My sister has a problem. A kimchi problem.
She does this thing, where she walks into our local Korean-run market after work, walks straight to the back of the refrigerated aisle, and buys way too much kimchi for her own good––more than she will ever actually eat with her rice during the week.
So what is an older sister/roommate to do when there’s a container and a half of kimchi languishing on the top shelf of the fridge, with no immediate use in sight?
Make kimchi pancakes, that’s what.
Kimchi pancakes (aka kimchijeon) are as easy to make as their breakfast/serve-with-maple-syrup counterparts. Unlike Chinese scallion pancakes, which require you to make a dough, kimchi pancakes are made from a simple batter. Regular ol’ all purpose flour is your starting point. If you can find it, the addition of potato starch gives the pancakes extra crispiness (that said, if you can’t find potato starch, you can just substitute more all-purpose flour, no problem).
From there, you just chop up some kimchi and add it in––kimchi juice and all––along with some scallions, salt, and a little water to loosen it up. After a quick little mixeroo with your chopsticks or a fork, you fry it up for a few minutes in the skillet, and you’re done!
If you want, you can also serve it with a dipping sauce, which is even easier to pull together––it’s just soy sauce, water, a little sugar, and rice vinegar. It’s the perfect quick appetizer, and I find myself making it on weeknights when I stagger into my apartment after a long workday and need something to eat FAST. Plus, it’s the perfect way to make sure no kimchi goes to waste.
Now, you can use Store-bought Korean pancake mix, but why use that store-bought stuff when you can make your own homemade Korean pancakes from scratch? Store-bought versions usually have added flavorings and preservatives, but in your homemade version, you know exactly what you’re putting in.
Here’s what you need:
For the pancake:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup potato starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ cup cabbage kimchi, roughly chopped
½ cup kimchi juice
3 tablespoons water
1 scallion, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
toasted sesame seeds (optional but necessary!)
For the dipping sauce:
Add the kimchi, kimchi juice, water, and scallion.
Use a pair of chopsticks or a fork to stir the mixture until well-combined.
Heat a nonstick or cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and add the batter to the pan, spreading it in an even layer. Fry until browned on one side.
Flip the pancake and continue to cook until browned on the other side.
Meanwhile, assemble the dipping sauce by combining the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Serve alongside your kimchi pancake! If you want a little extra nuttiness (and fanciness), you can sprinkle the pancake with toasted sesame seeds.
Kimchi Pancake (Kimchijeon)
For the pancake:
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, potato starch, and salt until combined. Add the kimchi, kimchi juice, water, and scallion. Use a pair of chopsticks or a fork to stir the mixture until well-combined.
- Heat a nonstick or cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and add the batter to the pan, spreading it in an even layer. Fry until browned on one side. Flip the pancake and continue to cook until browned on the other side.
- Meanwhile, assemble the dipping sauce by combining the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Serve alongside the pancake!