Whether homemade or store-bought, kimchi is delicious straight from the jar, but it can also be incorporated into lots of other dishes. These savory kimchi pancakes make a scrumptious snack, side dish, or appetizer. It's easy to make them gluten-free and vegan, too. Just grab a skillet and a few simple ingredients.
Kimchi pancakes, or kimchijeon, are crispy, a bit chewy, and full of the umami goodness of Korean-style fermented cabbage. This recipe works especially well with older kimchi that is tangy and full of bold flavor. Mix kimchi juice with flour to make a rosy batter, stir in chopped kimchi and scallions, and fry.
Although kimchi pancakes are best warm from the skillet, I have never turned up my nose at room temperature leftovers, either. I like having them for a quick snack or a simple side dish for dinner. Cut into wedges or squares, kimchi pancakes also make great appetizers. Serve them with a spicy dipping sauce like yangnyeomjang or a simple soy and vinegar sauce and watch them disappear!
Kimchi Pancakes (Kimchijeon)
Makes 4 pancakes
1 cup cabbage kimchi
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 scallions, finely chopped
Vegetable oil for frying (I like using grape seed oil)
Yangnyeomjang or easy dipping sauce (see Recipe Notes)
Drain the kimchi, reserving the juice. Measure the juice and top off with water if necessary to make 1/2 cup liquid. Coarsely chop the kimchi.
In a large bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, rice flour, salt, and kimchi juice/water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped kimchi and scallions.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet. For each pancake, add 1/4 of the mixture to the skillet and spread it out with the back of a spoon to make a pancake about 5 inches in diameter. Cook for about 2 minutes until the bottom is crispy and golden. Flip over and cook until the other side is crispy and golden, about 2 minutes more. Remove from skillet and drain on towels. (Work in batches and add more oil to the pan as necessary.)
Serve the pancakes warm or at room temperature with dipping sauce on the side.
Vegan version: Be sure to use fish- and shrimp-free kimchi. This kimchi recipe is vegan, and Trader Joe's also sells vegan kimchi.
Gluten-free version: Substitute sorghum flour or your favorite GF flour blend for all-purpose flour. For the dipping sauce, use wheat-free tamari or Bragg's liquid aminos.
Easy dipping sauce: Combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, if desired.
(Images: Emily Ho)