Pajeon is a popular Korean pancake that is a crowd-pleaser and easy to make. It tastes like being wrapped in a fuzzy blanket on a cold rainy day. And it makes a yummy side dish for meals like Kimchi ramen and Korean BBQ at home.
Read on to learn how to make pajeon with this easy pajeon recipe. It calls for ingredients that you probably already have at home. So, there's no need to go on a special quest to find them. Also, if you have too many green onions that you don't know what to do with, this is a great solution!
- What is Pajeon
- What is Korean pancake mix made of?
- Korean Scallion Pancakes Variations
- Korean scallion pancake calories
- Pajeon Ingredients
- Gluten-Free Korean Scallion Pancakes
- How to make pajeon
- Crispy Pajeon Cooking Tips
- Pajeon Dipping Sauce
- Frozen Korean Scallion Pancakes
- Pajeon Recipe (Easy Korean Scallion Pancakes)
What is Pajeon
Pajeon is a pan-fried Korean pancake with scallions. "Pa" stands for scallion, and "Jeon" means pancake in Korean. So, pajeon literally translates to scallion pancake and the common pajeon pronunciation is "pajun".
It is easy to recognise this dish because of the visible scallions on the pancake. The pancake is generally round and looks like a fried pizza. Some say it is also quite similar to the Chinese scallion pancake, Cong You Bing (葱油饼). However, the difference between the two is that the Korean version is less dense and not made of dough.
Unlike most Korean dishes, it is not spicy or garlicky. Instead, the Korean pancake is savoury and toasty. You could say that it also smells and tastes similar to a fried egg. Texture-wise, this Korean dish is crispy along the edges yet soft and chewy in the centre.
Nowadays, the pancake is a typical side dish to any Korean meal. However, most Koreans also enjoy it as a rainy-day snack with beer, soju (Korean liquor), or makgeolli (rice wine). Hence, this Korean dish is also known as anju a.k.a food that pairs well with alcohol. You can find this pancake in many Korean restaurants, but it is also effortless to make at home!
What is Korean pancake mix made of?
Korean pancake mix is typically wheat flour, corn starch, rice flour, and sometimes baking powder. It is basically a mixture of different types of flour and seasoning like garlic, corn, and pepper. This Korean pancake mix is known as buchimgaru.
Korean pancake mix is essential to create a chewy and crispy pajeon recipe texture. Therefore, it is a staple in Korean homes and is used to make many pancake-like dishes. Koreans also combine buchimgaru with twigimgaru (frying mix) to make crispier pancakes. The ratio for this would be 1:1.
This recipe will show you how to make pajeon from scratch. Making it from scratch allows you to adjust the batter according to your preference. However, you can save time and make a foolproof recipe with a premade mix. Plus, it is a safe choice when you want to create an authentic Korean pancake!
Korean Scallion Pancakes Variations
The pancake mix and scallions are basically all you need to make pajeon. But there's no harm in throwing in other ingredients to make the dish. This Korean dish also comes in many variations.
This vegetable pajeon recipe includes finely shredded and chopped veggies. Typical ingredients are mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers, and onions. However, it is extremely forgiving, so you can throw in whatever vegetable you have. Koreans love it because it is super easy and quick to prepare.
As the name suggests, this riff of the Korean pancake has kimchi in it. Due to that, it is usually red in colour and spicier than other variations. Moreover, it is popular among Koreans since it goes well with rice as a side dish. Furthermore, it is the perfect dish to make when you're unsure what to do with leftover kimchi!
This version is called Haemul Pajeon. "Haemul" means seafood in Korean, so it contains seafood. It usually includes a selection of seafood like squid, shrimp, and clams. Koreans love this version of scallion pancake as it goes well with alcohol like makgeolli.
This Korean pancake is a bit plumper because of the juicy oysters. It is very common since oysters are cheap in Korea. It is also particularly popular in the fall and winter in Korea since oysters have the most nutrition during these seasons!
In this recipe, we will guide you on how to make pajeon with scallions. However, our easy pajeon recipe will allow you to try other additional toppings you want.
Korean scallion pancake calories
Korean scallion pancake contains 300-450 calories depending on the pancake size. It is quite calorific despite it being served as a light snack or side dish. Therefore, we recommend consuming it only once in a while, although this greasy goodness can be very tempting!
As mentioned before, this easy pajeon recipe does not require complicated ingredients. You can find everything from any grocery store. Since we're showing how to make pajeon from scratch, the pajeon ingredients that you will need are:
- All-purpose flour – is the main ingredient for the batter. Alternatively, you can use chickpea flour, rice flour, almond flour, or buckwheat flour which are also gluten-free.
- Corn starch is commonly combined with flour to make Korean pancakes crispy. However, you can also use potato starch if you don't have it.
- Scallions/Green onions – you can't forget these. They're the star of the show!
- Carrot – a medium-sized carrot will do.
- Vegetable oil
- Salt - You can use table salt, but it can leave a bitter taste. Thus, we recommend using kosher salt to enhance the dish's flavour.
And here's what you will need to make the dipping sauce:
- Soy sauce
- Vinegar – you can use either white vinegar, rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
- Toasted sesame oil
- Gochugaru (red pepper flakes) – this is optional and can be added if you prefer the sauce a bit spicy.
