Saturday, November 13, 2010

Korean Pancakes and Kimchee

My current obsession
I’m currently obsessed with Korean red pepper powder since I bought a pound of it at Go Bu Gi yesterday. So after brewing up some pilsner today, I decided I needed to make more Korean food. Kimchee is the national dish of Korea. It accompanies almost every meal. There’s a wide variety of commercial kimchee at markets that I shop in, but today I decided to try and make some from scratch. Although Kimchee is usually fermented, you can some of it fresh and let the rest ferment.

I first learned about Korean pancakes in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, but his recipe uses eggs. The recipe I use now has no eggs in it, although I do add some baking powder as leavening. You can use pretty much any vegetables in them. I found nice looking zucchini so I used those, but you can also use cabbage, potatoes, mushrooms, etc. Experiment with what looks good.

The kimchee recipe is for a small amount (about 1½ quarts). You can make a larger batch if you want by doubling or quadrupling the recipe. Because I use soy sauce instead of fish sauce, the kimchee is a little darker that traditional kimchee.


1 napa cabbage, about 2.5 lbs, washed, cut into quarters lengthwise and then into 1 inch pieces
¼ cup of kosher salt
1 large carrot, julienned
¼ daikon radish, julienned (roughly equal to the amount of carrot)
6 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of scallions cut into 1 inch pieces
2 inch piece of ginger, grated
1/8 cup of rice flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
¾ cup of water
¼ cup of soy sauce
2-8 tablespoons of Korean red pepper powder (go for as hot as you can)

Add the salt to the napa cabbage and let it sit for 1-2 hours to soften and remove moisture. Rinse the cabbage thoroughly and squeeze out the excess water. Taste it to make sure most of the salt has been removed. If it still seems salt, rinse it some more.

Mix the water, rice flour, and sugar in a sauce pan and cook until it thickens. Remove from heat and add the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and red pepper. Mix to combine into a thick paste.

In a bowl large enough to hold all of the ingredients, add the paste, the carrots and the daikon. Mix well, then add the napa cabbage and mix well. Pack the contents into canning jars but don’t tighten the lids (put them on but not screw them down, because the kimchee will create CO2 as it ferments. You can store it on the counter for several days to ferment, or you can put it in the fridge to ferment slowly over the course of several weeks. You can use it fresh the day that you make it as well.

Packed to ferment slowly in the fridge (if it lasts)

Fresh Kimchee
Korean vegetable pancakes

1 cup of white flour
1 cup of rice flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 zucchini, grated
2 carrots, grated
1 bunch of scallions, tops and roots trimmed, cut into ¼ inch slices
1 teaspoon of kosher salt

For dipping sauce:
1/3 cup of soy sauce
2 tablespoons unprocessed or brown sugar
½ teaspoon Korean red pepper powder (or more to taste)
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
1 inch piece of ginger, grated

Mix the flours, baking powder, and salt together. Add enough water to make a batter. It shouldn’t be too thin or too thick. Go for a consistency like normal pancake batter. Add the vegetables and mix thoroughly.

In a non-stick skillet, add a little oil or coat the pan with spray oil. Add the batter and cook for about 5 minutes until browned and then flip. Cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Remove, cut into quarters and serve with dipping sauce and a side of fresh or fermented kimchee.


  1. Those pancakes look delicious! I'm definitely going to try them soon! Thanks!