Freeze

Pajeon (Scallion Pancakes) From Hooni Kim

by:
December  8, 2021
4 Stars
Photo by Kristin Teig
Author Notes

Pajeon are thin, savory, delectable scallion pancakes that are traditionally paired with makgeolli, a Korean alcoholic beverage. With their crispy exterior and soft insides, they make makgeolli taste that much more refreshing. To get the pancakes crispy enough, you need to make sure that the batter is very cold and that the pan is very hot, with plenty of oil. In fact, we like to keep the pancake batter in the freezer, rather than the refrigerator, during service so it is as cold as possible. We also use soda water to lighten up the batter with the carbonation. This prevents the pancakes from becoming too dense.

While this recipe features scallions, Korean pancakes can be filled with almost anything you have on hand. Instead of or in addition to the scallions, you could use garlic chives, ramps, or chrysanthemum leaves. Add thin slices of Korean hot pepper if you want a little extra bit of a kick, or julienned carrots and onions for a touch more sweetness. If you want something a tad more substantial, you can easily turn this recipe into hamul pajeon, or seafood pancakes, by adding 6 ounces raw squid or shrimp, cut into small bite-sized pieces, to the batter. The possibilities for these pancakes are endless, and you'll love experimenting and tasting what you come up with.

Reprinted with permission from My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes by Hooni Kim with Aki Kamozawa. Photography by Kristin Teig. —Food52

Watch This Recipe
Pajeon (Scallion Pancakes) From Hooni Kim
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 12 minutes
  • Makes 4 or 5 pancakes and 1 cup sauce
Ingredients
  • Pajeon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups ice-cold club soda
  • 1 medium egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 3 bunches scallions, cut into 2-inch batons (if the scallions are thick, cut the white parts lengthwise in half before cutting into batons)
  • 5 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil, divided
  • Pajeon Sauce
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Pajeon
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar, doenjang, and pepper until blended. Add the club soda, egg yolk, and garlic and mix gently with a whisk. Do not whisk too much, or extra gluten will form in the batter, making it too thick and doughy. Whisk about 10 times, then freeze for 10 minutes so any remaining small clumps of flour can dissolve and blend into the mixture by themselves.
  3. When you’re ready to make the pancakes, line a sheet pan with paper towels. Fold the scallions into the cold batter.
  4. In a 10-inch nonstick sauté pan over high heat, warm about 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer and just barely smoke, add 1 cup of the scallion batter to the center of the pan. Using a spatula, spread to form a 7-inch pancake. (You don’t want the pancake to touch the sides of the pan, or the edges may burn before the center is cooked through.) Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the bottom of the pancake has set. Gently slide the spatula under the edges of the pancake and lift, tilting the pan, so some of the hot oil runs underneath the pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, until the bottom is a deep golden brown and crisp. You can check the color by gently lifting an edge of the pancake with the spatula. Flip the pancake and cook on the other side for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown on the second side and cooked through. Transfer to the prepared sheet pan to drain.
  5. Wipe out the pan, set over high heat, add another tablespoon or so of the oil, and repeat until all of the pancakes are cooked. The finished pancakes can be kept in a low (200°F) oven on a clean sheet pan while you cook the remaining batches, but it’s best to eat them right away.
  1. Pajeon Sauce
  2. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, water, gochugaru, garlic, oil, and ginger.
  3. Cut each pancake into quarters and serve with small bowls of the sauce and ice-cold makgeolli.
  4. Do Ahead: The sauce can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Shake or stir well before using.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • John Cressman
    John Cressman
  • Emmie
    Emmie
  • KELLE EVANS
    KELLE EVANS
  • Sharan
    Sharan

5 Reviews

John C. August 10, 2020
Made these with shredded zucchini and carrot and no egg, daughter is vegan. I usually use a Korean Pancake mix, this came out better. Great recipe!
 
Emmie June 19, 2020
These were good, though I definitely had a higher batter-to-scallion ratio than the picture. Also, the batter definitely needs some salt--even though the dipping sauce is quite flavorful, the pancake itself is rather bland.
 
KELLE E. June 16, 2020
Flavors great! Mine looked nothing like the picture and since I've never had these before, not sure if they turned out right. Mine were pretty puffy but tasted delicious. I'm staring at an empty platter, so that's a good thing. :-)
 
Sharan June 15, 2020
Made these over the weekend, and they were fantastic. The pancake batter was so light and crispy, while the cooked & charred green onions were smoky & sweet. I wished the dipping sauce was a bit spicier, so next time I think ill add birds eye chilly to it. Cant wait to make this when I am able to host some friends again.
 
amazinc June 12, 2020
Haven't made these yet, but plan to. In reading the ingredients list for the sauce, I see minced ginger listed twice. Is that correct? Thanks for a reply.