Today, I’m going to show you how to make korean pancake crispy and delicious! If you’re tired of making sad, soggy, droopy Korean pancakes, then make sure to read ’till the end so you can see the secret trick to making your korean pancake crispy! This dish is known as chijimi in Korean, and a variation of it is known as pajeon. This recipe is more similar to the pajeon recipe, as “pa” means “green onion”. I know, this recipe doesn’t use green onion, but leeks, but it’s close enough 😉 If you’re looking for a delicious, crispy pajeon korean pancake, then make sure to try this recipe!
[UPDATE: I’ve updated the recipe to be even crispier and crunchier! If you’re looking for a delicious-er, crisper Korean pancake, make sure to check it out!]
Watch How To Make Korean Pancake Crispy
What is Korean Pancake?
Korean pancakes are a delicious, savory dish, usually served as an appetizer or side dish. Enjoyed with some makgeolli (Korean milky rice wine), it makes for the perfect snack or meal accompaniment!
Korean pancakes, or better known as “jeon” is any mixture of vegetables, meats, or seafoods mixed into a batter made with flour and water, among other things. It gets cooked in a hot pan with a bit of oil and is a favorite among many Koreans. As you can tell by the name of this article, were going to be discussing how to make them crispy.
The first time I had Korean pancakes was at a Korean restaurant back in the U.S. It was gloriously delicious, crispy on the outside, creamy in the middle, and filled with tons of vegetables and seafood. However, since then, every time I’ve tried it, whether it was homemade by my mother-in-law, or at restaurants in Seoul and Busan, I never got that great crunchy texture like I got the first time I ate the dish.
Why Aren't They Usually Crispy?
This dish is eaten fairly regularly in Korea and Korean households. In order to get that great crunch, it has to be cooked in quite a bit of oil. If you’re eating this dish every other day, for example, do you really want to put that much oil into your body? I think not!
How Do You Make Them Crispy?
The biggest thing people will tell you is to add more oil! And while, yes, more oil = crispy Korean pancakes, I didn’t want to go that route just yet! In order to achieve a crispy result, let’s look at how the most basic Korean pancake is made.
Some ingredients, for example, vegetables, are added into a batter made with flour, water, and salt. The batter is mixed up, then the poured into a pan with oil and cooked for a few minutes then served.
As soon as it comes out of the pan, it will have a little bit of crispness, but after a very short while, it will become soggy. While it still tastes delicious, even when soggy, it’s not exactly the texture we want out of these things!
One of the reasons it becomes soggy is the batter itself. Flour contains a protein strand called gluten. When water is added, the gluten begins to link with each other, forming a net that traps air and gas. It’s this net-like structure of gluten that allows bread to rise and hold it’s shape.
While gluten is great for baked goods, it’s not so good for fried foods. Instead of getting a nice crispiness, you’ll get a chewy texture. That’s why it’s usually advised to keep batters cold, like tempura batter, or to use them as quickly as possible, like fried chicken batters.
So if gluten is bad for crispiness, what can you do?
How to make a Crispy Korean Pancake Batter
The first thing we can do is lower the amount of gluten by using less flour. Instead of making a batter of 100% flour, we will cut it with potato starch. This will give us enough dry ingredients to work with, without having to rely on flour.
The potato starch will also give us more crispiness on the outside of the pancake, compared to only flour. If you don’t have potato starch, you can certainly use corn starch. In fact, pre-mixed bags of Korean pancake mix usually use tapioca starch.
The next thing we can do to lower gluten is by using ice cold water. Gluten formation is inhibited by temperature; the warmer it is, the quicker it can form and vice versa.
What Ingredients Do You Need?
This dish is very easily accessible to anyone, as it doesn’t really require special ingredients. You’ll need:
- Your choice of vegetables
- Potato Starch (See it on Amazon) – You can use corn starch for this, but the benefit of using potato starch is that you can then use it to make my delicious karaage crunchy Japanese chicken!
- Soy Sauce (See it on Amazon) – This is a great brand that I use all the time!
- Miso (See it on Amazon) – Totally optional, but I find that it adds great savoriness to the pancake. Also, you can use the miso to add into other dishes, use for stirfries, or make miso soup!
Let's make our Korean Pancake Crispy!
Once you have your ingredients ready, it’s all about technique after! Give it a try and I’m sure you’ll enjoy these delicious crispy Korean pancakes!
How to make Korean Pancake Crispy
- Any vegetables of your choice sliced into 3-inch long, thin strips (I used a half-bunch of Chinese leeks and a quarter of a sliced onion)
- Toasted sesame seeds 1 tbsp
- Flour 60 grams
- 40 grams
Potato Starch (See it on Amazon)
- Salt 1 tsp
- In a large mixing bowl, add the **wet mix** and mix well until most of the soybean paste has been dissolved.
- Place the mixture into the freezer for 5 minutes, or in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Keeping the wet mix cool will slow the formation of gluten, which will keep the final texture of the pancake from becoming gluey.
- In another bowl, add the **dry mix** and mix well
- Create the dipping sauce by mixing soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, Korean chili powder, and toasted sesame seeds in a bowl. Sprinkle the sliced green onions on top right before serving.
- Remove the **wet mix** from the bowl and add about one-third of the **dry mix** and stir to combine. Continue adding the **dry mix** in thirds and mixing until no **dry mix** is left.
- Add in the sliced vegetables and stir well to coat in the batter
- Bring a pan up to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil
- Add half of the mixture to the pan, spreading it out into an even thickness
- Sprinkle a tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds over the pancake and allow it to cook for two minutes.
- Flip the pancake over and press it down with a spatula. Allow it to cook for another two minutes.
- Remove the pancake from the pan, turn the heat to high, and add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
- Place the pancake back into the pan and cook it for 30 – 45 seconds, being careful not to let the underside burn.
- Flip the pancake over and let it cook for another 30 – 45 seconds.
- Remove the pancake from the pan and slice into squares. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.