What’s even better than scallion pancakes? That would be vegan scallion and kimchi pancakes. Easy to make and delicious, they go well with Asian-style soups and stir-fries. Kimchi is a traditional Korean fermented food, mostly based on napa cabbage, which can be varied in a number of ways.
Inspired by the Korean kimchi pancakes alternatively called kimchijeon or kimchi buchimjae, these pancakes are a treat for fans of the briny, spicy cabbage condiment.
Enveloped into the pancakes, kimchi mellows a bit, but still gives them a distinctive flavor.
Use prepared kimchi, or make your own: It’s surprisingly easy to make your own! I started with this recipe, and have already varied it — by using savoy cabbage instead of napa, dried hot red pepper flakes in place of the Korean spice (gochugaru) when it isn’t available, and other vegetables — it’s a very forgiving formula.
You’ll also want to use readymade kimchi when you just can’t wait to make it, because the homemade tuype needs several days to ferment.
Make sure it’s vegan: The original recipe is often not vegan — it can contain egg and/or kimchi that’s not vegan (containing fish sauce, a traditional ingredient). Whether you make your own kimchi or purchase it, make sure it’s free of fish sauce. And the egg sometimes used in traditional kimchi pancake recipes? Definitely not needed.
Use most any flour: You can use pretty much any flour you have on hand — all-purpose unbleached or spelt both work well (or a combination of those two).
I accidentally bought rice flour, and it worked exceptionally well. Both rice flour and sorghum flour are gluten-free. Even whole wheat pastry flour works well for pancakes; but I would caution against whole wheat bread flour, as the pancakes would turn out heavy.
Dipping sauce: These are good even without sauce, but a sweet and tangy dipping sauce makes them even better. You’ll find the easy recipe in the box; or if you’re feeling lazy, just substitute Korean BBQ sauce — available in the Asian foods aisle of well-stocked supermarkets.
- For a Korean-themed meal, serve with Vegan Korean Beef-Less Rice Bowl.
- See lots more ways to incorporate kimchi into bold-flavored dishes: 11 Vegan Recipes Using Kimchi.
- 1 cup flour (unbleached all-purpose, spelt, sorghum, or rice flour)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups vegan kimchi, chopped if in large chunks
- 3 to 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths (cut in half lengthwise if thick) or thinly sliced
- High-heat vegetable oil (such as safflower), as needed
Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauce (or see shortcut in Notes)
- 1/3 cup all-fruit apricot or peach preserves
- 2 tablespoons orange juice or mango nectar (or water)
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh or squeeze-bottle ginger
- Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste and/or sesame seeds, optional
- Combine the flour, water, and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk together to get a smooth batter.
- Stir the kimchi and scallions into the batter.
- Heat a nonstick griddle or wide skillet. Add a some oil (use at your discretion, depending on your attitude toward oil, how crispy you want the pancakes, and how nonstick you pan is), and when nice and hot, ladle the batter on in 1/3 cup quantities. If you’d like slightly larger pancakes, make that 1/2 cup. Or see Note about making fewer, but larger pancakes.
- If the batter doesn’t spread nicely, add a little more water and whisk in. Cook the pancakes in batches on both sides until golden brown over medium-high heat.
- Remove each batch to a covered container while cooking the remaining pancakes. Line each layer with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- While the pancakes are cooking, make the sauce, if using. Simply combine the ingredients in a small bowl and stir together until well blended.
- Once all the pancakes are cooked, serve warm with the dipping sauce. You can literally use it to dip, or simply spread it on the pancakes.
To make fewer, but larger pancakes: Use a 7-to 8-inch skillet, cooking the pancakes one at a time. In that case, use 3/4 to 1 cup at a time, depending on size of skillet.
Shortcut: Use bottled Korean BBQ Sauce or regular teriyaki sauce in place of the Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauce.
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See lots more easy vegan appetizers & snacks.
Photos of kimchi pancakes: bhofack22/Bigstock