How to cook: Korean scallion pancake (pajeon, p’ajon or pa jun)

How to cook: Korean scallion pancake (pajeon, p’ajon or pa jun)

It all started with the Korean scallion and seafood pancake (haemul pajeon) that we had at a Korean restaurant in Shangri-La Plaza last year. I was intrigued by the unique texture of the pancake and when I chanced upon a bag of Korean pancake mix (buchimgae) in an Oriental food shop in Cartimer, I grabbed one.

I was going to make the seafood version but I never seem to have all the seafood varieties that I need all at once so I procrastinated. Then, at the prodding of a fellow foodie who assured me that pajeon (or p’ajon or pa jun) is still delicious even without the seafood, I finally made Korean scallion pancake yesterday. It was so good. Who would have thought that with such simple ingredients anything can taste so delicious? The best thing is that, after a little research, I know that when the bag of pancake mix is empty, I will still be able to make Korean pancakes at home because I have discovered the basic ingredients for the pancake mix.

Ingredients

  • 1 c. of Korean pancake mix (buchimgae)
    1 small or half a large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
    a handful of the freshest mung bean sprouts that you can find
    a bunch of scallions (green onion, onion leaves, sibuyas na mura), cut into one-inch lengths
    vegetable cooking oil

Instructions

    Korean scallion pancake (pajeon, p'ajon or pa jun)
  1. Add water to the pancake mix. How much? Start with 1/2 cup of water for a cup of pancake mix. Stir the water and pancake mix. The consistency should be similar to Western pancake batter. Rather thin and pourable but not watery. If the mixture is too lumpy and thick, add more water little by little until you get the correct consistency.

    Start adding the vegetables. First, the carrot sticks. Then, the mung bean sprouts. Finally, the scallions. Of course, you can change the order entirely. Or use some other combination of vegetables. But since this is a scallion pancake, don’t leave out the scallions. When all the vegetables have been added to the batter, stir.

    Set the stove to medium heat. Pour enough oil into a frying fan so that the bottom is completely covered with oil. If you’re not using a non-stick pan, heat the pan before adding the oil to prevent the pancake from sticking. Don’t ask how that happens, I only know that it works.

    Korean scallion pancake (pajeon, p'ajon or pa jun)

    Pour in the batter. Using a spatula or the back of spoon, swirl the batter to spread it. Or, tilt the pan around to get the same effect.

    When the underside of the pancake browns along the edges (or you can lift the pancake carefully to peek underneath), flip it using a wide turner or spatula. Or, if you can manage it (I can’t), toss the pancake into the air to flip it.

    Korean scallion pancake (pajeon, p'ajon or pa jun)

    When both sides of the pancake are nicely browned, and crisp, lift and transfer to a cutting board. Cut the pancake into wedges. Why wedges and not rectangles or squares? To give everyone a share of the beautifully crisp edges.

    There is a traditional dipping sauce for Korean scallion pancakes but I made my own: hoisin sauce, black vinegar, chili flakes and a little sesame seed oil.

    This is a rather heavy pancake, much more dense than Western-style pancakes. Three slices and you’re full. While the outside is crisp, the inside is soft and moist and not cake-like at all. The rice flour in the pancake mix does give it a different texture.

    Next time, I’ll make the seafood pancake by adding shucked clams, mussels, oysters, shrimps and sliced squid.

Cooking time (duration): 15 minutes

Number of servings (yield): Makes 1 8-inch pancake good for 3 to 4

  • Doddie from Korea

    Connie,

    The thinner the pancake, the more chances it will get crispy. Once it is slightly crispy, there is no problem turning it over.

    :)

    • http://www.homecookingrocks.com Connie

      Actually I had no problems making the crust thick and flipping the 1-inch thick pancake over. So long as the underside is firm, it’s easy to flip. And so long as the pancake isn’t too large.

    • Grace

      Thank you for sharing the recipe. My husband bought a bag of the pancake flour all the way from Korea during his business trip, and now it just sits and has even expired for a couple months. I hope it’s dry ingredients so little expiry wouldn’t kill us.. haha. I’m going to use carrots, mushrooms, and lots of scallions with some seafood too.

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  • Lorissa Thiessen

    So… what are the basic ingredients (and measurements) for the pancake mix? I love Korean scallion pancakes but don’t have an Asian food market nearby.

    • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

      1 part all-purpose flour and 1 part rice flour

  • tony

    hi Connie! i would also like to make the basic korean pancakes from scratch because the ready pack is a bit pricey for me.what else do I need to add aside from the rice flour and all purpose flour? thanks and more power to you!

    • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

      Just those two, Tony, and you’ll get the texture. :)

  • Doddie from Korea

    Connie,

    Here in Korea, the pancakes are a lot thinner and you have an option to make it crispy or a little soggy and soft. I prefer the former. The street vendor pajeon contains more or less a few thin slices of squid, carrots and a whole lot of spring onion.

    There is also a kimchi pajeon where julienned kimchi is the only ingredient added to the pajeon batter.

    My favorite is haemul pajeon where you add oysters, tiny shrimps, squid slices and clams to the mixture. I usually serve just sliced squid and spring onions for our afternoon snack.

    The dip is made out of soy sauce, a little vinegar, a pinch or two of red pepper powder (gochukaroo) and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. :)

  • http://www.mylocaltown.ie/ Marie

    Thanks for posting the Korean scallion pancake looks so yummy, Do we have a resto here that serves this menu?

  • beth

    Thanks Ms. Connie!Like you, I also have a bag of that Korean pancake mix sitting in the pantry for months now and dont know what to do since all instructions were in Korean so I’m glad you posted this.I will cook this for lunch today!gotta go…bye!
    BTW, I tried your Gen Tso’s chicken adding a few veggies and it was superb!Will add it to our regular menu.Salamat!

  • http://www.homecookingrocks.com Connie

    Doddie, thinner? Let me try that. Although flipping might be more problematic with a thinner pancake.

    Beth, breaking the language barrier? hehehehe

  • http://homecookingrocks.com Connie

    If you’re in Metro Manila, the link in the first sentence of the entry should answer your question. :)