This kimchi pancake is packed with the best flavors of kimchi and perfectly crispy. It’s super easy to whip up, and best eaten with a homemade dipping sauce that will keep you wanting more.
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A couple of weekends ago I went out with my husband and brother-in-law to this mom-and-pop Korean restaurant in Chicago called Nangman Pocha. It’s a charming place that has stolen my heart, and I’m definitely going to visit it again. As standard practice at any Korean restaurant that I go to, I ordered their Kimchi pancake.
And my mind. was. blown. It was so crispy and tasty that I was in awe. The minute I came home, I made it my mission to try and replicate the brilliance of the dish that held my heart in a tight grip. (Is it me? Am I the drama?)
Kimchi pancake, or Kimchijeon, is a Korean savory pancake that bursts with flavor, with the main ingredients being flour and fermented kimchi. It’s super easy to whip up that you’ll get the pancakes ready in a jiffy!
Through much trial and error, I think I’ve come close to a pretty good recipe on recreating that crispy kimchi pancake. It might not be as authentic but this is my take on it. The key to making it light and crispy? Cold seltzer water. I’ve seen some people use ice cold water instead, but in my experience the pancake doesn’t come out as crispy when I do that.
TIPS FOR A CRIPSY KIMCHI PANCAKE
- Use cold seltzer water – When you incorporate it, the batter becomes light which makes the pancake super crispy when fried. You can try to substitute it with ice cold water, though it might not be as crispy.
- Use fermented kimchi – This is the best type of kimchi to use when cooking. However, if you’re using new kimchi (that’s not fermented as long and is less sour), use less sugar in your cooking. The sugar doesn’t make it sweet, but is used to round out the flavor.
- Spread batter thinly – This is key in order to prevent from getting a mushy pancake.
- Beginner flips – Don’t be afraid to use two spatulas to flip the pancake! If you try to flip it and it doesn’t look like it will hold its shape and break, that means it’s not fully cooked on one side. Let it cook for another minute or so and try again. You can also cover the pan with a plate and flip it over, then slide the pancake back into the pan to finish cooking.
Looking for more Korean recipes? Here you go:
- Kimchi Pasta Carbonara
- Kimchi Fried Rice
- Cheesy Korean Fried Chicken
- Korean Fire Chicken with Cheese (Cheese Buldak)
Crispy Kimchi Pancake (Kimchijeon)
- 1 cup kimchi
- 1/4 cup kimchi brine
- 1/4 medium sized onion sliced
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp cold seltzer see notes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tbsp sugar see notes
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
Kimchi Pancake Batter
- Mince/cut the kimchi into smaller pieces.
- Slice the green onions thinly and about 3 inch long. Slice the onions as well.
- Mix the flour and cornstarch in a bowl and add the cold seltzer, kimchi brine, sugar and salt.
- Whisk until there are no lumps.
- Add the kimchi, onions and green onions. Stir until well combined.
Frying the Kimchi Pancake
- In a medium sized frying pan over medium heat, pour in enough oil to coat the surface of the pan.
- Once it's hot enough, pour in half of the batter.
- With a round/curved bottom spatula, gently spread out the mixture so it covers the whole surface of the pan. You want it to be on a thinner side for crispy pancake.
- Let that cook for 5-6 minutes or until it's fully cooked on one side and then flip it over.
- Let it continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes and then serve. Enjoy!