Asian Recipes/ Entrees / Appetisers/ Korean/ Recipes/ Snack/ Vegan

Crispy Korean Potato Pancakes – Gamja Jeon

17/02/2022

Crunchy on the outside, chewy and soft inside, is there anything better than gamja jeon? These simple Korean potato pancakes are the perfect savoury snack for dipping!

Crispy Korean potato pancakes with chopsticks in the background.

Why We Love This

There’s nothing better than the perfect combo of chewy, melty insides and crispy, crunchy outsides on these savoury potato pancakes.

Korean pancakes are a great way to use up those last few potatoes in the bottom of your bag, and perfect as a quick and tasty snack with just a handful of ingredients!

This recipe is vegan and suitable for gluten free diets, so you can easily share them around. It’s also super adaptable – add extra veggies, mushrooms, chilli or get creative with your dipping sauces to really make it your own (keep reading for more tasty ideas). 

P.S. Love potato side dishes? Try these amazing Korean braised potatoes or spicy Sri Lankan devilled potatoes next!

Dipping a piece of Korean potato pancake into the sauce.

What is Gamja Jeon? 

Gamja jeon (also written as gamjajeon or 감자전) are a simple Korean potato pancake made from blended or grated potato, with onion and/or green chilli sometimes added into the mix. They’re fried on a hot frying pan until golden and crispy. 

Korean potato pancakes are said to have originated in the Gangwon region where potatoes were first grown in Korea. 

They’re similar to other potato pancakes around the world, such as kartoffelpuffer pancakes from Germany or draniki potato fritters from Belarus. The biggest difference is the heat factor in Korean pancakes, from the addition of chilli and serving them with a spicy dipping sauce.

One style we’ve seen even uses shredded / julienne strips of potato, more like a crispy potato fritter.

One thing we found really interesting is that Korean people sometimes like to make this on a rainy day, as the sizzling sound of cooking these pancakes reminds them of the sound of rain. The golden colour sure cheered us up when we happened to cook them on a rainy day. Maybe you’d like to try this too!

What You’ll Need

  • Potatoes – Any potato will do (waxy or starchy are equally fine). We use regular white potatoes since we always have them on hand. Feel free to use your favourite variety. 
  • Onion – Grated onion helps to stop the potato from discolouring once it’s been grated and also after cooking.
  • Chilli – Use a fresh red chilli or green jalapeno, or sub with slices of capsicum / bell pepper for flavour without heat, or just leave it out completely. 
  • Vegetable Oil – Anything with neutral flavour and a high smoke point for frying will do, such as canola oil. 
Ingredients laid out to make Korean potato pancakes.

Epic Dipping Sauce Ideas for Gamja Jeon Pancakes

Korean choganjang dipping sauce with potato pancake.

Choganjang Dipping Sauce

Cho = vinegar, ganjang = soy sauce. This chunky dipping sauce is amped up with fresh onion, chillies and a splash of sesame oil. For the full ingredients, see the recipe card below.

Simple Korean sesame soy sauce.

Simple Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce

1:1:1 ratio of soy sauce, vinegar and water, and an optional garnish of 1 tsp sesame seeds.

Gyoza being dipped into sauce with chopsticks.

Super Quick & Spicy Sauce

Similar to the simple dipping sauce, our super quick gyoza sauce has an extra spicy zing of chilli flakes. Add sugar, ginger and garlic to really round out the flavour. 

How to make Korean Potato Pancakes:

  1. For the dipping sauce: Add the soy saucevinegarwateronionchilli peppersesame seeds and spring onion.
  2. Add potatoes and water into a blender or food processor. Pulse or blend until smooth400 g potatoes,1 cup water
  3. Pour and strain the blended potato through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag and into a small bowl. Place the potato solids in the cloth aside and allow the water to settle in the bowl for around 5 – 10 minutes. This will separate the water from the potato starch, which will sink to the bottom.
  1. Slowly drain off the yellowish water, reserving the white potato starch layer at the bottom. Add the potato back in from the cloth and mix back together with the starch until well combined.
  2. Add in the sliced long green chillionionsalt and pepper and mix again.½ long green chilli pepper,2 tbsp onion,Salt and pepper
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Spoon out and shape potato pancakes on the pan with a spoon. Optional: For extra crispy edges, add a little more oil to the pan and move it around, making sure to touch the edges.2-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  4. Flip after a few minutes until golden brown on both sides. Serve while hot alongside the dipping sauce, gyoza sauce or gochujang mayo.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Get the Oil Hot Enough – This is super important so that the pancakes cook in the oil, instead of the oil soaking into the pancakes. You can test the oil temperature by placing the tip of a wooden chopstick in the oil – if bubbles form, it’s hot enough to start cooking. 
  • Non Stick Pan – Like all good pancakes, they’re much easier to cook on a non-stick pan.
  • Crispier Edges – To really crispen up the edges, add a little extra oil around the outsides of the pancakes once they’re just about done. You can also turn up the heat for the last 1-2 mins of cooking to get them nicely browned, but keep a close eye and don’t let them burn!
  • Grate Instead of Blend – If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can grate the potato and onion instead. They’ll be delicious and may even be crispier from the extra texture.

