January 26, 2011

Korean Vegetable Pancakes

{ crispy, savory vegetable pancakes }
Korean pancakes (pa-jeon) are a popular appetizer or side dish in Korean culture.  It's hearty and filling enough to be a meal in itself.  Pa-jeon is absolutely amazing when eaten piping hot straight off the stove.  So wonderfully savory and delicious.   It's usually served with a dipping sauce consisting of soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar.  You can find many variations of the pancake - most common are scallion, kimchi, or seafood.   Seafood pancake (called hae-mul pa-jeon) is my absolute favorite; it consists of squid, clams, shrimp, and scallions.

I normally use a prepared pancake mix bought from the Korean market .  But I didn't have any on hand.

Nor did I have any seafood.  So I decided to make vegetable pancakes using flour.  If you have some fresh veggies, flour, water, and egg available, this is a simple meal to make. 

I have screwed these up horribly many times before and have learned from my mistakes.  So here are a few tips:
  1. Don't make the pancakes too thick.  Otherwise, they're bound to be soggy.
  2. Don't be stingy with the oil.  In the past, I tried using as little oil as possible to keep them from being greasy and it would be a flop (literally).  You don't want to go overboard with the oil, either; these are not meant to be deep-fried.  Just be sure to use enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
{ vegetables sliced thin and ready to go in the batter }

{ mix, mix, mix }

{ fry in the pan }

{ and voila! }

So how good are they?  I think this says it all. 

Korean Vegetable Pancakes
{ Makes about four 8-inch pancakes }

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cups ice cold water
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for pan frying (approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons for each pancake)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and julienned
1 carrot, peeled and julienned (or grated)
1 green pepper, cut into thin slices
1 red pepper, cut into thin slices
1 bunch of scallions, sliced

  1. In a medium bowl, mix flour, egg, salt, and 1 1/2 cups water until a smooth batter is formed.  If batter is still thick, add a little more water (you want it to be the consistency of pancake batter).  Stir in the potatoes, carrots, peppers, and scallions.
  2. Place an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Let it heat for 15-20 seconds, and then coat bottom with vegetable oil.  Ladle in about a quarter of the batter and spread it out evenly into a circle.  Cook for 5 minutes until edges start browning.  Then flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes.  When completed, transfer the pancake on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain oil (if necessary) and then place on serving plate.
  3. Repeat steps 1 to 3 with remaining batter.
  4. When pancakes are all finished, cut into wedges and serve with dipping sauce.  
Dipping sauce (I use this sauce for pajeon and dumplings):

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice or white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Pinch of roasted sesame seeds
Pinch of chopped scallion
Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, water, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil.  Sprinkle in sesame seeds, chopped scallion, and if desired, pinch of red pepper.


  1. wow rachel, you're making all my fave korean foods... i didn't know it was this easy to make the pancakes! my mom has made it in the past with some kind of pre-made flour mixture from the chinese supermarket. can't believe all we needed was flour and egg... =P

  2. I love the photos of your little boy enjoying these pancakes! Priceless!

  3. @Lillian - The already made Korean pancake mix is great, too! It consists of diff't flours (wheat and rice), corn starch, and salt. I had some in the pantry but I realized it was expired. Ugh. So I used flour and egg instead which works just fine.

    @Christina - Thank you! It makes a mother incredibly happy to see her children enjoy the food she prepares.

  4. They look really delicious, full of colors and flavor :)

  5. Your son is too cute! And he loved your pajeon! Looks delicious. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  6. Can't wait to try these out! My kids are going to love this!

  7. These look and sound so mouthwatering. I love the photos of your son, so adorable!


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