3 Ingredients | 15 Minutes | Use vegan kimchi to make these delicious pancakes, perfect for breakfast or a snack anytime of the day!
One of my best friends and fellow foodies is Korean, and his mother is a delightful chef - effortlessly moving around the kitchen with the type of grace I hope to have some day. One of my fondest memories with his family was spending Christmas at their home in Houston, when his mom whipped up a casual ten course lunch, starting with this delightful crispy kimchi pancakes - the kimchijeon. The Korean name is Kimchi Buchimgae (김치 부침개), but some people might also call it Kimchi Jeon (김치전) (similar to these veggy pancakes)
What is kimchi? Is it vegan?
Kimchi is a Korean staple - fermented cabbage, daikon, or radish, usually steeped in a spicy Korean chili paste, ginger, garlic, etc. Kimchi traditionally has shrimp in it, so make sure to buy a vegan version - should be available in any Asian grocery store or in grocery stores in most major cities. Post on making your own kimchi coming soon!
Ingredients & Variations
My recipe literally just calls for three main ingredients - kimchi, all-purpose flour and vegetable oil. You also need water and salt. But this recipe is super versatile. One common variation is to add finely chopped scallions when they're in season. If you want your kimchi pancake extra crispy, feel free to add a tablespoon of rice flour in the batter.
If you don't have kimchi, that's actually not a problem - make 'pajeon' instead. Chop up 10 scallions and add a bit more water until the batter is of the right consistency (typically between ¼ to ½ cup)
What do you serve this with?
I typically serve kimchi pancakes with a simple soy sauce, but you're also welcome to serve it with a bit of the chili oil for a kick. Some of my friends have also enjoyed it with many types of aiolis (e.g. mayo + habanero sauce). One traditional sauce is to mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, and honey in a bowl, and then stir in some crushed chili peppers. Hits all the marks!
I don't recommend storing or freezing the pancakes after they're made since they will get chewy. But you can store the batter by refrigerating for up to 2-3 days. Though it's super simple to make fresh as well. If you do that, mix the batter well to make sure that the water and flour mixture come together again!
Kimchi Pancakes (Kimchi Jeon)
- 1 cup kimchi, chopped fine, check if vegan!
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- Chop up the kimchi finely. Then, add half a cup of all purpose flour to a mixing bowl, along with the chopped up kimchi and any kimchi liquid. Then give this a quick mix to incorporate. Then, slowly add ¼ cup of sparkling water (or regular water) along with half a teaspoon of salt and mix them together until it forms a coarse batter. Don't overmix!
- Heat a nonstick or enameled cast iron skillet and heat on medium flame. Then, add two tablespoons of vegetable oil and swivel it so it covers the entire surface.
- Once oil is heated and glistening, add the batter to the skillet. Let this fry for 4 minutes on one side so the bottom of the pancake starts to get golden brown and the top starts to look cooked. If you desire, once the edges start to appear cooked, you can gently lift them to allow the oil to seep towards the center. This helps avoid soggy centers!
- Add the other two tablespoons of oil, and flip the pancake so the other side can cook evenly, another 3 to 5 minutes.
- I typically like to turn the heat to a low flame and cook another 20-30 seconds on each side just to finish crisping the pancake.
- Serve hot either with a simple soy sauce or a habanero-mayonnaise as an aoili!
- Use vegan kimchi: Traditional kimchi uses shrimp heads, so make sure to find vegan kimchi at your local store! I like using the Mother in Law brand when I haven't made my own kimchi at home!
- Increase crispiness: You can add up to a tablespoon of rice flour to increase the crispiness of your kimchi pancakes