Potatoes (called kamja in Korean) are relatively new to Korea’s culinary scene, brought to Korea from the Americas about 300-400 years ago. Most of the potatoes grown in South Korea are grown in Kangwon Province.
Potatoes thrive in Kangwon-do’s mountainous and cold climate. Potatoes are a healthy alternative to rice, where the terrain is inhospitable to rice cultivation. Potato pancakes, called kamja jeon in Korean, are a Kangwon-do specialty.
Koreans don’t need a special excuse to enjoy potato pancakes. However, potato pancakes, also called latkes, play an important role in the celebration of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. —Tamar
Russet potatoes, peeled and grated
large onion, finely grated
garlic clove, grated
In This Recipe
Peel the potatoes, make sure to remove any green parts.
Grate the potatoes with hand grater on the finest setting (or you can use the thicker setting for a more hash brown appearance).
Grate the onion and garlic with hand grater on the finest setting into the same bowl with the potatoes and stir them together. The onion juice will help keep the potatoes from turning brown.
Drain as much moisture from the mixture as possible. Add the cornstarch and season with the salt and pepper.
Heat your favorite high temperature oil (I used grapeseed oil) in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
Use a spoon to quickly drop the potato batter into the skillet. Form up to 6 pancakes, approx. 3 ½ inches in diameter.
Cook for approximately 4 minutes or until you begin to see the edges turn golden brown. Flip them over and allow them to cook for a few minutes more.
Transfer the cooked pancakes to a tray and repeat the process until all the batter is cooked.