Kimchi Pajeon ( 김치 파전)

I’ve made pajeon (korean fritters or pancakes) more times than I count now, and I still do not get it consistently correct. I think this is partly my own impatience- I have the stove on too high, or I flip them too soon.  But here’s one variation that worked okay:

Kimchi Pajeon

I based it loosely on the directions here.  And also here.  It helps to read a few recipes, I think.

For this batch, I used a storebought mix- Ottogi Korean Pancake Mix. I chose that brand because it’s the one our local Korean market carries (and by local, I mean 30 miles away).  I also sort of combined two or maybe 3 different pajeons.  Haemul Pajeon has seafood, usually octopus or squid, shrimp, and some other seafood such as scallops or clams.  I just used shrimp.

Kimchi pajeon recipes I’ve found usually don’t include seafood, but I like them both and didn’t want to choose.

And you can (and I have) just make them with green onions.


I put 2 cups of water, 1 1/4 cup of mix in a bowl and mixed well.

I fried some cabbage kimchi and shrimp in the skillet. I don’t measure the kimchi. I put in enough to cover the bottom of a 10 inch cast iron skillet.  (You don’t have to fry the kimchi first, I just like it better that way.)  Usually I put snipped green onions on top of that, and then pour the batter over that in the pan after the green onions have fried a bit.

This time I snipped a bunch of green onions into the batter, stirred in the cooked kimchi and the shrimp, then I poured about 3/4 a cup of batter, kimchi, shrimp, green onions and all,  into a well greased skillet, tilting it to spread the mixture as much as possible.  Turn down the heat to medium high, loosen under the fritter with your spatula.  When it’s brown on the bottom and setting a bit on top, flip it like a boss and brown the other side.

Eat it right away.

There’s a dipping sauce you can make- when I do that, I just mix sesame oil, sesame seeds, snippets of seaweed, and Braggs Amino Acids in a bowl. I didn’t do that this time.

In this case, the kimchi I bought wasn’t spicy enough, so I added some of the hot sauce on the left to the batter. I use that hot sauce in my kimchi ramyun, too.  I chose that one because all the ingredients are pronounceable, and it has no corn products.

So far, in my family, Jenny doesn’t mind the pajeon if I make it just plain, with green onions and nothing else. No sauce, no spice, no kimchi.

Pip, who was born in Japan,  likes them every way I’ve made them, though she doesn’t like as much hot sauce as I do.

My husband will eat some.

I am addicted.

Outside the family, all of the guests I have served them have loved them- which at this point brings the count up to 9 or so.  My first guinea pigs were a couple of college students, one from Texas, one from China.  The next guinea pigs raved over them and would have probably eaten more than I made- it was very, very gratifying.  He’s Viet-Namese-American, and she’s married to him and learned to cook after they married.=)

My next guinea pigs are friends here in town, but he’s another 3rd culture kid (are you spotting a trend?)- he was brought up in Nigeria by his Canadian parents, and his wife is local to this state, but, like me, an adventurous cook and eater.  They and one of their sons came over for a movie night and we finished off two large pajeons. I had to make theirs with just green onions and the hot sauce, because they eat kosher and my kimchi had shrimp and a fish sauce that I couldn’t identify in it.

This week  two girls from the Chicago outskirts (outer, outer outskirts) are visiting, and they have also proven once more to my sixth daughter that it’s not just her mom being weird, other people really do like this stuff.  The girls apologized for eating so much of it, but Jenny told them, and rightly so, that there were no needs for apologies, I was probably thrilled to have somebody else enjoy them.

Indeed I was. It’s so much fun to share this with others, and I always enjoy having other people enjoy my cooking.  That’s probably a universal mom feeling, I suspect.

Here’s a recipe for making it without the mix.

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  1. Lanon
    Posted January 5, 2014 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Have you ever had okonomiyaki’s (which I loosely describe as a type of Japanese cabbage pancakes)? If so are these similar? Those were one of my favorite foods when I lived in Japan and I have never been able to successfully recreate them.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted January 6, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think I have had them, so I don’t know. Sorry!

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