Kimchi pancakes are crispy, a bit chewy and full of the goodness of Korean-style fermented cabbage. (Emily Ho)
Whether homemade or store-bought, kimchi is delicious straight from the jar, but it can also be incorporated into lots of other dishes. These savory kimchi pancakes make a scrumptious snack, side dish or appetizer. It’s easy to make them gluten free and vegan, too. Just grab a skillet and a few simple ingredients.
Kimchi pancakes, or kimchijeon, are crispy, a bit chewy and full of the umami goodness of Korean-style fermented cabbage. This recipe works especially well with older kimchi that is tangy and full of bold flavor. Mix kimchi juice with flour to make a rosy batter, stir in chopped kimchi and scallions, and fry.
Although kimchi pancakes are best warm from the skillet, I have never turned up my nose at room temperature leftovers. I like having them for a quick snack or a simple side dish for dinner. Cut into wedges or squares, kimchi pancakes also make great appetizers. Serve them with a spicy dipping sauce like yangnyeomjang or a simple soy and vinegar sauce, and watch them disappear!
Kimchi Pancakes (Kimchijeon)
1 cup cabbage kimchi
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup rice flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 scallions, finely chopped
Vegetable oil for frying (I like using grape seed oil)
Yangnyeomjang (see recipe at right) or easy dipping sauce (see notes)
Drain the kimchi, reserving the juice. Measure the juice and top off with water if necessary to make ½ cup liquid. Coarsely chop the kimchi.
In a large bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, rice flour, salt and kimchi juice/water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped kimchi and scallions.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet. For each pancake, add ¼ of the mixture to the skillet and spread it out with the back of a spoon to make a pancake about 5 inches in diameter. Cook for about 2 minutes until the bottom is crispy and golden. Flip over and cook until the other side is crispy and golden, about 2 minutes more. Remove from skillet and drain on towels. (Work in batches and add more oil to the pan as necessary.)
Serve the pancakes warm or at room temperature with dipping sauce on the side. Makes 4 pancakes.
Per serving: 147 calories; 7 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat; 43 percent calories from fat); 18 g carbohydrates; 0 mg cholesterol; 602 mg sodium; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber.
Yangnyeomjang (Korean Seasoning Sauce)
An essential ingredient in Korean cuisine, gochugaru (or kochukaru) is a coarsely ground red pepper with a texture between flakes and powder. Traditionally, gochugaru is made from sun-dried chili peppers, and versions that are prepared in this manner are still considered the best tasting. The flavor is hot, sweet and slightly smoky. Gochugaru can be bought at Asian specialty markets and online.
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons gochugaru (see note)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, crushed or whole
½ teaspoon sugar or honey
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 scallion, chopped
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust quantities, if desired.
Makes ¼ cup or 4 servings.
Per serving (per 1 tablespoon): 53 calories; 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat; 68 percent calories from fat); 3 g carbohydrates; 0 mg cholesterol; 772 mg sodium; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber.
Vegan version: Be sure to use fish- and shrimp-free kimchi. Trader Joe’s sells vegan kimchi.
Gluten-free version: Substitute sorghum flour or your favorite GF flour blend for all-purpose flour. For the dipping sauce, use wheat-free tamari or Bragg’s liquid aminos.
Easy dipping sauce: Combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, ½teaspoon rice vinegar and ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, if desired.
Emily Ho is a writer for TheKitchn.com. email@example.com.