Pajeon – Spring Onion Pancake

Navigating a Korean supermarket as a newcomer can be intimidating. Aisles of dried fish and seasoned seaweed taunt the timid cook, while the size and variety of the kimchi section rivals that of emporium produce departments back home.
By Jacqui Gabel

Pajeon - Spring Onion Pancake

During the first few months I lived in Seoul, I didn’t hesitate to try every new food when dining out, but I approached Korean cookery with less aplomb. For months, if I cooked, I stuck to the basic comfort foods, including many a BLT. One day feeling bold, I bought a bag of flour for pajeon and made pancakes with the week’s leftover vegetables. They were okay, but the pajeon at restaurants were better. Pushed aside, the flour joined the ranks of neglected fodder at the back of the cupboard. Until recently.

My friend Hye Rae is a self-taught cook. Since we met, she’s shared much of her kitchen wisdom with me, like how to make good pajeon. Though she remembers wet, soft pajeon from her childhood, she likes a chew that’s both crunchy and soft. For this, she insists on a combination of two kinds of flour. Buchim garu is seasoned flour, the foundation of all Korean pancakes. Twigim garu is a frying flour, and it’s what gives pajeon its addictive, exquisite crunch. Try this recipe while spring onions are in season, and substitute any other seasonal vegetable (especially carrot, red pepper, or storage onions) when they’re not. To be proper, eat while drinking with makgeolli, preferably on a rainy day. If you’ve never before cooked Korean food, this is an excellent place to begin.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pajeon
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
 
A delicious and simple Korean pancake made with fried spring green onions, water, and flour.
Author:
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (50g) buchim garu (Korean pancake flour)
  • ½ cup (50g) twigim garu (Korean frying flour)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 1 bunch spring green onions, clean and dry
  • canola oil
Dipping Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon sesame seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
Instructions
  1. Prep the onions: Cut the tops from the bunch so that their lengths match the length of your pan. Press the bulbs of the onions with a knife, just as you would with a garlic clove.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flours with water until well blended. Check the viscosity with a spoon: the batter should produce a steady, smooth stream when lifted from the bowl. Adjust with more flour (equal parts of both) or water, bit by bit, if necessary.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan and brush lightly with canola oil.
  4. When the oil ripples, add a single layer of onions across the pan.
  5. Pour the batter evenly over the onions.
  6. Cover and cook on medium-low heat until the pancake turns golden.
  7. Using a spatula or two, attempt to flip the pancake while keeping it in one piece. (I've yet to succeed at this. While my pride may waver, the flavor's always consistent).
  8. Cook until the second side has browned.
  9. Serve hot or room temperature with dipping sauce.
Notes
Makes one large pancake or two small pancakes.
1 Comment
  1. Pajeon is one of my favorite Korean foods, but have only ever enjoyed it in makgeolli bars and restaurants. You may have inspired me to try cooking it on my own. Thanks for the recipe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Rate Recipe: