Savoury Korean pancakes are hugely popular at Korean restaurants. Now you can make them at home!
A Korean scallion pancakes or pa jun (pajeon) are made with a simple batter of flour, eggs, water and salt. The batter is only slightly thicker that crepe or Yorkshire pudding batter. Like all pancakes, the first couple may not come out as planned but as you practice, they will come out of the pan perfect and delicious. Even those that don’t look all that great taste amazing. Korean pancakes are a must try snack that can also be served as a side dish or starter course for any Korean meal. Spring onions (scallions) are a popular addition but you really can get creative and add other veggies and spices.
About this Korean pancake recipe…
On a recent trip back to LA, I was doing research for a book I’m writing. The title is yet to be decided but it will feature recipes from around the world that can be cooked in one pan.
Korean food has to feature because I love it and you can find many amazing Korean restaurants in LA. Caroline and I had a lot of fun trying some of them out and we always ordered Korean pancakes as a starter or side dish.
This is actually a recipe I have been making for years. Well, actually there were a lot of years in there that I didn’t make them but I’m so happy I’ve be reintroduced to them. If you’ve ever enjoyed savoury Korean pancakes at a restaurant, I promise you… This recipe will get you the results you’re looking for.
Breaking the word pajeon or pa jun down, pa means spring onion (scallion) in Korean and jeon refers to any food that is cooked in a batter.
Make this Korean pancake recipe your own…
This is my vegetarian version but you could also add other proteins such as prawns, bacon or thinly sliced pork belly if you like.
Just fry up your protein of choice at the same time you fry the spring onions (scallions) for each pancake.
If you have a non-stick frying pan, use it for this one. I have made these pancakes using a cast iron pan which really crisps them up nicely but it is a lot fussier to get right.
The batter for Korean pancakes can be made a couple of days ahead of time. It will become more sour, however if you do this as it ferments like a sour dough would ferment.
It does taste good though and personally, I like the sour flavour which is not at all intense after two days. The sauce can also be prepared a good two days ahead of time and will keep in the fridge for about a week.
What should the pancakes be like when finished?
That’s up to you. The batter is thick so these pancakes can also be quite thick in the centre.
You might like to make them thinner or at least swirl the pan around a bit so that they are thicker in the centre and thin and crisp on the outside.
As you make them, you’ll discover which you prefer and it will be easier to make them in future exactly as you want them.
How to make Korean pancakes…
The process is so easy. Just follow the photos and use the recipe card below.
Get all of your ingredients together first.
It’s much easier to make these savoury pancakes and the sauce if you get your ingredients together before you start cooking. Then you won’t have to go looking for things when you’re trying to focus on cooking.
Mix all of the sauce ingredients together. Then try it and adjust the sweet, sour, savoury and spicy flavours to taste.
Mix the flours together and then add the whisked eggs. It will look a bit clumpy at this point.
Pour the water in slowly while stirring. You are aiming for a batter that is slightly thicker than crepe or Yorkshire pudding batter. Don’t worry too much though. Even the pancakes that go wrong taste great!
When ready to start cooking the Korean pancakes, heat some oil in a pan and add a few spring onions (scallions). You keep them quite long as they help keep the pancake together when flipped. You can really char these onions or just give them a quick fry without charring.
Now add some of the batter to the pan. I have found that using a crepe pan is a lot easier than the pan I used above when it comes time to flip the pancakes.
Tilt your pan a little from side to side so that the batter spreads across the surface. Your first few tries may not go as planned. Mine didn’t above. But with practice, you will get better at it. You will also enjoy eating those that aren’t so perfect.
When the batter begins to turn golden brown on the bottom, carefully flip it over to cook the other side.
I like my Korean pancakes a bit charred but how much you cook them is up to you and your personal preference. The pancake above was made for Caroline who doesn’t like charred pancakes.
Eat! Enjoy these korean pancakes! They are so good.
Here are a few Korean main course recipes you might like to serve with your pancakes…
Korean kimchi jjigae – A one pot masterpiece with sweet, sour and savoury flavours. Not to be missed!
Korean baked salmon – This spicy salmon is so good rolled into a pancake!
Beef Bibimbap – You can really get creative with this delicious one pot dish.
Korean style fried chicken – Soak up all that amazing sauce with your homemade Korean pancakes!
- FOR THE BATTER
- 4 eggs, beaten until smooth
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 12 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil plus more if needed
- 2 bunches spring onions (scallions), about 20, root end removed and cut in half
- 415ml (1 ¾ cups) cold water
- FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
- 6 tbsp soy sauce
- 6 tbsp unseasoned, rice wine vinegar
- 4 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
- 2 tbsp gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes), more or less to taste
- 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- ½ to 1 tsp sugar, to taste
- Start by preparing the spicy dipping sauce. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing or serving bowl. Taste it and adjust the savoury, sweet, sour and spicy flavours to taste. Set aside.
- Pour both of the flours and the salt into a large mixing bowl and stir them together. Add the beaten eggs and begin stirring in the water slowly, while continuing to stir into a thin batter. You may not need all of the water. You want the batter to be slightly thicker than crepe or Yorkshire pudding batter. It should be creamy smooth and pourable and don’t worry, if you get the consistency wrong the first time, your pancakes will still be good. Set the batter aside.
- To make your first pancake, heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. When the oil is visibly hot, add roughly 1/6 of the spring onions (scallions) and fry until they are beginning to char a little. Then add the pancake batter until it fills the bottom of the pan. Tilt your pan to assist in this process as you don’t want the pancakes to be too thick or they won’t turn crispy.
- Fry the pancake for 3 to 4 minutes, adjusting the cooking heat if needed so that it browns nicely on the bottom. Flip it over to brown and crisp the other side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm while you cook the rest of the pancakes. Serve immediately with the spicy soy dipping sauce.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 329Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 1609mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 12g