Looking for an easy dinner idea? Make this Pajeon recipe: combine carrots and green onions with a simple batter and fry up some Korean Savory Pancakes with a delicious honey, garlic, soy sauce for dipping!
What is Pajeon?
Pajeon is a type of Korean pancake, where “pa” means scallions (green onions), and “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, and it can include other ingredients such as seafood, meat, or other vegetables, resulting in variations like Haemul Pajeon (seafood pancake) or Kimchi Pajeon.
It’s a popular dish in Korean cuisine that can be eaten as a main dish, side dish, or snack, often enjoyed with a soy or vinegar-based dipping sauce.
What does Pajeon taste like?
Pajeon has a savory taste, with a light, crispy exterior and a softer interior. The flavor of the green onions is pronounced, and when served with the dipping sauce, it takes on the sauce’s sweet, salty, and slightly spicy character.
The flavor of this Korean scallion pancake recipe totally hits home and the dipping sauce is what it’s all about.
I’ve been making this Korean Pajeon recipe for quite a while now, but it’s taken me a long time to take pictures of it because the sauce smells so good while it’s cooking. I end up stuffing my face and you end up without a Korean savory pancake recipe.
Well, I finally used all my willpower to snap some photos and take a video to share with you this time.
How to Make Pajeon
Here is the quick and easy process to make these pan fried Korean scallion pancakes.
Assemble the ingredients for the dipping sauce. Please note that ingredient amounts can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Next, gather the ingredients for the pancakes.
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 scallion 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, 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″ 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 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.
This is a quick and easy recipe that is perfect for lunch or dinner. I always seem to have half a bunch of green onions and a lone carrot in my produce drawer, and I bet that you do, too. Transform those veggies into warm, Korean pancakes!
Here’s how you can adapt this recipe to suit various dietary needs:
Gluten-Free: To make this recipe gluten-free, replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend. Also, ensure that the soy sauce used for the dipping sauce is a gluten-free variety as regular soy sauce often contains wheat.
Dairy-Free: Good news, this recipe is already dairy-free! There are no dairy products used in the original recipe.
Vegetarian: This recipe is also naturally vegetarian, as it contains no meat or fish products. However, if you’re adding any additional ingredients or variations, be sure they are vegetarian.
Vegan: To make this Pajeon vegan, you would need to replace the egg used in the batter. You can use a commercial egg replacer, a flaxseed or chia seed “egg” (1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds or chia seeds mixed with 2.5 tablespoons water, let sit for a few minutes to thicken), or use ¼ cup of applesauce.
Remember to always check the labels of all the ingredients you’re using to make sure they fit your specific dietary requirements.
VARIATIONS OF PAJEON
There are many different variations of Pajeon and each offers a unique take on the traditional Pajeon recipe. Feel free to experiment and customize these recipe variations to match your personal taste preferences.
Haemul Pajeon (Korean Seafood Pancake): This version includes a variety of seafood like shrimp, squid, and oysters, along with the 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 an assortment of 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 then 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.
Gul Pajeon (Oyster Pancake): This version is very popular during the winter months when oysters are in season. The oysters add a nice contrast to the crunch of the green onions.
Hobak Buchimgae (Zucchini Pancake): This variation primarily features zucchini. The batter is made of a mix of wheat flour and rice flour, making the texture slightly different from traditional Pajeon.
Bindaetteok (Mung Bean Pancake): While not traditionally classified as Pajeon, this pancake is made from ground mung beans and often includes pork and kimchi. It’s a crispier and more substantial pancake compared to the others.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, but sparkling water is preferred because it helps make the pancake batter light and gives the pancake a slightly crispy texture. Regular water will make the batter denser.
Yes, you can. Beer can provide a similar effect to sparkling water in creating a light, airy batter. It also adds a unique flavor to the pancake.
While it’s possible, it’s not recommended. The unique, mild flavor of green onions is central to Pajeon. If you must substitute, chives or leeks can be used, but regular onions may be too strong in flavor.
Absolutely! While scallions are the traditional ingredient, feel free to add other vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, or mushrooms.
If you don’t have rice vinegar, you can use other mild vinegars like apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
There could be a few reasons. You may not have used enough oil, the oil may not have been hot enough, or you may have flipped the pancake before a crispy crust had a chance to form.
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.
Pajeon is traditionally served with this dipping sauce, you could also pair it with a light salad or a bowl of Korean soup.
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.
Pajeon can be served as both. It’s a versatile dish that can be a light main meal, a side dish, or even a snack or appetizer.
Pajeon is best served immediately to maintain its crispiness. However, you can prepare the batter ahead of time and refrigerate it for a few hours before cooking.
It’s not recommended to freeze the batter as it can alter the texture and potentially result in a less crispy pancake.
The egg in the Pajeon batter adds richness and helps bind the ingredients together.
If your Pajeon is sticking, it could be due to not enough oil being used, the pan not being hot enough before adding the batter, or trying to flip the pancake before it’s fully cooked on one side. Make sure to heat your pan properly and use sufficient oil to prevent sticking.
Yes, you can. Depending on your dietary needs, you can substitute all-purpose flour with other types of flour like whole wheat flour, chickpea flour, or gluten-free flour. However, keep in mind that the texture and taste may slightly vary 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.
Absolutely! This recipe is quite flexible, and you can adjust the quantities based on how many servings you want. Just make sure to adjust all the ingredients proportionally. To make it easy you can click the print recipe button in the recipe card, then the print recipe page allows you to change the servings and the ingredient amounts change accordingly, then you can click the Print button and print the updated recipe.
While the honey, garlic, soy sauce in this recipe is a classic choice, you can also experiment with other types of Asian-style dipping sauces. For instance, a Ponzu sauce (citrus-based soy sauce) or a Gochujang-based (Korean chili paste) sauce could also pair nicely with the Pajeon.
Yes, you can. While the traditional Pajeon recipe is quite simple, adding spices like Korean chili flakes (Gochugaru), white pepper, or even a pinch of curry powder can add an interesting twist to your pancakes.
Cooling Down: After enjoying your savory pancakes, allow any leftovers to cool down to room temperature before storage.
Refrigerator Storage: Once the pancakes are cooled, place them in a ziploc bag or airtight container. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freezer Storage: If you wish to freeze the pancakes for future use, place them in a ziploc bag. To avoid the pancakes sticking to each other, insert wax paper between each pancake. They can be safely stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheating Method: When you’re ready to enjoy the pancakes again, reheat them in a non-stick pan on medium-low heat. Flip them occasionally to ensure they are evenly heated through.
Avoid using a microwave for reheating as it can alter the texture and crispiness of the pancakes.
Dipping Sauce: Since the dipping sauce adds a significant flavor punch to the pancakes, I recommend making a fresh batch of it when you’re ready to serve the reheated pancakes. Its preparation is quick and easy, and the it’s taste is definitely worth the effort.
Following these steps will help you enjoy your Korean Savory Pancakes at their best, even when they’re leftovers! Enjoy.
More Popular Asian Recipes to Try:
- Stir Fried Malaysian Chicken
- 10 Minute Wasabi Popcorn
- Build Your Own Ramen Bowl
- Thai Style Bourbon and Ginger Cocktail
- Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
- Skinny Vietnamese Steak Salad
- Crockpot Beef Curry with Noodles
Korean Savory Pancakes Recipe (Pajeon Recipe)
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 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 scallion 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, 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" 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 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 and serve with the warm dipping sauce.
Please note that Pajeon (Korean green onion pancake) is also spelled Pa Jeon, Pa Jun or Pajun.