podunk Nebraska. What is it?

Jaemus said...

Yes, of course, why didn't that occur to me before; This recipe has Julie written all over it...olive jam!

Thanks for reminding me about the twigim flour; I was going to add substitutions. It's a seasoned batter mix that you can get here that's used for twigim, which is Korean tempura (basically), but instead you could just use All-purpose flour and add a bit of salt and garlic powder (by a bit I mean like, a pinch of salt and maybe a scant teaspoon of garlic powder; or if you're using a garlicky chili powder then you probably don't need to add any to it).

Really no special reason why I used twigim flour, in other words - it was just what I happened to have on hand.

Let me know how they turn out if you end up making them! They were really tasty.

Cathy said...

OK, this made me reealllly miss Julia's, and it also inspired me... I've got homemade saltenas in the oven right now, fingers crossed they turn out ok! i didn't use a recipe for pretty much the first time in my life, which just goes to show how inspirational your post actually was :) anyway, i threw chicken, potato, hard boiled egg, peas, olives, and raisins with a little bit of cinnamon and ginger into a sliced-up pie shell. i'll let you know if they're edible! yay!

Jaemus said...

Thanks, so glad it had that effect!

Your recipe sounds good, looking forward to hearing how it turned out!


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