Appetizers are a key part of American cuisine, and they are equally, if not more, important in Korean cuisine. The great thing about these pancakes, known as kimchi jun in Korean, is that the dish may be served as a hearty snack, an appetizer or a side dish to any Korean meal or Asian meal generally.
And if you ever have leftover kimchi, which is likely if you live in a Korean or Korean-American household, then this dish is very easy to make. As with most Korean recipes and dishes, you can tweak kimchi pancakes to your own tastes with the addition of other vegetables, meat or seafood. So, if you have the typical American or Western palate and don't like your food very spicy, then season the dish accordingly. If you love spicy food, then use generous amounts of seasoning.
Because kimchi is made of fermented vegetables, such as Napa cabbage and daikon radish, this dish has health benefits as well. Just remember that if you are going to be using the ready-made batter for the dish, available at Korean and other Asian grocery stores, it's important not to ignore the directions in the note at the bottom of the recipe.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 to 2 cups kimchi (baechu kimchee, depending on how spicy and crunchy you like your pancake)
- 1 teaspoon salt
To begin making kimchi pancakes, you'll need to mix all of the ingredients together and let them sit for about 10 minutes to allow them to blend in. Next, you'll check the consistency of the mixture before cooking. Note that the batter should be a little bit runnier than American pancake batter so that the pa jun cooks quickly and evenly.
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and coat it with a thin layer of oil.
Pour batter to fill the pan in a thin layer (about one-third of your batter should fill a regular sauté pan).
Cook the batter for 3 to 4 minutes until set and golden brown on the bottom.
Turn over the pancakes with the help of a spatula or a plate. Alternatively, you can flip the pancakes in the air. Finish the pancakes by cooking 1 to 2 more minutes, adding more oil if necessary.
Serve the pancakes with a soy sauce or a spicy dipping sauce. If you're not a fan of spicy foods, skip the latter.
*You can also make kimchi jun using the ready-made Korean pancake batter (buchimgae) from the Korean of Asian grocery store. Just add ¾ cup of water to every 1 cup of dry mix and add whichever vegetables you wish.