Monday, October 18, 2010

Kimchi jeon (kimchi pancakes)

Kimchi pancakes.  When Katharine suggested them in the Comments to my kimchi post, I was initially skeptical.  Kimchi pancakes?  I couldn't really imagine it.  Kimchi pancakes?  So I had to make them, just to discover what it was all about.  This is Korean bar food.  I read several recipes, then made up my own, and was very pleased with it.  Would I make this again?  Oh, yes.  Will I make this again tomorrow?  Um, probably.  It really was awesome.  
On Edit:  I did make it again, and the above picture shows the second batch.  I also tried it with a simple dipping sauce of 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, and 1 tsp sesame oil, but I think the very best thing to serve with these is probably beer (not tried yet; that will be a future experiment!).

The recipes out there vary quite a bit.  I used rice flour for its crunch, besan flour because I love it, black salt for its egginess, and the result was a bit of at least mildly Korean heaven.

Kimchi jeon (kimchi pancakes)
serves 2 (makes 3 large pancakes or 8 small)

1/2 cup rice flour
2 tbsp besan (chickpea) flour
1/4 cup kimchi broth
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp black salt (or regular salt if you don't have black salt)
1/2 cup kimchi, chopped
3 scallions, finely sliced
3 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil

Mix together the rice flour, chickpea flour, kimchi broth, rice milk, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.  Add the kimchi and scallions and stir to mix.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high, and, when hot, add 1/3 of the batter.  Spread the batter out as thin as you can--you're aiming for a thin, crisp pancake.  Fry about 2 minutes on one side, then flip.  The pancake should be lightly golden on both sides.

Serve.  My goodness, this was good!  So thanks, Katharine.  The time it would have taken me to come up with this idea on my own would have been...well, infinite.  But I'm so glad I made this!


  1. Wow--you're welcome! Kimchi pancakes are simply delicious. What an intriguing recipe you came up with for it. Do you eat them with a dipping sauce? My classic is from Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East cookbook: soy sauce, rice vinegar an sesame oil. I use a vegan recipe from Maangchi (online), with organic whole wheat flour that's finely milled plus a pinch of baking powder so they aren't soggy. My husband flips them as my flipping skills are still nascent ;)

  2. Yum! Never had kimchi pancakes before but they sure do look good! :-)

  3. I'm so excited about making this it may just end up being my birthday dinner tonight!

    By the way, did I tell you I found bat nuts in a store near me? I remembered your warning though and didn't buy any, as intriguing as I find them.

  4. I could probably shovel about thirty of these little pancakes in. Great job only making three.

  5. Katharine, this is the first time I've ever made these pancakes, so I didn't use a dipping sauce, and they were pretty flavourful without one...but as a matter of fact I know the one you mean and it's fantastic. I'm a flatbread fool and expert at flipping. Practice makes perfect :).

    Chow, they were excellent. The whole idea was so weird to me until I tried it...then, eureka!

    Renae, enjoy. My recipe is completely made up so if you can think of any interesting twists I'll be happy to see them on your blog. And those bat nuts...yes, they're for afraid...

    Shenandoah, you know pancakes are no good at all cold, so unless you can keep the batter for a day or two or (more likely) are, like me, fairly good at short term self-deception, you need to limit the amount of batter you make. If I'd made the whole recipe, I would have cooked and eaten it all. That said, it's interesting to speculate at how a batter with a fermented ingredient like kimchi would keep in the fridge...maybe it would just go on becoming better and better. In fact, I was very afraid these would be just disgusting, and that was my motivation for the micro-amount. But I was wrong.

  6. I love cold pancakes. Can't even imagine what these would taste like -- hot or cold.

  7. These look very interesting, in a good way. I was half expecting to see some urad flour in the recipe. My experience with Korean food has been that it's a lot sweeter than I like, but that doesn't appear to apply to this recipe. I bought all the ingredients to make kimchi but so far haven't managed to do it. But, soon. Then I can make kimchi pancakes.

  8. Thanks, Andrea. I don't know if urad flour would add anything special here, but next time I make these, I'll try it. The texture as they were was perfect. you may have guessed, we're not about authenticity here at The Airy Way--I did, truly and totally, make this recipe up! And it would have been awful sweet, I think.

  9. WOW! I don't know who you are but I'm in love. All my favorite Hangul food.