Mix the soy sauce, water, vinegar, minced garlic (and chilli powder if using) in a dipping bowl.
To Make the Korean Pancake Batter:
Place the Korean pancake mix into a large bowl and top with the cold water and egg. Mix until batter is smooth. Add the spring onions and seafood mix to the batter and stir through.
To Cook the Pancakes
Heat half the vegetable oil in a frying pan on high and then reduce heat to medium. Pour or ladle half the batter into the pan and press out to the edges. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, around 3-4 minutes.
Flip the pancake and add a little more vegetable oil around the edges. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until the seafood has cooked through and the pancake is a delicious golden brown colour.
Repeat for the second pancake. Serve hot with the dipping sauce.
Korean Pancake Mix – Known as buchim garu, 부침가루,you can source Korean pancake mix from Asian grocers, buy it online or make a similar mix from the following:
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tbsp of rice flour – Note – Avoid using sweet rice flour as it will make the pancake mix a little ‘gummier’ rather than crispy. The most widely available brand is Erawan Thai rice flour. It comes in red and green varieties, so please use the red Erawan packet.
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Seafood – The easiest option is to look for a frozen seafood mix (which usually includes mussels, oysters, calamari, octopus, lobster, prawns/shrimp etc. Always defrost it first before making pajeon. You can also use a mix of your favourite seafoods, or leave it out completely if you don’t like seafood.
Spring Onion – Substitute with flat Asian garlic chives for extra garlicky flavour.
Cabbage – Napa cabbage is preferred for it’s slightly sweeter flavour and tender leaves, but you can use regular green cabbage if you prefer.
Water – Always use ice water or cold water when making the batter, and aim for a thin runny consistency. This helps with crispiness similar to our recipe for Taiwanese dan bing crepes.
Thick or Thin Pancakes? - It’s up to you. Generally, the thinner you go, the crispier the pancakes will be. We like them to be a little chewy too though, so usually aim for them to be a little thicker and then add more oil around the outside for crispier edges.
Add Heat - Add Korean chilli flakes into the batter (to taste), or garnish the finished pancakes with a few drops of rayu chilli oil or a sprinkling of shichimi chilli powder. Or serve with Cho-gochujang 초고추장, a spicy Korean dipping sauce made from vinegar and gochujang sweetened with sugar and/or honey.
Make It Vegetarian - Leave out the seafood and just include the spring onions and kimchi, or add in some julienne sliced carrot and onion.