Gluten-Free Korean Scallion Pancakes
You can make the dish gluten-free with a little bit of modification. Simply use your preferred gluten-free flour in place of the regular flour. The amount used for the gluten-free version is the same as regular flour. Therefore, 1 cup of regular flour equals 1 cup of gluten-free flour.
There might be slight differences in taste and texture with the gluten-free options. However, there isn't enough to stop you from enjoying the dish nonetheless!
We recommend using a combination of rice flour, buckwheat flour, and corn or potato starch to make the pancake mix. Combining it with rice flour and corn starch will make the pancake as crispy as the regular version.
How to make pajeon
Here’s the gist of how to make pajeon:
- Make the dipping sauce. Gather the ingredients and combine them in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Make the pancake batter by combining corn starch, flour, sugar, and salt.
- Add julienned carrots and sliced scallions into the batter.
- Fry it on a pan for a few minutes until the pancake turns golden brown. Flip to the other side and repeat.
- Serve it!
Crispy Pajeon Cooking Tips
- Use cold water to make the pancake batter. You can also add ice cubes to keep the batter cold.
- Add in sparkling water instead of flat to make your pancake batter crispier. However, note that this will also make your batter thicker. Hence, it won't spread on the pan as easily as the flat water batter.
- Use plenty of oil for frying to make the pancake extra crispy.
- Adjust the heat level accordingly when cooking the pancake. Always ensure that the heat is not too high since the pancake can quickly burn. The cooking temperature should also not be too low because the pancake can get too oily and soggy.
- Press down the pancake using a spatula to make it crispy. Use it to make some gaps in between the scallions when frying. You will know that the green onions are cooked once steam comes up from the cracks.
- We recommend using a big spatula to flip the pancake over. Fry the pancake until it turns golden brown and the vegetables are lightly charred on each side.
- You can keep the pancake ingredients separately in an airtight container. The Korean pancakes can be refrigerated for up to two days before cooking.
- Prepare the dipping sauce in advance to enjoy fresh and crispy pajeon right after cooking them.
- Use well-fermented sour kimchi for the best tasting Kimchi pajeon. We also highly recommend using all the kimchi juice you can get when preparing the batter. It will give the batter a distinct flavour and a nice orange-red colour.
Pajeon Dipping Sauce
Preparing the dipping sauce is very simple. You can make it in advance and set it aside before cooking your pancakes.
The ingredients to make pajeon dipping sauce are:
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of vinegar
- ½ teaspoon of Gochugaru
- 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds.
- Some chopped green onions
How to make the dipping sauce:
- First, pour all the ingredients into a bowl.
- Set it aside and mix it once you're ready to enjoy your pancake.
Frozen Korean Scallion Pancakes
You can refrigerate or freeze cooked Korean pancakes if you have some leftovers. Just be sure to cool them to room temperature first!
Frozen scallion pancakes can usually last for up to 3 months. Keep them in a Ziploc bag and place wax paper between each slice. This will keep the pancakes from sticking to each other.
To reheat, place them onto a non-stick pan and heat both sides over medium-low heat. This is the best way to reheat the pancakes and maintain their crispiness. We don't recommend microwaving them, though. It will make the pancakes soggy.
Pajeon Recipe (Easy Korean Scallion Pancakes)
For the pancakes:
- 8 green onions sliced
- 1 medium-sized carrot
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsps corn starch
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 250 ml sparkling water
- 1 lightly beaten egg
- 1 large garlic clove peeled and grated
- 3 tbsps vegetable oil
For the dipping sauce:
- 2 tbsps soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Gochugaru
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- Some chopped green onions
- Pour all of the dipping sauce ingredients into a small bowl. Mix the ingredients and set them aside for later. You can also mix it once the pancakes are ready.
- Slice the green onions into 1-inch pieces. Then, cut the carrot into skinny strips or julienne.
- Mix the flour, corn starch, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Create a well at the centre and add grated garlic, the egg, and the seltzer. Gently stir until the ingredients are well combined. Next, fold in half of the carrots and green onions.
- Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil into a skillet over medium heat. Add half of the batter once the oil is hot. Spread the batter evenly to the edges of the pan with a spatula. Then, scatter the remaining scallions and carrots over it. Press them down into the batter to prevent them from falling off the pancake when you flip them.
- Fry them for about 4-5 minutes until the pancake is golden brown. Then, flip it over and cook for another 4-5 minutes before transferring the cooked pancake to a paper-towel-lined plate. Next, add another tablespoon of oil onto the pan and repeat steps 4-5. Lastly, cut the cooked pancakes into slices and serve with the dipping sauce.
- If you're using a premade mix (Buchimgaru), you can omit the ingredients to make the pancake mix from scratch.
- Feel free to add in more toppings or ingredients for your pancakes.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimate.
If you’re craving haemul pajeon (seafood pancake) instead, we recommend watching muksooniumma’s video recipe on Youtube. While her recipe is slightly different from ours, the steps for preparing the pancake are a great reference for any home cooks!
We look forward to seeing your delicious Korean scallion pancakes! Take a photo of it and share it with us by tagging @honestfoodtalks on Instagram! Don't forget to follow!