Savoury pancakes are a staple of Korean street food markets. The pancakes are called 'jeon' and are filled with almost anything - spring onions, seafood, kimchi, pork or vegetables. Kimchi pancake is kimchijeon.
Some are made using mung bean flour, or cooked and mashed mung beans, others just with plain flour - not dissimilar to the Japanese okonomiyaki. Though in Korea the pancakes are more simply garnished than in Japan.
What goes into a Korean pancake?
Korean pancakes are a quick dinner in 10 minutes or less. Egg and flour is stirred with kimchi and (optional) spicy gochugaru chilli powder to make a deep red batter. Serve with a vinegared soy dipping sauce.
Kimchi pancakes are a great way to use up kimchi that you have left in the fridge for a little longer than you like, and it is too sour for your taste. We've tested the recipe with the smaller (80g) and larger quantities (160g) of kimchi - if you use less kimchi, just stir in a few extra ingredients for added flavour.
What goes well with kimchi pancakes?
Korean kimchi pancakes are typically served with a dipping sauce of soy sauce, vinegar and sugar - and occasionally some fresh chives and chilli powder.
This kimchi pancake makes an wonderful spicy breakfast for the brave. Alternatively serve as a banchan side dish at a more formal Korean meal. And because the batter doesn't use any eggs, if you use vegetarian kimchi, the pancake will also be vegan!
I've included a few additional ingredients that are optional - if your homemade kimchi is very flavourful and rich in garlicky and spicy juices, then just leave them out.
How to get a crispy kimchi pancake
Kimchi pancakes are made by frying batter in a pan. To get a crispy bottom, you want to make sure your pan is super hot. To do this, heat 2 tbsp oil in a medium frying pan. Drop a tsp of mixture into the pan and when it bubbles and 'dances', you know the pan is hot enough.
A lady in Kwang Jang market in Seoul making Bindaetteok pancakes, made with mung beans
For the kimchi pancake Serves: 1
If you use less kimchi then add the following to give extra flavour
- 1 tsp red pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp caster sugar
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
For the dipping sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar (or even apple cider vinegar)
- 1/2 tsp caster sugar
Method for kimchi pancake
- Mix together the flour and corn flour, and then add the cold water forming a batter with the consistency of double cream.
- Stir in the chopped kimchi, and additional kimchi juices - or the red pepper powder, sugar, fish sauce, spring onion, and garlic.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a medium frying pan. Drop a tsp of mixture into the pan - when it bubbles and 'dances', the pan is hot enough. Pour in half the mixture and fry for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned and crispy. Turn over and fry for another 2-3 minutes until crisp and lift onto a plate to serve. Add the remaining 2 tbsp oil to the pan, and repeat with remaining mixture.
- Whilst the pancake cooks, stir together the soy sauce, vinegar and caster sugar. Serve the pancakes with the dipping sauce on the side. Garnish with the sliced spring onion.
The pancake is presented on our beautiful Chouseki Blue Gold Plate.