Korean vegetable pancakes (jeon) are not sweet breakfast treats to be coated with maple syrup. Jeon are simple flat cakes of vegetables, fish or meat coated with a flour and egg batter and pan fried. These delicious cakes are served as a side dish or as a complete meal.
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I first sampled jeon at a bar in South Korea where bankers were gathering to drink and relax after a hard day’s work. It was my first trip to Seoul. My friends and I had stumbled upon the bar/restaurant while searching for authentic, traditional Korea food near our hotel in Myeongdong after a busy day of sightseeing.
We ordered a huge platter of assorted jeon and spicy short ribs that took your breath away. It was one of the most delicious meals of our trip (and we had a great time watching the locals unwind!).
Korean Vegetable Pancake
I have been working on a recipe for mixed vegetable jeon since that first exciting trip to Seoul. It is an easy recipe to master and can be made with many different vegetables.
Traditional jeon can be made with one or more vegetables including zucchini, green onion, and mushrooms. My recipes combines several types of common American vegetables with a light batter to make a delicate, flavorful pancake.
Summer Vegetable Overload
I make a lot of jeon in the summer for three reasons:
- This recipe is perfect for the end of summer when fresh vegetables are plentiful. (Hint: it’s a great use for zucchini).
- It makes a great dinner without using the oven, always a plus when it is hot outside.
- It gets kids to eat vegetables, lots of vegetables.
Spicy Dipping Sauce
Jeon is great with many sauces from soy sauce to ketchup. I love serving the pancakes with a spicy soy dipping sauce made with soy sauce, rice vinegar, onion, garlic, and jalapenos. If you don’t love spicy food you can skip the diced vegetables but still enjoy the zingy soy/vinegar dipping sauce.
I serve jeon with rice and Asian Cucumber Salad for a delicious vegetarian meal that is full of vegetables and FLAVOR. If you want to be completely authentic, use stainless steel chopsticks for the meal (you can buy them here ). They are my favorite Korean purchase, chopsticks that can go in the dishwasher!Print
Korean Vegetable Pancake (Jeon)
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 20 pancakes 1x
- Category: Main Dish, Side Dish
- Cuisine: Korean
Korean jeon are simple flat cakes of vegetables, fish or meat coated with a flour and egg batter and pan fried. These delicious treats are served as a side dish or as a complete meal. this recipe combines several types of vegetables with a light batter to make a delicate, flavorful jeon. It’s a great recipe for the end of summer when fresh vegetables are plentiful (and a great use for the huge zucchinis lurking in your garden). Serve jeon with spicy soy dipping sauce.
Jeon Vegetable Pancakes
- 2 c yellow summer squash or zucchini (washed, deseeded, and grated)
- 1 ½ c carrots (peeled and grated)
- 2 c yellow potatoes (peeled and grated)
- 3/4 cup green onions (finely diced, about 4 onions )
- 3/4 cup orange or red sweet pepper (finely diced, about 1 pepper )
- 2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- ¾ – 1 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- vegetable oil or olive oil (for frying)
- sesame oil (for frying)
Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp white onion (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely diced)
- 1 green jalapeno pepper (about 2 inches long, sliced, leave in seeds)
Jeon Vegetable Pancakes
- Place all vegetable in a large bowl. (Use s a food processor to grate the squash, carrot and potatoes, it makes the recipe much faster.)
- Stir flour into vegetables until well distributed.
- Add egg and ¾ cup water, stir. If batter is very stiff add remaining ¼ cup of water.
- Stir in salt and pepper
- Heat ½ tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil in a skillet and swirl to coat pan bottom. Place ¼ cup of batter in skillet and use wooden spoon or spatula to spread until thin and evenly distributed (about ¼ inch).
- Fry pancake until golden and crispy, using clean spatula to raise pancake and allow oil to reach beneath (this takes about 3-5 minutes).
- Flip pancake, after 2 minutes drizzle a small amount of sesame oil (1/8 tsp) around the skillet at the outside edge of the pancake.
