Korean Vegetable Pancake

No, not a pancake, pancake. Not a fluffy disc of flour covered in syrup. I’m talking about the Korean kind. The kind you eat with your meal, tugging and ripping it apart with your chopstick skills. These pancakes are to die for.

These pancakes are a great supplement for dinner. They’re savory, filled with vegetables, but “fried” just enough to make you want piles of them. Adding seafood is one of the key steps; the seafood among all of the vegetables is a great match of flavors. Today, I used shrimp, but my favorite seafood add-on is squid. Oh yes, squid.



First: chop and slice your Chinese chives (just a handful) and scallions (3 stalks…stalks? Don’t know the terminology). I cut my chives to about 1.5″ and my scallions to about 3″. Place in a mixing bowl.

Second: dice up whatever seafood you have. I used 3 big shrimp. Add to the bowl.

Third: thinly slice 1/3 of an onion. Add to the bowl.

Fourth: add some ice cubes. I know, this is weird but I recall my mom doing this, saying it would make the batter better. Mother knows best.

Fifth: add 1 cup of tempura mix. Now, if you go to a Korean store, they sell the specific mix for these pancakes. Ditch that, get the tempura. I learned this from my parents. When it’s pan fried, the tempura mix creates a chewy inside, yet crunchy outside. I always found the pancake mix was too doughy.


Sixth: add about 3/4 cup of cold water. Mix thoroughly. You want the mixture to be quite loose. Keep in mind, the batter will not completely cover every vegetable; trust me, it’s not necessary.



Seventh: heat up a frying pan on medium-high heat and add at least 3 tablespoons of oil. I know, this seems like a lot but it needs it.

Eighth: once heated, add about 1/3 cup of the mixture and quickly spread out the mixture as flat and thin as possible. It will not be the prettiest sight, with all the jagged edges poking out.


Ninth: you really want the pancake to “fry” so add more oil if needed. Once browned, flip and repeat.


Tenth: once crispy on both sides, consume! I like to eat it plain but soy sauce is the typical condiment.



Extra: add any other vegetable you have. Mushrooms, squash, carrots, bell peppers, whatever you have in your refrigerator. Just make sure to slice everything very thin; spreading out the batter so thin means quick cooking.

Adding diced kimchi into the batter makes it SO flavorful. I just didn’t have any on hand.

Last but not least, this batter will stay good for a couple days, so you can definitely make it ahead of time.



2 thoughts on “Korean Vegetable Pancake

  1. Thanks for the tip about tempura batter. I have been using the Korean pancake mix, but do struggle to get it crispy. I did combine it with frying mix, but will try your tempura version next time.


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