Happy International Pancake Day! Let's Celebrate with Delicious Korean 'Jeon'
Korean pancakes, or jeon, come in various forms, shapes, textures, and colors.It would take a semester-long college course to go over their intricacies, and an entire week's worth of meals to appreciate their deliciousness. So, let's do it in one article! (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و And as an extra bonus, we've also included video recipes for you to follow, just in case you wanted to make your own jeon at home! *Some of you may not have access to some of the ingredients in the recipes below, such as pre-packaged Korean pancake mixes. Don't worry, SnackFever subscribers -- we're working on ways to send these hard-to-find products to you! ೕ(•̀ㅂ•́ )
Hwa (flower) jeon.
Here is the SnackFever crash course on Korean jeon.Korean pancakes are primarily known as jeon or buchimgae. You'll also hear it called like jijim and jijimi, based on the region of Korea you're from. (Interesting fact: Jijimi is how North Koreans refer to jeon.)
Kimchi jeon. It is beautiful, no?There are many different types of jeon that are made with various ingredients, including kimchi, meat, seafood, and vegetables. The ingredients are mixed with flour or egg batter, then pan-fried with oil. Others, like jangtteok, are seasoned with Korean jang, or sauces/pastes like ganjang (soy sauce), doenjang (soybean paste), or gochujang (hot pepper paste). And don't worry -- there are sweet Korean pancakes as well, like hotteok and hwajeon (flower pancakes)! 😉 Jeon is eaten primarily as an appetizer or banchan (side dish). Jeon also pairs well with beer and soju as a pub item (anju 🍻)! Without any further ado, let's dive right into a few of our favorites!
Pa (Green Onion) Jeon
An absolute staple. Green onion (scallions) are an important part of many Korean dishes -- so important, in fact, that Koreans made an entire pancake filled with them. There are other yachae (vegetable) jeons, including hobak (squash), gamja (potato),gochu (chili peppers), and many others. Check out YouTube chef Maangchi's pa jeon recipe below.
Another staple, and this one works well with beer and soju, too! Kimchi jeon may not be everyone's choice for dessert... Kimchi breath isn't all that sweet! 😜 This recipe is from AngelaMinjiKim.
Bindaetteok/Nokdu (Mung bean) Jeon
There are so many staples here, we're gonna need a bigger stapler soon. (Sorry...not sorry! 😆) Mung beans (nokdu in Korean) may sound like something really unfamiliar and foreign. But trust us, they are delicious AND healthy! Bindaetteok is a bit more time-consuming to make, as it requires washing and preparing the mung beans. They are ground up before all the other ingredients are added. (For example: kimchi, egg, mung bean sprouts, and of course, green onions). This mixture makes an incredibly tasty and savory pancake that is best when crisp! Dip it in a bit of soy sauce, and you have perfection.
Haemul (Seafood) Jeon
Among the most popular seafood jeons are saengseon jeon (fish), gul jeon (oyster), and saewoo jeon (shrimp). You'll also often see a general haemul pa jeon (seafood & green onion), which could also include other seafood items like crab and squid. This one is also a great appetizer or anju! This recipe is by Seonkyoung Longest.
These make great (and we do mean GREAT) desserts or snacks. Like all jeon, these are best enjoyed fresh! Hwa (Flower) Jeon No, you can't put any flower on top and eat it. But there are edible flowers out there, including roses and azaleas. They make for a very pretty display, too! Maangchi tops her hwa jeon with beautiful lavender azaleas. Check it out!
This is probably the most familiar to those who love American and European hot cakes. The only difference is that the syrup/sauce isn't poured over the cakes...it's inside the cake. Hotteok is a common Korean street food that is a perfect snack or dessert. It's mesmerizing to watch street cooks take balls of dough, fill them with brown sugar (and even nuts for an extra crunch!), then throw them onto a pan of oil. The balls are squeezed flat as the dough turns golden brown and the sugar inside melts to drizzly perfection. Another classic Maangchi recipe:
Specialty Fusion Jeon
Like all foods, jeon has evolved and taken on new styles and ingredients! Here's a look at some of the cooler ones that look pretty good. Maangchi's Kale Jangtteok Sweet The MI's Cheese Hotteok Not really fusion...but Korean Englishman tries a Jeon Cooking Challenge!