Pajeon is a Korean savory pancake made with scallions. Pa means scallion, and jeon means pan-fried battered food. The most popular variation is made with seafood (haemul), hence the name haemul pajeon. Along with other savory pancakes such as kimchi jeon, buchjeon, and nokdujeon, it’s one of Korea’s favorite snacks or appetizers.
In Korea, haemul pajeon is often paired with makgeolli (Korean milky rice wine). Koreans also say that when it rains outside, just stay home and enjoy some jeon (savory pancakes). Pajeon is a popular choice.
How to make Korean pancake batter
Commercially available pancake mix (buchim garu, 부침가루) is a pantry staple in Korean homes. The mix is seasoned and typically includes wheat flour and other ingredients such as corn starch, rice flour and sometimes baking powder. Koreans look for a slightly chewy and crispy texture in savory pancakes.
Sometimes, Korean home cooks combine pancake mix with frying mix (twuigim garu, 튀김가루) for extra crispy pancakes. Frying mix typically contains more rice flour and baking powder for a crispy result. Try it if you have a bag of frying mix (1:1 ratio).
Don’t have a bag of pancake mix? Not to worry! You can simply use all purpose flour. For a chewy and crispy texture, you can basically create your own mix similar to the commercial version by adding rice flour and/or corn starch along with a little bit of baking powder. Regardless, season it with salt, and add some minced garlic (or powder).
How to make seafood scallion pancake
Look for thin scallions for making pajeon. If the white parts are thick, cut in half lengthwise.
Usually, a combination of seafood, such as squid, shrimp, mussels, oysters and clams, is used, but you can simply use any one (or two) of them. Fresh seafoods are always good, but a bag of frozen seafood mix works well for this recipe.
There are different ways to pan fry scallion pancakes. Sometimes, I combine everything together in the mix before pan-frying. Other times, I only mix the seafood in the batter and then later add the scallions on top when frying. Some people put the scallions first in the pan to crisp up and then spread the batter and the seafood on top. Try these different techniques and see which one you like.
Flipping the pancake is somewhat intimidating for a lot of people. The key is to wait until the bottom is nicely golden brown and flip it fast with confidence. And flip only once! You can also make the pancake smaller for easier flipping.