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What Is Pajeon?

By Eugene P.
Updated May 17, 2024
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Pajeon is a Korean food that features green onions as its primary ingredient. It is a type of pancake or omelet that, in its most basic form, contains nothing but flour, water and green onions. Variations of the recipe, however, can include eggs, shellfish, kimchi or other vegetables. The simple preparation and fast cooking times make the dish very popular as a midday snack or as part of a larger selection of foods during a dinner presentation. When served, pajeon can be accompanied by rice, bean curd, vinegar dipping sauces, or it can be sprinkled with ground pork.

The simplest batter for making pajeon consists of water and flour. The water is kept very cold so it helps the pancake become crisper as it is being cooked. The flour used can be white flour, rice flour or buckwheat flour, the latter of which is used in certain areas of South Korea. In some versions of the dish, prepared glutinous rice also is added to the batter to give it more texture.

Although not called for in every pajeon recipe, an egg can be added to the dish in different ways. It can be beaten and whipped into the water and flour batter, giving more weight and a little more height to the dish. A more traditional method of adding egg in some regions is to pour a beaten egg over top of the cooked pancake while it is still in the pan, allowing it to form a single, thin layer on the top.

Cooking pajeon starts by adding the ingredients to a hot pan with some oil. The classic dish uses just green onions that are either chopped into pieces or arranged side by side in a layer in the pan when whole. They are cooked until heated through. Any other ingredients, such as oysters, mussels, kimchi, bean curd or mung bean sprouts also are added to the pan and allowed to warm through.

The batter is poured over the ingredients in the pan. The heat will cause the pajeon batter to set as it cooks, forming a brown crust on the bottom. Once it has almost cooked all the way through, the entire pancake is flipped in the pan and allowed to cook on the opposite side. When the second side has browned slightly, the dish is done.

The pancakes can either be cooked in small individual discs or into a single large one that is cut into individual slices. Pajeon is usually served with a dipping sauce that can be very hot or a spicy combination of green onions, vinegar and soy sauce. It also can be accompanied by rice or fried bean curd.

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