Ah, Kimchi. A staple at Korean meals, and a spicy condiment that is healthy and easy to make at home. All kimchi is: napa cabbage fermented in a blend of garlic, vinegar, salt, chile peppers and other spices.
I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to spicy foods. For me, a little bit of kimchi goes a long way. But if you like a lot of it, the good news is that kimchi is a very healthy food. Kimchi is loaded with vitamins, fiber and lactobacilli, which aids with digestion.
My first encounter with kimchi pancakes (kimchijeon or kimchi jun) was in the ready-made food counter at our local Hmart. I would pick up some during my weekly grocery shopping trips. Paul and Mini-me love the pancakes too, so it’s a double bonus for me. But recently, my timing has been off because the kimchi pancakes were either sold out or not made yet – every. single. time I went to the store. So, I made some myself.
Luckily, it’s a very simple recipe. Just as easy as making buttermilk pancakes at home. All you need is kimchi, wheat flour, rice flour, salt and water.
Note: If you buy kimchi at your local Asian supermarket, keep in mind that it most likely is not vegetarian. Most kimchi is made with dried shrimp and/or anchovies. So, read your labels carefully or make your own kimchi! My friend, Esther has a great recipe for kimchi if you are feeling ambitious and want to make kimchi from scratch. It’s not a difficult process, but it does take some patience since you will need to wait for the kimchi to ferment.
- 1/4 cup white wheat flour
- 1/4 cup rice flour (NOT glutinous)
- 1/2 mix of reserved kimchi juice and water (see notes below)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup kimchi
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
- chopped scallions for garnishing, optional
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the wheat flour, rice flour, kimchi juice & water and salt.
- Mix until the batter is smooth, then set aside for 5-7 minutes.
- Roughly chop the 1 cup of kimchi and add to the batter mixture, stir to combine well.
- In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat.
- Drop spoonfuls of the batter (just under 1/4 cup each) into the skillet, use a spoon to gently spread into approximately 3″ diameter circles.
- Let cook for about 2 minutes, then flip to the other side and let cook for 1.5 to 2 minutes.
- Remove from the skillet and let cool on a platter.
- Repeat until all the batter is used up (will make 5-6 pancakes).
- Garnish with chopped scallions (optional) and enjoy!
- Make sure to get rice flour, not glutinous rice flour.
- If you can’t find rice flour, just use all wheat flour (1/2 cup) and add an egg to the batter.
- The kimchi juice and water mixture turns out to be about 1 tbsp juice and the rest water for me.
- The more traditional way of making these pancakes is to make one large pancake (about 12″ in diameter) and cut in wedges (like a pie or pizza) to serve and share.
- You can also make a simple dipping sauce for the kimchi pancakes using soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and scallions.