How to Make Pajeon aka Green Onion Pancake
It’s coooooooking time! I really love Korean savoury pancakes. They’re super easy to make and you can throw any ingredient inside of them. Today I’m making the most basic Korean pancake, 파전 aka Pajeon which is a yummy savoury green onion pancake.
The 파 (pa) part of this word means green onion, not to be mistaken with 양파 (yangpa) which is a white onion. The 전 (jeon) part of this recipe doesn’t translate exactly but rather means “anything dipped in a flour + water kindof batter and pan fried”. So for example, you can go to a jeon restaurant in Korea and order Seafood Jeon, Kimchi Jeon, Tofu Jeon, Oyster Jeon, Meatball Jeon, Zucchin Jeon, OR why not order 모듬전 (modem jeon) which means “assorted jeon” and get a mix of all of them? Just don’t mistake 전 Jeon for 튀김 (twigim) which is deep fried food!
To begin with, this recipe is ABSURDLY easy to create. You can’t screw it up. Any so many people have differing opinions. You want more greens onions and less batter? Go for it. More batter with a few sprinkled onions? Super duper. You want to add an egg to the batter rather than pour it onto while it’s cooking? Knock yourself out. I tested four different versions of the recipe before I settled on this method so it’s just my personal favourite.
Thought all green onions were the same, huuuuuhhhhhh??? Note, if you didn’t already, please go back and re-read that HUUHHHHH as Kanye West’s cameo in JYJ’s “Ayy Gurl”. The type of onions I’m using is like a cross between a chive and a green onion. It’s flat and thin but also wide. The stem is thicker than a chive but not tough like a green onion. I included four diagrams of different onions to help you out since I know different parts of the world have different types of ingredients. Now I do admit, I have had Pajeon in Korea that used picture 1 type of onion, the original “pa” if you will, but it was so tough when you but into it you just pulled out the whole onion awkwardly. Yup. Flapping in the wind like a cow eating grass. Moo. The reason I used the “Asian” chive is because you can easily tear it with your teeth but it also holds up against the heat and doesn’t turn into brown mush inside your pancake.
When it comes to making this pancake, the hardest part is actually the cooking. You want it to cover the surface of the green onions with batter as well as fill in the gaps between them so that it holds together. But don’t drown them, otherwise you won’t be able to taste them inside your thick doughy pancake.
When it comes to cooking it, you might want to do a small test run. Too hot a pan, the pancake burns and the inside is a gooey mess with uncooked onions. Too low of heat you might not get a nice crispy exterior. And have fun flipping it. I know I did. EVERY damn test pancake was a perfect flip and then on camera, KERRSPLAT!!. Listen guise…NO STRESS OR ANYTHING BUT IF YOU DON’T NAIL MAKING THIS PANCAKE THE WORLD MIGHT BLOW UP!! AGHGAHGHGAJHGJHGJH!! Ha ha joking. *crazy eyes*
Dipping Sauce Comments
If you’re Simon, you’ll be dipping this pancake in ranch, but for the the rest of us, the soy sauce + rice wine vinegar combo is a must. You’re welcome to adjust the amount of vinegar and sugar to your taste, I prefer more sour things so start with half the amount and add more to your taste. If you don’t like spicy food, leave out all the red pepper stuff.
Onto the recipe!
Pajeon Recipe (Savoury Green Onion Pancake)
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup cold water
a big bunch of green onion (end stems cut off)
1 egg (beaten)
1 sliced red pepper (optional)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 red pepper (diced and de-seeded)
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp 고추가루 gochugaru aka hot pepper flakes (optional)
1 small sauce bowl
1 big mixing bowl
1 big flat frying pan
long cooking chopsticks or tongs
1 ladle for pouring batter
1. Take all the dipping sauce ingredients and dump them unceremoniously into a small bowl. Let them mingle and get to know each other for at least 20 minutes.
2. Dump the flour and salt in a mixing bowl big enough to fit the length of the green onions. Whisk in cold water to prevent it from being lumpy. Lumpy Space Princess batter sucks.
3. Beat one egg and set it aside for later.
4. Wash the green onions. Cut off any parts of the stems that are too tough. I also like cutting off the joined stems so that I don’t bite into one end and drag out three onions with it.
5. Get yer frying pan ready! Put it on medium heat and add oil for frying. Swirl the oil to coat the pan. NOTE: Use a pan big enough to match the full length of the onions. You want to be able to lay them out in the pan flat like a carpet. If you don’t have a big enough pan, chop the onions in half to match that pan size.
6. Once the frying pan is hot, gently place your green onions into your batter and coat them. Try to keep them in as straight a line as possible. You don’t want to violently stir the green onions into the batter and have them sticking up all crazy. The flatter the better.
7. The next part you have to work quickly! Using tongs or long cooking chopsticks, gently place the green onions which are now coated in batter into the hot pan. Try to lay them out as flat and evenly as possible. Quickly take the remaining batter and fill in any gaps between the onions to join them into one unified pancake. Use your flipper to shape the pancake if batter is spilling around like crazy.
8. Watch the surface of the pancake. After 1-2 minutes it will change from being liquid to being more solid with little bubbles starting to pop. At that point, pour the beaten egg evenly all over the pancake. Use the flipper to keep the egg from spilling out onto the pan, and fold it back onto the pancake.
9. After another 1-2 minutes the egg will become more solid. Use the flipper to gently check under the pancake to see if it is brownly nicely or burning rapidly. You want to flip it once the other side is lightly browned.
10. Once the other side is lightly browned, prepare to flip the whole giant pancake like a boss. BOOM! You just flipped it perfectly like a boss. I’m proud of you.
11. Let it cook for another 2-3 minutes checking to see if it’s browning on the other side. All together, it took me between 6-8 minutes to cook the pancake depending on how thick I made it!
12. Serve the pancake by slicing it into a grid shape and serve with the dipping sauce. You can use red pepper to garnish if you so please! Enjoy!
Final comments! If you don’t eat eggs, the egg is not totally necessary so feel free to leave it out. Also, since the flour to water ratio is 1:1, you can easily make this recipe bigger or smaller, and feel free to fool around with different type of flours. I tried whole wheat flour and it worked, but the pancake was much tougher tasting. If you are gluten free, I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour and it was awesome for pancakes!
If you do end up making this recipe, don’t forget to leave a comment and let everyone know if you ran into any difficulties! The more tips and tricks we get from each other the better our Pajeons will become. Hahahah I feel like that sounded SO serious, like “WE CAN RID THE WORLD OF EVIL IF WE ALL TALK ABOUT OUR GREEN ONION PANCAKE EXPERIENCES”.
EDIT: Some people found the pancake batter to be too salty, so I reduced the salt from 1 tbsp to 1 tsp. I realized that I use a very chunky sea salt so it’s probably not a true tbsp and if you use fine grain salt it’s probably SO MUCH SALT! Thanks for all the notes everyone! ^^