FAQs

My potatoes turned brown once grated, what can I do? [If Grating Instead of Blending]

It’s normal for potatoes to slowly start turning brown once they’ve been grated and exposed to oxygen. To prevent this, grate the onion first, so you can mix the grated potato through it straight away.

Can I make gamja jeon in advance?

You can, however we don’t really recommend it as the potato can discolour over time (even after cooking). They probably won’t look as appetising either, but should still be okay to eat within 2-3 days.

My pancakes are sticking to the pan, what can I do?

You can use a non-stick cooking pan, otherwise make sure you use plenty of cooking oil to stop them sticking.

My pancakes were mushy, what happened?

You may not have drained enough liquid from the blended potato. Make sure to squeeze or press out as much liquid as possible. If your mixture is still too runny, you can add 1-2 tbsp of potato starch or cornstarch to thicken it up before cooking.

Can I reheat the pancakes?

Yes, either pop then back in the pan for a few minutes on low-medium heat with just a dash of oil OR you can pop them in your air-fryer on 180°C / 360°F for 3-5 minutes until warmed through and ultra crispy!

Variations

Korean potato pancakes and dipping sauce alongside chopsticks.

More savoury pancake goodness to try next:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Crispy Korean potato pancakes topped with slivers of green chilli.

Crispy Korean Potato Pancakes – Gamja Jeon

Crunchy on the outside, chewy and soft inside, is there anything better than gamja jeon? These simple Korean potato pancakes are the perfect savoury snack for dipping!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Appetiser, Snack
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 3 pancakes
Calories: 118kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 400 g potatoes peeled
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ long green chilli pepper large and sliced, sub spring onion or capsicum / bell peppers
  • 2 tbsp onion grated or blended
  • 2-4 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the dipping sauce

Instructions

For the dipping sauce:

  • Add the soy sauce, vinegar, water, onion, chilli pepper, sesame seeds and spring onion.
    1 tbsp onion, 1 spring onion / green onion, ½ long green chilli pepper, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 tbsp water, ½ tsp sesame seeds

For the pancakes:

  • Add potatoes and water into a blender or food processor. Pulse or blend until smooth
    400 g potatoes, 1 cup water
  • Pour and strain the blended potato through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag and into a small bowl.
  • Place the potato solids in the cloth aside and allow the water to settle in the bowl for around 5 – 10 minutes. This will separate the water from the potato starch, which will sink to the bottom.
  • Slowly drain off the yellowish water, reserving the white potato starch layer at the bottom. Add the potato back in from the cloth and mix back together with the starch until well combined.
  • Add in the sliced long green chilli, onion, salt and pepper and mix again.
    ½ long green chilli pepper, 2 tbsp onion, Salt and pepper
  • Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Spoon out and shape potato pancakes on the pan with a spoon. Optional: For extra crispy edges, add a little more oil to the pan and move it around, making sure to touch the edges.
    2-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Flip after a few minutes until golden brown on both sides. Serve while hot alongside the dipping sauce, gyoza sauce or gochujang mayo.

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Get the Oil Hot Enough – This is super important so that the pancakes cook in the oil, instead of the oil soaking into the pancakes. You can test the oil temperature by placing the tip of a wooden chopstick in the oil – if bubbles form, it’s hot enough to start cooking. 
  • Non Stick Pan – Like all good pancakes, they’re much easier to cook on a non-stick pan.
  • Crispier Edges – To really crispen up the edges, add a little extra oil around the outsides of the pancakes once they’re just about done. You can also turn up the heat for the last 1-2 mins of cooking to get them nicely browned, but keep a close eye and don’t let them burn!
  • Grate Instead of Blend – If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can grate the potato and onion instead. They’ll be delicious and may even be crispier from the extra texture.
  • Add Cheese – Sprinkle cheese over the finished pancakes. You can even broil them for a minute or two to get the cheese extra melty and golden brown. 
  • Make It Spicy – Sprinkle gochugaru chilli flakes or shichimi togarashi into the potato mixture before cooking, or over the top once cooked. 
  • Optional Garnish – Top the finished pancakes with a scattering of spring onion, Korean pickled onion or pickled garlic.
  • Other Dipping Sauce Ideas – Try your freshly cooked pancakes with one of these amazing dipping sauces for extra flavour:

    Nutrition

    Nutrition Facts
    Crispy Korean Potato Pancakes – Gamja Jeon
    Amount per Serving
    Calories
    118
    % Daily Value*
    Fat
     
    1
    g
    2
    %
    Saturated Fat
     
    1
    g
    6
    %
    Polyunsaturated Fat
     
    1
    g
    Monounsaturated Fat
     
    1
    g
    Sodium
     
    398
    mg
    17
    %
    Potassium
     
    601
    mg
    17
    %
    Carbohydrates
     
    26
    g
    9
    %
    Fiber
     
    4
    g
    17
    %
    Sugar
     
    2
    g
    2
    %
    Protein
     
    4
    g
    8
    %
    Vitamin A
     
    43
    IU
    1
    %
    Vitamin C
     
    30
    mg
    36
    %
    Calcium
     
    28
    mg
    3
    %
    Iron
     
    1
    mg
    6
    %
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
    Crispy Korean Potato Pancakes - Gamja Jeon

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