Korean Vegetable Pancakes with Spicy "Mayo" Sauce
In my part of the world, heat and cold are living in tandem as we swing from the 40's (degrees F) upwards to 85 (degrees F). Spring gasped its way through the last month, and rose unexpectedly with chill and rain betwixt days of sunny aptitude where temperatures rose significantly and beads of sweat rained freely. This....well, is odd (even as we joke about Chicago weather being generally unpredictable). It's not generally THIS unpredictable.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), "...there's a 62% chance that El Nino will develop during the May-July period, and more than 80% change of El Nino by the fall....When El Nino...(is) holding court in the tropical Pacific, they can affect global temperature and rain/snow patterns..." Something of note, "...in general, the warmest year of any decade will be an El Nino year...(and) global warming means...if El Nino develops this year, it increases the odds of record-warm global temperature." If an El Nino occurs in the warmest year of any decade, and we have had multiple El Nino events in the last 10 years (decade), could we all (finally) agree that something is definitely "not quite right" about climate?
Sustainability Spotlight: What is El Nino and why is it important? "El Nino (a naturally occurring event, is) a warming of the ocean surface, or above-average sea surface temperatures (SST), in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Over Indonesia, rainfall tends to become reduced while rainfall increases over the tropical Pacific Ocean. The low-level surface winds, which normally blow from east to west along the equator ("easterly winds"), instead weaken or, in some cases, start blowing the other direction (from west to east or "westerly winds"). NOAA.org.
Because of the shift in weather patterns, "(El Nino) brings droughts to Indonesia and Australia. These droughts threaten the region’s water supplies, as reservoirs dry and rivers carry less water. Agriculture, which depends on water for irrigation, is threatened. Stronger El Niño events also disrupt...(g)lobal atmospheric circulation (which) is the large-scale movement of air that helps distribute thermal energy (heat) across the surface of Earth." (NationalGeographic.org). "El Niño-related disruption of global atmospheric circulation extends beyond Pacific Rim nations (as) strong El Niño events contribute to weaker monsoons in India and Southeast Asia." This is concerning in that diseases thrive in flooding related events such as cholera, dengue, and malaria, and drought can produce wildfires leading to respiratory problems and increased emissions further adding to global climate shift.
According to Time.com, " ...(T)he increasing impact of human-induced climate change places the possibility of an El Niño now into a new context—and raises some new questions....(El Nino and La Nina) noticeably affects the Earth’s global average surface temperature. A major El Niño event can raise it by as much as a few tenths of a degree Celsius (or around half a degree Fahrenheit). Since our average temperature has already increased by 1.2 C since pre-industrial times, a sufficiently major El Niño event could even push the planet, temporarily, past 1.5 C warming. International negotiations have aimed, with increasing desperation, at reducing greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to keep us below that threshold, and the IPCC special report in 2018 described the consequences of crossing it. Would it then be too late—could (El Nino) make 1.5C warming a done deal?"
But, there is a very real possibility that as the planet continues to warm due to increased greenhouse gases, our average (El Nino or not) temperature will continue to climb, and "....that would lead us to expect the kinds of future impacts we’ve historically associated with El Niño events to occur on a more regular basis: more active Pacific typhoon seasons and less active Atlantic hurricane seasons, for example, or a wetter Los Angeles and drier Seattle."
What can we do to change the course of this "prediction?" Individuals must be the change makers; we have to demand of corporations (in how we execute our purchases of goods and materials) and our governments (how we vote and distribute "power" to those who represent us as nations) that we shift our focus to an intense need for better sustainability measures. Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by investing in better alternative energy sources (those that don't still rely upon non-renewable resources like electric vehicle (EV) batteries), and reduction in our overreliance and consumption of animal products (reducing the emissions from concentrated animal feed operations - CAFO) are ways forward.
We must all be the change that recognizes the world has climate change patterns (like El Nino) that are naturally occurring, but in conjunction with human interactions with the planet, have the potential to offer devastating effects. If we act, and act now with purpose and perseverance, we can stop the "climate clock" from tipping over the 1.5 degree C increase mark; the mark we cannot return from positively.
So, start with these vegan Korean Pancakes which give a nod to south Asian flair, and think about the notes herein for global affects on how each of us impact our world directly in our choices. Know that the changes you can (and hopefully, are!) make/making on the world can start small, but can build into something significant globally when we all start to take note of the influences we have on the world as individuals.
1 medium-small zucchini (peeled into strips)
1 medium carrot (peeled into strips)
1/4 Chinese cabbage (sliced into strips)
1 large jalapeno (sliced thin - Level 1 mandoline)
2 large radishes (sliced thin - Level 1 mandoline)
1 small handful cilantro (chopped)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chickpea (Garbanzo) flour (brand can matter for taste, I use Bob's Red Mill)
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp of the following (each):
1.5 cups water (start with 1 cup!)
2 tbsp ponzu
1 lime (juiced)
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp sriracha
2-3 tbsp avocado oil (for "frying")
Spicy "Mayo" Sauce - from my Tofu & Sweet Potato Maki Roll Bowls:
(1) 1 x 1 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)
4-5 garlic cloves (chopped)
1/2 cup vegan mayo
2 tbsp sriracha sauce
1 tbsp tamari (soy) sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar or for a refined sugar free version use maple syrup or agave syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 lime (juiced)
Toppings (optional but recommended!):
tuxedo (black & white) sesame seeds
Add all ingredients of Vegetable Mix to an over-sized bowl. Toss by hand to mix-up vegetables as evenly as possible.
Add flour through onion powder of Batter to a medium bowl and stir with a whisk; make a well in the center.
Add remaining ingredients of Batter (again, start with 1 cup of water) and stir. If the batter is thick, add water until it's slightly loose (more like waffle batter than pancake - reason? The vegetables have moisture and will add to the thinness of the batter once mixed together).
Add the prepared batter to the vegetables and stir to combine. Set aside for a few minutes.
On a large electric griddle pan (if you have one), heat to 350 degrees F (if not, no worries, you can always fry these in a pan, just will take a bit longer). Now, spread avocado oil (no more than 1.5 tbsp) using a heat proof pastry / grill brush.
Using a large serving spoon, dollop ~2-3 tbsp of the vegetable/batter mix into thin pancakes. Let cook ~4 minutes each side until firmed and crisp on the outside. Repeat until all batter is used.
Meanwhile, as your batches of pancakes cook, add all ingredients of Spicy "Mayo" Sauce to a personal blender and blend until smooth.
Once pancakes are done, arrange them on a platter; top with mayo (or have it as a dipping sauce), extra cilantro and sesame seeds.
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie