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Korean Vegetable Pancake (Yacheajeon)

Image of Korean Vegetable Pancake
The culinary history of the pancake is really fascinating and goes back thousands of years. In these more modern times, we’re familiar with the sweet version, doused with maple syrup and typically served for breakfast. But other cultures have versions, both savory and sweet, that are flattened, starch/water-battered and griddle-fried.

On the sweet side are French crêpes and Dutch babies, while on the savory spectrum there are Venezuelan cachapas, Russian blinis, Northern Indian cheela, and Korean buchimgae (kimchi). Also from Korea is the yachae (vegetable) jeon (pancake), a versatile and easy recipe that can be enjoyed as a savory start to the day, for a nice lunch, or as a fun and tasty appetizer for an evening of entertaining.

Simply choose 4-5 favorite veggies—definitely include 1-2 aromatics such as onions, garlic, and/or peppers, cut into julienned pieces, then coat with the batter, panfry and accompany with a savory soy-based dipping sauce. In my version, I’m using crisp, mild and juicy red onions, cleaned and sliced leeks, organic yams or sweet potatoes, fresh or rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms, and slightly spicy Hatch Chile Peppers.

This Korean vegetable pancake is the perfect palate for whatever veggies are in your fridge and will provide a unique, interesting way to get in some of your daily vegetable quota. And serve with some kimchi on the side for extra Korean plant-based goodness.

Korean Vegetable Pancake (Yacheajeon)
Image of Ingredients

For the sauce:
1 ½ tablespoon soy or tamari sauce
1 teaspoon water
2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon Ground Red Hatch Pepper
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

For the batter:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons potato or cornstarch
1-1 ½ cups water

For the veggies:
3/4 cup red onions, julienned
1 ½ cups cleaned and sliced leeks
1 ½ cups sweet potatoes, julienned
4 fresh or rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms, julienned
½ cup Hatch pepper, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon ginger, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Image of dressing ingredients mixed
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside.
Image of batter ingredients
In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the batter, adding the water a bit at a time to achieve the consistency of pancake batter, stirring until lump-free and creamy smooth.
Image of veggies mixed with batter
In a large bowl, combine all the julienned vegetables, garlic and ginger. Pour the batter over the veggies, toss to completely coat (use a spoon, tongs, or your hands), and set aside for 10 minutes.
Image of cooked pancakes
Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat with 2 ½ tablespoons of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add some of the pancake mixture, leaving room for flipping, and flatten out as thin as possible. Fry about 4 minutes per side. You can cook for an additional 2 minutes or so per side for extra crispiness.
Image of fried pancakes on pan
Remove the pancakes to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat frying with the remaining batter. Serve with kimchi on the side.
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