Again, use a spatula to allow the oil to reach completely under the pancake. Make sure that the pancake is tender in the center and very crispy on the outside.
- Remove pancake from skillet and place on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
- Continue until all pancakes are cooked. Add extra vegetable oil or olive oil between batches as needed.
Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce
- Combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, white onion, garlic, sliced jalapeno pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Let ingredients sit together while you cook the pancakes or for several hours, if possible.
- Serving Size: 1 pancake
- Calories: 70
- Sodium: 138.2mg
- Fat: 0.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 14.2 g
- Protein: 2.2 g
- Cholesterol: 14.2 g
Keywords: Korean vegetable pancake, jeon
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These were pretty tasty but whoa, this recipe sure made a lot! My family of 3 ate this as a main course and we still have 20 pancakes left (I counted). I can’t imagine how long it would take to cook them one at a time as Bren advises – I have a large cast iron griddle that fit 8 pancakes at a time and it still took me a good hour to cook them all in batches – keeping the finished ones hot in the toaster. I did enjoy them and my family did as well – although they preferred them with Greek yogurt or sour cream rather than the dipping sauce. Like Korean latkes! Thanks for introducing me to this new food.
Hiya! Is there an alternative for egg? I have a family member who’s allergic to dairy but would love to attempt cooking this! 🙂 Thanks an advanced!
I have not made these without egg, sorry!
I made these without egg and it worked just fine! I also used GF flour and it was still great. The potato binds everything together very well. Loved this!
Thanks for rating the recipe, Mel! Im happy to hear it works without the egg and with gluten-free flour! Do you have a preferred brand?
This is a traditional recipe that sure taste terrific!
Kim vd Linden
Hello, I’m planning on making this for a lunch party but I’m pretty sure they won’t be warm anymore when I get there. Do they also taste good when they’re cold?
They are eaten cold or at room temperature in Korea and I enjoy them that way.
Can I freeze the batter?
Chelsea, I’ve never tried freezing the batter but I have successfully frozen the cooked pancakes.
I had trouble frying them they kept falling apart but the oarts rhat survived were delicious
Oh, no! Try a little extra oil next time. I’m glad you enjoyed the flavor!
Is it okay to use almond flour in replacement of all purpose flour for this korean pancake recipe? if it is, would it be a one to one ratio?
I’ve never tried almond flour but it should work. I would try a 1 to 1 ratio.
This looks quite yummy! But I have a few questions:
1. The amounts you list (e.g. 2 c. zucchini, shredded), I assume that means that means I am supposed to shred up zucchini until I have 2 cups of it?
2. There is a lot of shredding going on here. Does it really only take about 10 minutes to prep? My first few times I’m sure it’ll take longer (such is the nature of trying new recipes), but it just seems like it’d take a while to prep it all. I do intend to use a Cuisinart to shred the vegetables.
3. Is there a faster way to fry them up? Could I maybe try baking this?
I ask because I’d like to try to get more vegetables and want to try getting some at breakfast. This looks super tasty and delicious and I’m wondering if there’s a way to make it even easier. I have a long commute (about 2.5 hours total) so time is a touch limited. 🙂 As this recipe is laid out it looks pretty quick and easy. Just wondering if it can be whittled down even further. 🙂
I’m excited to give this a try!
Yes, shred the zucchini until you have 2 cups (I freeze leftovers to use later). I use my food processor to shred so the prep goes fast. I’ve never baked them, but I do make a huge batch then freeze them after they are fried. This way I can just pop a few in the microwave for a fast meal. To make the cooking faster I have several skillets going at once. Hope you enjoy!
This recipe reminds me of my trip to Korea! It’s so delicious and makes me want to go back!!
Thank you, I love Korea too!
Would this recipe work with a flax seed egg?
I think the flax would stay too crunchy. Sorry!
I will use masa flour for a more gluten free receipt . Thanks for sharing as this is a wonderful way for people on gluten free diets to get a filling breakfast . And I love your super chemical free ranch dressing . Keep adding more ways to get more car it with vegetables .