The Korean word “jeon” is translated as pancake. However, unlike the usual pancakes eaten for breakfast, Korean pancakes are eaten at all mealtimes as a side dish or as snacks.
Korean pancakes are crispy on the outside, soft and moist in the middle and is chockful of fresh lightly cooked vegetables. The pancakes are then served with a spicy soy dipping sauce. There are a variety of jeons in Korea. Some with vegetables, meat, seafood and fish. The common jeons found are kimchi jeon and seafood green onion jeon.
Let’s learn how to make gamjajeon, a Korean savoury pancake made with grated potatoes. These crispy, chewy potato pancakes are great as a snack or appetizer. It’s common to add other vegetables such as garlic chives, scallions, chilli peppers, zucchinis or even ham. However, if you do add them, use only a small amount, allowing the potatoes to be the star of the dish.
• ¼ onion (optional)
• 2 large or 3 medium potatoes
• ¼ tsp salt
• 50g garlic chives (optional)
• Oil for frying
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tsp vinegar
• 1 tbsp water
• ½ tsp sugar
• Dash of black pepper
- Grate the potatoes and remove some water content from the potatoes by squeezing or straining them. Collect the water from the water and let the starch sink to the bottom till it forms a dense, white layer. Carefully pour out the water. The starch can then be used in the batter.
- Grate the onion (if using). Mix the drained potatoes and onions together and mix well to prevent the potatoes from discolouring.
- Add the potato starch you collected to the potato mixture along with salt and garlic chives. Mix well.
- Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add half the batter and spread it evenly into a round shape. Cook the bottom until it is a light golden brown. Then flip to the other side and cook till golden brown.
- Repeat with the remainder batter.
- Serve the potato pancakes hot with the dipping sauce.