Love a good savory pancake? This Korean Pancake (Pajeon 파전) recipe with scallion and shrimp is absolutely delicious! Enjoy it with a spicy soy dipping sauce.
When we go out to Korean restaurants, my family always fights over the last piece of our favorite Korean Pancake or Pajeon.
At home, I sometimes make these pancakes for the kids after school before we head out to their after-school activities. They love hanging out in the kitchen with me and seeing how I make these pancakes. As soon as the pancakes are done, everyone dips them in the sauce and enjoys small bites of crispy pancakes.
Ingredients for Korean Pancake
Scallions are important for this recipe, and you can easily make it into vegetarian by omitting prawns. If you love seafood, you can add squid (Haemul Pajeon – seafood pancake). Prefer meat instead? You can substitute with thinly-sliced pork belly slices. It’s so flavorful and delicious! Whatever flavor you decide to go with, I’m sure your pancakes will turn out great! These crispy pancakes are seriously quite addicting!
Unique Texture of Korean Pancake
For this recipe, I used cake flour (薄力粉) instead of all-purpose flour. Cake flour is wheat flour that has a lower viscosity and protein content. My Korean friend suggested using it instead of regular flour, and the result was like the restaurants’. By using cake flour, the texture is crispier and lighter than using all-purpose flour.
Cake flour is available in the bakery section of supermarkets. If you can’t find it or want to make it yourself at home, please see my note in the recipe (below). I explained how to make cake flour by mixing 2 ingredients: all-purpose flour and cornstarch (super easy!). Of course, you can use all-purpose flour as well but it’ll be less crispy.
My mom recently shared another recipe with me that uses all-purpose flour and rice flour, and she said it’s pretty amazing. I’ll be testing out her recipe next time.
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Korean Pancake (Pajeon)
- 1 bunch green onions/scallions (roughly 10 stalks; don’t reduce the amount of scallion; ideally, you want to fill the pan so that the pancake will hold together when flipped)
- 1 large egg (50 g w/o shell) (divided; use half a beaten egg for one pancake)
- 4 oz shrimp (cleaned and deveined)
- 1-2 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil
For the Batter
- ½ cup cake flour (or make homemade cake flour; I strongly encourage you to use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients; if you use a measuring cup, follow this method: Fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off; otherwise, 1 cup of flour will weigh more than 120 g)
- ½ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ½ cup cold water or sparkling water (add slowly as you check the consistency of the batter; you may not need all of it)
For the Dipping Sauce
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- ½ Tbsp rice vinegar (unseasoned)
- 1 tsp green onions/scallions (thinly sliced)
- ¼ tsp gochugaru (Korean pepper flakes)
- ¼ tsp toasted white and black sesame seeds
- ⅛ tsp sugar (optional, to counter the vinegar's acidity)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Combine all the ingredients for the spicy dipping sauce and set aside.
- Cut off the ends of the scallions. Then, cut the scallions in half. If you’re worried about flipping a large pancake, cut the scallions shorter and make smaller round pancakes so you can easily flip them.
- Beat the egg in a small bowl and divide. Set aside half an egg per pancake for cooking. Reserve the remaining egg for another use.
- To make the batter, combine the cake flour and salt in a medium bowl. Slowly add the cold water (you may not need all of it!) and whisk until just combined. The batter should be thinner than a Western breakfast pancake batter and thicker than a crepe batter. Do not overmix the batter because it’ll create gluten and the pancake won’t have a good texture.
- Place a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat and add the oil when the pan is hot. Then, spread out the scallions on the bottom of the pan and add the shrimp on top.
- Drizzle the batter on top to cover the scallions and shrimp. Make sure there is just enough batter between the ingredients so that they will hold together. Take care not to add too much batter, though, or you will end up with doughy pancakes.
- Lightly drizzle the beaten egg (I use half an egg for one pancake) over the batter. Cook for 3 minutes, until the edges of the pancake get crispy and the bottom is golden brown. Flip the pancake using a relatively large spatula or two spatulas, one in each hand. Cook for another 3 minutes, pressing down the pancake with the spatula occasionally, until the pancake is crispy and golden brown. Flip one last time and cook for 30 seconds.
- Transfer the pancake to a cutting board. Cut into small pieces and enjoy with the spicy dipping sauce.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.