Korean Kimchi Pancakes and 4 Tips for Making Them Crispy

Kimchi pancake with spring onion garnish

Ever had kimchijeon or kimchi pancakes? If you like Indian food, I’m sure you’ll like kimchi pancakes. Even if you don’t like kimchi. Trust me on this!

I went on a Korean food cooking spree last week. It all started because my friends Hannah and Phil were nice enough to join me for dinner when I went on a working retreat at the beautiful Whidbey Institute. We ended up cooking Ssambap using lovely salad greens that the friendly gardeners on the land gifted us. That caused a hankering for something with kimchi. And this was the result. This was my first time making kimchi pancakes and I can say that they were fast and easy. So I hope you’ll give this recipe a try.

Recipe is adapted from http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/kimchijeon (chopped kimchi pancake)

Ingredients (makes 3-4 pancakes)

Pancake

  • 1 cup kimchi, cut into ½ inch pieces if possible
  • ¼ yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (not authentic but added for nutrition and flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup kimchi broth
  • 6-8 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

Garnish (optional)

  • Spring onion or chives, chopped

Dipping sauce (optional)

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes

Flipped pancake

Recipe

In a large glass or plastic bowl mix together all ingredients except the oil. Make sure there are no clumps of flour left. Taste the mixture and add more salt if necessary.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. Wait till the oil is hot enough before proceeding. If you add the batter when the oil is not hot enough, the pancakes will come out soft. You can tell that the oil is hot enough if you put a drop of batter in the pan and it sizzles.

Take a big ladleful of the batter, pour into the skillet and spread as thinly and evenly as possible. If you’re using a 10 inch skillet, you should get 3-4 pancakes depending on their size.

Keep the heat at medium and let the pancake cook for a minute or two. Once the pancake has ‘loosened’, it will move around the skillet easily. At this point, flip the pancake. You can use a flat spatula if you don’t dare throw the pancake up to flip it! (But this is not too hard with a bit of practice. Just hold the skillet handle with both hands, move the skillet back and forth a few times to position the pancake as close to the edge of the skillet directly away from you. Without a pause in the back and forth movement, raise the skillet. The pancake should flip and land back in the skillet. If it is folded over, just move the skillet back and forth till it settles down flat. )

Let the pancake cook for another 2 minutes on this side as well. You might need to cook both sides for another minute or so to make sure the pancake is fully cooked.

Make the remaining pancakes in the same way. If you save part of the batter in the fridge, use it within a day or two. You will need to add a ¼ cup of water or so to loosen up the batter again before using.

To make the dipping sauce, mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl.

Cut the pancake into smaller pieces if you like. Garnish with chopped spring onion or chives.

Kimchijeon or kimchi pancake

Tips to make the pancakes crispier

I love my kimchi pancakes crispy! The first one I made came out very soft. So I did some research. Here’s what I found and what I know from making dosas.

Use 3 tablespoons oil per pancake instead of 2. Yeah, its not as healthy but it works. Make sure the oil is hot enough before pouring the batter into the skillet.

Add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to the batter.

Add 1/3 cup of lentil flour (you can use mung bean or Indian urud dal flour).

Use cold kimchi and water. Cold batter results in crispier pancakes.

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5 Comments

Filed under Korea, Recipe

5 responses to “Korean Kimchi Pancakes and 4 Tips for Making Them Crispy

  1. Jean

    mmm…makes me want to have some home-cooked korean food!

  2. Pingback: 3 ways to spice up your Superbowl party! | Veena's Market Blog

  3. Yum! My friend introduced me to kimchi and it was delicious! Would love to try it in a pancake form!

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