Craving a quick and delightful dinner? Try this Pajeon recipe! These Korean Pancakes are a mix of carrots, green onions, and a basic batter to create these irresistible, savory pancakes. Pair it with an irresistible honey-garlic-soy dipping sauce – perfect for a cozy evening!
Pajeon is an amazing Korean pancake that’s all kinds of awesome and so easy to whip up. Grab some basic pantry staples like carrots and green onions. Throw them into a batter, and voila – you’ve got yourself a pancake that’s savory, crispy, and totally addictive.
And here’s the kicker – the dipping sauce. Just prepare it with honey, garlic, and soy sauce. It is so good, you’ll want to put it on everything. You don’t need a fancy brunch setting to enjoy it; this pancake is perfect for any meal or snack time. Here are a couple more of my Korean recipes to try: Korean Cucumber Salad and Vegetarian Korean Bibimbap Bowls.
Table of Contents
What is Pajeon?
Pajeon is a type of Korean pancake, where “pa” means scallions (green onions). While “jeon” refers to a dish cooked by seasoning whole, sliced, or minced fish, meat, vegetables, etc., and coating them with wheat flour and egg wash before frying them in oil. Thus, Pajeon refers specifically to a pancake that includes scallions as a primary ingredient. The batter is typically made with flour, water, and eggs. It can also include other ingredients such as seafood, meat, or vegetables. This will result in variations like Haemul Pajeon (seafood pancake) or Kimchi Pajeon. It’s a popular dish in Korean cuisine that you can eat as a main dish, side dish, or snack, often enjoyed with a soy or vinegar-based dipping sauce.
Reasons to Love Korean Pancakes
- Pajeon is versatile, and you can customize it with various add-ins like seafood or kimchi.
- Pajeon Korean Pancakes are easy to make – perfect for beginners or those seeking a fast, delicious meal.
- The warm, crispy texture combined with savory flavors makes Pajeon a comforting dish, ideal for cozy evenings.
- These Korean scallion pancakes are shareable and perfect for social gatherings.
- The crispy exterior and soft interior create a delightful texture contrast that’s both satisfying and enjoyable to eat.
- Scallions: These are essential for the characteristic flavor and texture of Pajeon.
- Carrot: Adds color, sweetness, and an additional crunch to the pancakes.
- All-Purpose Flour: The primary component of the batter that gives structure to the pancakes.
- Sparkling Water: Used in the batter to make the pancakes light and crispy.
- Egg: Helps to bind the ingredients in the batter, contributing to the texture of the pancakes.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Haemul Pajeon (Korean Seafood Pancake): This version includes a variety of seafood like shrimp, squid, and oysters, along with green onions. Seafood not only adds protein but also infuses the pancake with a delightful, oceanic flavor.
- Kimchi Pajeon (Kimchi Pancake): As the name suggests, this variation incorporates kimchi into the batter. Kimchi adds a tangy, spicy flavor that pairs well with the crispy, savory pancake.
- Yachae Pajeon (Korean Vegetable Pancake): Besides green onions, this version includes various vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach. It’s an excellent way to increase your vegetable intake and play around with different flavor combinations.
- Gogi Pajeon (Meat Pancake): Gogi Pajeon is a variation that incorporates meat, usually thinly sliced beef or pork. The meat is marinated and added to the batter, resulting in a savory, hearty pancake.
- Buchu Pajeon (Garlic Chives Pancake): In this version, garlic chives are the main ingredient. Their strong, garlicky flavor gives this pancake a unique character.
How to Make Pajeon
Step #1: Combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then give it a good stir and turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened.
Step #2: Slice the scallions into 1-inch pieces. Cut the carrots into very skinny matchsticks (or julienne).
Step #3: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the seltzer, large egg, and grated garlic. Stir gently with a spatula until just combined (there will be lumps). Gently fold in half of the scallions and carrots.
