Pajeon (Korean Scallion Pancakes with Pork)
On Rainy Spring Days, Make Korean Pancakes
Pajeon are savory, chewy-crisp, and packed with bright green scallions—and whatever else you like. I distinctly remember the mouthwatering sizzling sound the pancakes made as they cooked—much like the sound of rain, which is how it’s thought that the Korean tradition of eating pajeon on rainy days came about. The savory aromas of caramelizing onions and pork would always make my stomach rumble, and I would wait anxiously as my mom flipped the pancakes, using chopsticks and a large spatula. Read more about Pajeon here
Serves 2 pancakes
For the batter, I like to use a combination of all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and rice flour to get the right balance of crispiness and chewiness. The pork complements the scallions perfectly, but feel free to use any other protein of your choice, or none to make it vegetarian. Serve as an appetizer or lunchtime meal.
For the Dipping Sauce
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced red chillies
- 4 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2 scallions, very thinly sliced on a bias
For the Pajeon
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup white rice flour (not sweet or glutinous rice flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon doenjang
- 2/3 cup water
- 12 scallions, roots only trimmed and sliced lengthwise, divided into two portions
- 1 cup zucchini, julienned, divided into two portions
- 7 ounces ground pork
- 1 fresh red chilli, thinly sliced on a bias, seeds removed, if you like, and divided into two portions
- 2 large eggs
- Vegetable oil for cooking
- In a small bowl, stir together all of the ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, rice flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, onion powder, and garlic powder. Whisk until well incorporated.
- In a small bowl, using a fork, mix together the doenjang and the water until dissolved. Pour into the flour mixture, and mix together until a smooth batter forms. The batter should have the same consistency as a typical Western breakfast pancake batter; if it’s too thick, add a little more water.
- Drizzle a little oil into a large nonstick skillet and place over medium-high heat. Tip in the ground pork and sauté until cooked through. Remove the pork from the pan, leaving behind the drippings, and place into a bowl.
- Drizzle more oil into the same pan, then arrange half of the scallions on the pan in a row. Top with half of the zucchini, and then scatter on about half of the cooked pork. Finish by sprinkling on half of the sliced red chile.
- Using a large spoon, ladle half of the batter onto the pan, over the vegetables and pork, taking care to include the edges.
- Crack 1 egg on top of the batter and break the yolk, using a spoon spread the egg out over the vegetables. Drizzle in more oil if necessary. Flatten with a large spatula and fry until dark golden brown on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip carefully and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and place on a rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat for a second pancake.
- Serve immediately with dipping sauce on the side.
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