Kimchi-jeon (김치전) or Kimchi pancakes are delicious fried Korean savoury pancakes. It is primarily made with sliced kimchi, flour batter and sometimes other vegetables. However, meat like ground pork is also often added. The dish is good for using up ripened kimchi. Kimchi-jeon is often recognized in Korean culture as a folk dish of low profile that anyone could make easily at home at no extra cost. Although jeon can be considered a type of buchimgae in a wider sense, buchimgae and jeon are different dishes.
Buchimgae refers broadly to any type of pan-fried ingredients soaked in egg or a batter mixed with other ingredients. Whereas jeon is made by seasoning whole, sliced, or minced fish, meat, vegetables, etc, and coating them with wheat flour and egg wash before frying them in oil.
When preparing kimchi-jeon, brine from kimchi is often added, especially that of baechu kimchi, made from Napa cabbage. The brine lends its red colour to the batter but is not spicy itself.
Kimchi pancakes are often served with alcoholic beverages such as makgeolli and usually as an appetizer, snack or banchan (side dish).
There are many varieties of jeon including:
Haemul Pajeon – This pancake is made with seafood.
Pajeon – It’s made with onions and is the base for haemul pajeon. All you have to do is add the seafood to the pajeon mixture.
Kamja jeon – Made with shredded potato similar to the western hash brown or potato rosti.
One of the best places to find Kimchi pancakes is at Gwangjang market in Seoul, which has its own alley named after the delicious snack.
- 1 Cup of chopped Kimchi (3 tbsp of Kimchi sauce.)
- 2 tbsp onion.
- 1/2 tsp salt.
- 1/2 tsp sugar.
- 1/2 Cup of all purpose flour.
- 1/4 Cup of water.
- Oil to fry.
- In a bowl, place kimchi, kimchi juice, chopped onion, salt, sugar, flour and ¼ cup of water and mix it well with a spoon.
- Heat up a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and drizzle about 2 tbs grapeseed oil.
- Place the mixture in the pan and spread it thinly and evenly with a spoon.
- Cook it for 1 to 1½ minutes until the bottom gets golden brown and crispy.
- Turn it over with a spatula or flip it.
- Lower the heat to medium and cook for another 1½ minutes.
- Turn it over one more time and cook for 30 seconds before transferring it to a serving plate.
*tip: Serve it right out of the pan or cool it down and cut it into bite size to serve.
Serving suggestion: With Soju, a good beer or some Makgeolli.
Feature image source ©Kimchi Jeon, 27.03.2018, maangchi.com