Saturday, May 02, 2009

Korean Soybean Sprouts Pancake (Kongnamul Jeon)

Reaction upon learning that the Weekend Wokking ingredient was to be SPROUTS:

"Sprouts? Sprouts?!! What can we do with sprouts?!"

Of course, what I pictured in my mind was those sprouts usually put into vegetarian sandwiches (alfalfa and whatnot). We were drawing a blank with those.

Then, we considered pea shoots. But, are they still considered sprouts? I mean, they seem to have gone beyond sprouts, being shoots.

It's been a crazy, tiring, weird week and I don't think JS and I could have mustered enough energy to think of and make a sprouty dish.

But, fortunately, not too long ago, we had soybean sprouts. We've been more or less having them as Korean-style kongnamul, or variations thereof. That time, we wanted to make something else, something we've never made before, something "fancier."

Enter the jeon.

I was thumbing through The Best Recipes in the World and came across the recipe for "pajon" (Korean crispy vegetable pancake). I decided to make a soybean sprouts version.

I'm calling them Kongnamul Jeon, but if I am inadvertantly butchering the Korean language, please let me know!

Kongnamul Jeon Batter

The base of the batter was the mixture of flour, glutinous rice flour, eggs and water. I then added green onions, soybean sprouts and kimchi. I seasoned with salt and sesame oil.

I cooked them like regular pancakes: pouring the batter onto the pan, then waiting until the bottom is golden brown and the pancake cooked halfway up the bottom before flipping. Mine were small palm-sized pancakes.

It was simple and easy!


Of course, we had additional kimchi.

On the left is some sesame oil with coarse salt, and on the right is a soy sauce-based dipping sauce. That has soy sauce, a touch of rice wine vinegar, a little water and a pinch of sugar.

I could have used more kimchi in the pancake itself for a punchier finish, but overall, this was something that was very nice indeed. The glutinous rice flour added nice "spring" and gumminess, which was a nice texture contrast with the crunchy soybean sprouts.

We erred on the side of caution with the seasonings, because we did not want it to be too spicy or salty. I figure each could make each pancake to his or her specifications, with the condiments available.

This is definitely another way to enjoy soybean sprouts (or any other vegetable, for that matter) for those times when we don't feel too lazy for batch-cookery.

eatingclub vancouver Korean
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Korean Soybean Sprouts Pancake (Kongnamul Jeon)
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Korean Roast Salmon
Korean Fried Chicken
Korean Sweet Potatoes with Yangnyeom Sauce
Japchae / Jap Chae (Korean Glass Noodles with Vegetables)
Brown Rice Bibimbap (Korean Rice Bowl)
Korean Oxtail Soup (Gom Tang)

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Almond Eggplant "Bisteeya" (Bastilla)
"Mashed Potato Beef Burger" (Red-skinned Potato Salad in Taiwanese Sacha Cheeseburger)
Korean Soybean Sprouts Pancake (Kongnamul Jeon)
Lemon Chamomile Tiramisu
Cilantro Horchata
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Duck Enchiladas with Chipotle Peanut Salsa
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Mr. Zheng's Soupy Tomatoes and Eggs with Tofu (蕃茄雞蛋跟豆腐)
Steamed Fish and Tofu with Chinese Black Beans
Spinach and Cheese with Puff Pastry, Three Ways


Korean Soybean Sprouts Pancake (Kongnamul Jeon)
adapted from the Pajon (Crisp Vegetable Pancake) recipe in The Best Recipes in the World
Serves 6 to 8, as a side dish

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup glutinous rice flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp oil, plus more for frying
1 1/2 cups water
5 (or 1 bunch) green onions, sliced into thin strips
2 pounds soybean sprouts (between 1 to 2 pounds)
1 cup kimchi, chopped
sesame oil, to taste
salt, to taste

Mix the flours, eggs and oil with the water to form a smooth batter. Set aside while prepping the green onions, sprouts and kimchi. Combine the batter with the vegetables, kimchi, sesame oil and salt. The mixture will look chockful of sprouts, and that is all right.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to coat the pan and heat until hot. Ladle batter into the pan, spreading each pancake flat. Make the pancakes any size you wish. Let the pancakes cook until the bottom is golden brown and each pancake is cooked halfway up from the bottom. Flip each pancake and finish cooking on the second side.

Repeat as necessary until you've used up all the batter.

Serve with various condiments, such as Sesame Oil with Coarse Salt, Dipping Soy Sauce, or kimchi.

Sesame Oil with Coarse Salt
In your condiment dish, add a generous amount of coarse salt and pour sesame oil to cover.

Dipping Soy Sauce
In your condiment dish, add soy sauce, a splash of rice wine vinegar, a little water, and a pinch of sugar (not to make it sweet, but to balance the salt and acid). Adjust according to taste. Add chopped chile peppers or chile flakes, if desired.

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We're submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks celebrating the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient.

The host this month is Christine of Kits Chow.

If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check
who's hosting next month.

Check out
all Weekend Wokking Roundups.


  1. Love how you stacked them!! yum yum

  2. I made pajon a few weeks ago and was really disappointed in my batter. These look great! I'm going to have to give this another whirl!

  3. Looks great and kimchi is nice condiment for it.

  4. I've been sprouting some type of sprout every week. So, this is perfect timing for me. Thanks for reminding me to check the Bittman book!

  5. That looks really good, and quite creative too! I haven't even tried pajon before, now I may have to :)

  6. I really love the look of this pancake and how you plate it with the other good stuff. Hungryyyyy

  7. I could totally eat two or three of these right now. Hungry! I usually use regular flour for my pajeon, but I'll have to try rice flour next time. Great idea. Don't know why I haven't tried using it before.

  8. I've gotta say - this looks like some FANTASTIC eating.

  9. oh myyyy i cant believe i've missed WW again! Wow this is a brilliant idea (as always), I am so trying this out once I've moved my butt to the new flat. ^_^

    See you then!

  10. Namul + Jeon make a great new combo! Looks fabulous. Thanks for joining WW.

  11. tigerfish:
    Our work is done, then! ;)

    Well, it's a little different, being a little "chewy"/"rubbery" from the glutinous rice flour. Let us know how it goes!

    Joan Nova:
    We could've added more kimchi to the batter... but having more on the side is a good way to compensate.

    OK, we have to see what you do with the various sprouts, because we really are at a loss with them!

    Thanks! For some reason I can't get out of associating soybean sprouts with Korean food now!

    Hehe... telling us it made you hungry is the ultimate compliment.

    Wandering Chopsticks:
    Hmm, we'll try using all regular flour and see what happens. I guess the "chewy" texture will be gone?

    Darius T. Williams:
    It's been a while, Darius!

    Mochachocolata Rita:
    Well, I guess you do have a good excuse for missing this edition! =P

    Am going to go check out the round-up now. Thanks for hosting!

  12. This is a really creative and exciting recipe. It's not something I would have thought of! Way to go!

  13. kongnamul jeon sounds correct and yours look so perfect! i might have to make these tonight with my excess sproutage. (:

  14. mina:
    OK, thanks! I was afraid I was just making up my own Korean terms, hehe. =) "Sproutage": teehee.


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