Easy Korean vegetarian kimchi pancakes
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Easy Korean vegetarian kimchi pancakes

1 hour
to rest the batter

Susan says

Jeon, or Korean pancakes, are savoury and delicious. The basic batter is quite versatile; they can be vegetarian (as this recipe is), or you can add chopped pieces of seafood or meat.

I like the slight chewiness that comes from a combination of potato starch (sometimes called potato flour) and regular flour. The recipe is based on one in Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen by Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall. Restaurants make large pancakes and cut them into pieces but I prefer to make smaller, individual ones.

For the pancakes
150g (5⅓oz)
cabbage kimchi
120g (4¼oz)
firm tofu
large egg
70g (½ cup and 1¾tsp)
potato starch/flour
70g (½ cup and 1¾tsp)
plain (all-purpose) flour
240ml (1 cup)
ice water
fine sea salt
finely ground white pepper
spring onions
2-3 each
red and green banana chillies (or another type of mild chilli)
cooking oil, for pan frying
For the dipping sauce
30ml (2tbsp)
light soy sauce
30ml (2tbsp)
Korean or Japanese rice wine
30ml (2tbsp)
rice vinegar
15ml (1tbsp)
sesame oil
lightly toasted white sesame seeds
a pinch
gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes)

Put the kimchi in a colander and press gently with paper towels to extract some of the excess liquid; the kimchi shouldn't be too dry nor should it be dripping wet. Finely chop the kimchi and put it into a bowl.


Roughly chop the tofu, then wrap it in a double layer of paper towels and squeeze gently to extract some of the excess moisture. Put the tofu in the bowl with the kimchi, then add the egg, potato and plain flours and the ice water. Add ½tsp of salt and ¼tsp of white pepper, or more, to taste. Mix thoroughly then refrigerate for about an hour (this lets the batter thicken as the starches absorb the liquid).


While the batter is resting, cut the spring onions into 3cm (1¼in) lengths and slice the chillies about 3mm (⅛in) thick. Mix together the sauce ingredients and transfer to a small serving bowl.


Heat a skillet over a medium flame and rub it lightly with oil. When the skillet is hot, arrange two or three pieces each of the spring onion and chilli close together in the skillet. Stir the batter and ladle in enough of it to cover the pieces of spring onion and chilli and to form a pancake that's about 6cm in diameter. You should be able to cook two or three pancakes at the same time. Leave the pancake to cook undisturbed until the surface edges look as if they're drying out, then flip it over and cook the other side until set. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and cook the remaining batter the same way.


After cooking all the pancakes, arrange them on a serving platter then serve with the bowl of dipping sauce.


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