Korean seafood and green onion pancakes – Haemul Pajeon recipe!
Today, I’m sharing one of the most frequently requested recipes, Korean Pajeon (파전).
What is Pajeon?
Pajeon literally translates as green onion pancakes, but since I love seafood so much (and I think just green onion pancakes are a little bit boring for me), I decided to throw in some prawns and calamari rings into this.
The official Korean name for this seafood and green onion pancakes is Haemul Pajeon (해물파전). But really, you can throw in any seafood kinds you like here – clams, mussels, oysters, lobster meat etc. If you are a vegetarian, just omit the seafood and do the rest of the ingredients the same.
Can you imagine how many times I had to make this Pajeon in the last 14 days? Almost every second day! Yeah, our family loves Pajeon but we’re just a bit Pajeon-ed out at the moment. 🙂
The thing is, I’ve never made Pajeon before, I only made Buchimgae (부침개) in the past. So I wanted to test my recipe multiple times using various combinations of ingredients (mainly for the batter) and cooking techniques before I share it with you.
Pajeon (파전) vs. Buchimgae (부침개)
If you translate these words – Pajeon and Buchimgae in English, they both mean Korean pancakes. But how are they different?
I’m not 100% on this, but as far as I can gather based on the little information available in the Korean online community – Naver, the main difference between them is the “cooking technique“.
For Buchimgae all prepared ingredients (e.g. flour, water, vegetables, meat etc) are mixed in a large mixing bowl then they are scooped out with a ladle and cooked.
For Pajeon, the main ingredients are individually placed onto a frying pan directly then the flour mixture is lightly poured in – maximising the contents of the vegetables and the meat. (Because of this, Pajeon used to be classed as “Royalty” food.) Though you will also notice that many Koreans use the wording Buchimgae and Pajeon interchangeably as well.
The Most Famous Pajeon: Dongnae Pajeon (동래파전)
As for the Pajeon, the most famous variety is Dongnae Pajeon (동래파전), which originates from Busan, South Korea. Based on this video (produced by Busan metropolitan city), you will notice that it’s again different to my recipe.
How To Serve Pajeon
Typically Dongnae Pajeon is served with Cho-gochujang (초고추장: sweet, tangy and spicy Korean dipping sauce). But I pair my Pajeon with my Korean sweet tangy soy dipping sauce, which is so delicious! I hope you get to try my Pajeon and dipping sauce recipes. Enjoy!
P.S. Have too much green onions at hand? Then find out how to store them, so that they can last longer. (I mean like 5 to 6 weeks! & No planting is involved!)
Ingredients for Korean Seafood and Green Onion Pancakes, Yield 5 pancakes (24cm, 9 inch)
- 2 cup Korean pancake mix – see the Notes to check out the brand I used. It’s crunchy!
- 1/4 cup tempura flour – You can use a Korean or Japanese brand.
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- 2 & 1/2 cup icy cold water
- 5 large beaten eggs – 1 egg per pancake. Therefore, they should be beaten in a separate bowl.
- 250g (0.55 ounces) calamari rings – I used pre cleaned and cut rings, so if you’re using whole calamari body, clean and cut appropriately.
- 250g (0.55 ounces) medium sized prawns – I used pre shelled and cleaned prawns, so if you’re using prawns with shells, un-shell and clean appropriately.
- 14 stalks (310g, 0.7 pound) green onion – cleaned and cut length ways to fit your skillet (You typically need to cut in half or thirds)
- 1 red chili (optional) – For some spicy kick but also for nice presentation, thinly sliced diagonally
- Some vegetable cooking oil (with a high burning point) – I used rice bran oil
*1 cup = 250ml, 1 Tbsp = 15ml
How to Make Korean Seafood Pancake
1. Make the pancake batter per the following. Sift the pancake mix, tempura flour and rice flour. (You will notice some small salt/sugar/seasoning remnant in the sift. Add these into the bowl.) Add the water and whisk it well.
2. Pre heat the frying pan on medium to medium high until the bottom is well heated. Reduce the heat to medium to medium low. (Cook and finish with this temperature setting.) Put a generous amount of cooking oil into the pan. Make sure the oil is spread all the way around the pan. (Watch out for oil splash)
3. Place one fistful of green onion on the pan parallel to each other and drop some calamari rings, prawns and red chili sparingly on top of the green onion. Scoop out the pancake mixture (from the step 1) with a ladle, drizzle (in zigzag shape) it over the green onion and seafood. Try to spread it evenly filling any gaps. Drizzle the beaten egg over the pancake. Shape the pancake with a spatula by randomly poking and lifting around the edges of the pancake. (Depending on the frying pan you’re using, the pancake could be already more than half cooked by the time you finish the egg.)
4. Turn the pancake over when you see the top of the pancake partially cooked. (This makes it easy to turn the pancake.) Add some cooking oil around the edges of the pancake circle. Press the pancake with the spatula a couple of times to sizzle and make it crispy. When both sides are cooked turn the heat off and set it aside onto a plate or a cutting board.
5. Repeat step 2 to 4 for the remainder to use up the ingredients. It should give you 5 pancakes that are about 24cm (9 inches) across.
6. Slice the pancakes into easy to bite size. (A pizza cutter might be handy to use) Serve it with a dipping sauce.
- If you’re using frozen seafood for the recipe, defrost them first. I normally soak them in cold water and leave them at room temperature for 10 to 15 mins. During this time, I check every 5 mins and change the water and also separate them if they are stuck together because of the icy surface.
- If you want to serve the dipping sauce with these pancakes, prepare it before you start making the pancakes. This is so that you can enjoy the nice, warm and crispy pancakes straight after cooking it.
- It’s easier to flip the pancake in a smaller (e.g. 24cm, 9 inches) frying pan than the larger frying pan (e.g. 32cm, 13 inches)
- If you don’t use up the ingredients in the same day you prepare it, you can keep them in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. Keep the pancake mixture, seafood and vegetable all separately in an air tight container.
- You can reheat the cooked pancake in a microwave or in a frying pan again.
- I’ve tried a couple of Korean pancake mixes in the past and I think this one (below picture) is my favourite. It really gives the crunchy texture I like. For this recipe though, as the pancake itself is a bit thicker than other Korean pancake kinds, it was only mildly crisp. But if you’re looking for Korean pancake mix, I highly recommend this. Its special feature is that it has grated potato in its flour mix.