Step #4: Heat two tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, pour in half of the batter and use the spatula to spread the batter out toward the edges of the pan.
Step #5: Scatter half of the remaining scallions and carrots over the top of the raw batter. Use the spatula to make sure they are partially submerged in the batter so they won’t fall off when you flip the pancake.
Step #6: Fry for 4 to 5 minutes until the pancake is golden brown and the vegetables are lightly charred. Flip and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes on the other side.
Step #7: Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Step #8: Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and repeat the process with the second half of the batter and veggies. Slice the cooked pancakes into pieces.
Step #9: Serve with the warm dipping sauce.
- Balance the Dipping Sauce: Taste and adjust the dipping sauce as it simmers, ensuring a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and salty flavors.
- Chill the Batter: Keep the batter chilled until use. A cold batter hitting the hot pan contributes to a crisper pancake.
- Avoid Overmixing: Mix the batter until just combined to avoid developing too much gluten, which can make the pancakes tough.
- Oil Temperature: The oil should be hot but not smoking. If it’s too hot, the outside will burn before the inside cooks through.
- Pancake Serving: Spread the batter thinly for a crispier texture. Thick pancakes might not cook evenly through the middle. Cut the pancakes into bite-sized pieces for easier serving and eating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ensure your oil is hot before adding the batter, and don’t flip the pancake too early. Also, adding a bit of cornstarch to the batter can help make the pancakes crispier.
Yes, you can. A cast-iron skillet is recommended because it heats evenly and maintains high heat, which helps the pancakes become crispy. But a non-stick pan will work as well.
Yes, you can. Depending on your dietary needs, you can substitute all-purpose flour with other types of flour like whole wheat flour, rice flour, chickpea flour, or gluten-free flour. However, keep in mind that the texture and taste may vary slightly depending on the flour used.
The consistency of the batter could be affected by the proportion of liquid to dry ingredients. If it’s too thick, you can add a little more sparkling water. If it’s too thin, you can add a bit more flour.
Yes, you can definitely add spices to your Pajeon batter. While the traditional Pajeon recipe is quite simple, incorporating spices like Korean chili flakes (Gochugaru), white pepper, or even a pinch of curry powder can introduce a flavorful twist to your pancakes. Additionally, you can enhance the seasoning by adding onion powder and garlic powder for added depth and aroma.
Store Pajeon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. For freezing, place the pancakes between layers of parchment paper and store them in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 1 month. To reheat, first thaw in the refrigerator overnight if frozen, then warm them in a skillet over medium heat or in an oven preheated to 350°F (about 175°C) until heated through. This method helps retain their crispiness better than microwaving. Avoid reheating them multiple times, as it can affect the texture.
Pajeon Recipe (Korean Savory Pancakes)
For the Dipping Sauce
- 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic - peeled and grated
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes - optional
For the Savory Pancakes
- 8 scallions
- 1 carrot
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 9 ounces cold sparkling water
- 1 large egg - lightly beaten
- 1 large garlic glove - peeled and grated
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil - divided
- Combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then give it a good stir and turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened.
- Slice the scallions into 1-inch pieces. Cut the carrots into very skinny matchsticks (or julienne).
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the seltzer, large egg, and grated garlic. Stir gently with a spatula until just combined (there will be lumps). Gently fold in half of the scallions and carrots.
- Heat two tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, pour in half of the batter and use the spatula to spread the batter out toward the edges of the pan.
- Scatter half of the remaining scallions and carrots over the top of the raw batter. Use the spatula to make sure they are partially submerged in the batter so they won't fall off when you flip the pancake.
- Fry for 4 to 5 minutes until the pancake is golden brown and the vegetables are lightly charred. Flip and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes on the other side.
- Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and repeat the process with the second half of the batter and veggies. Slice the cooked pancakes into pieces.
- Serve with the warm dipping sauce.
Please note that Pajeon (Korean green onion pancake) is also spelled Pa Jeon, Pa Jun or Pajun.