Korean Potato Pancakes - sm - © mykoreankitchen.com

COVID-19 Lock Down Cooking Fun: Korean Gamja Jeon!

I was once served an amazing array of Asian culinary specialties by a really talented Asian cook. Talk about exotic, and not one of the dishes contained Kim Chi! But that’s an aside. But that’s an aside. The menu item I liked best was the Korean-style Potato Pancake, or Gamja Jeon. They’re easy to make, really versatile, and everyone seems to love them…

Simple, scrumptious Korean Potato Pancakes: You’ll love how easy
they are to make, and how many uses you’ll find for them!

A little background…

These pancakes, like most all Asian Pancakes, are savoury, not sweet. They’re meant to be eaten as a snack or as a Starch accompaniment to a full meal, because their simplicity also suits them to pairing with many Asian flavours. And and they’re deceptively easy to make.

What you need

2 Large Potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp. / 30 ml Potato Starch
1/2 medium Onion, peeled
1 tsp. / 10 ml Salt (or more to taste)

What you do

Dice the Potatoes medium-sized (3/4 – 1 in. / 2 -3 cm) chunks.

Purée Potatoes in a blender or food processor.

Allow the purée to drain in a fine sieve until liquid no longer drips from the bottom (about 5 min.).

Chop the Onion coarsely and purée in the same appliance you used for the Potatoes.

Place Potato Purée, Onion Purée, Potato Starch and Salt in a large mixing bowl and mix well to blend thoroughly.

TIP: That’s the Batter! If you feel the Batter is too thick to self-flatten on the frying pan, add a little Water or Milk.

Pre-heat a frying or sauté pan to medium or a little above.

Add 2 tbsp. / 30 ml of Peanut, Sesame or Corn Oil to the hot pan and brush over the bottom and sides. Allow to heat for a minute or so.

Pour or scoop Batter into the pan, 3 oz. / 85 ml for smaller pancakes; 4 oz. / 115 ml for larger ones, depending on how you intend to serve them. You can fry several at once in a large pan. Add more Oil between batches as needed to keep the Pancakes from sticking and to make sure they come out crispy.

Allow the pancakes to cook on first side until done 75-80 percent of the way through.

Then turn and press down with spatula to final diameter. They should be about 3/8 in. / 1 cm thick when fully cooked through. Pancakes should be crispy on the outside and chewy (but not doughy) in the middle.

Place finished Pancakes in the oven in an oven-safe dish at 170 F to keep warm until all have been batched through the pan.

Tips…

You can make these Pancakes into quick stand-ins for Chinese Scallion Pancakes by including Chopped Green Onions in the Batter.

You can add various flavours and additions to the Batter to match them to or complement specific dishes you want to serve them with.

Use smaller Pancakes as accompaniments for any dish that cries out for a different sort of Starchy side.

Use larger Pancakes as bases or Wraps for Asian ‘Tacos’ or ‘Chimichangas’. Remember that you can make these Pancakes as large as you want, as long as you can still flip them without tearing them.

I use these Pancakes as upper and lower ‘Bun’ halves for all kinds of Sandwiches and what I call ‘Faux Bahn Mi’. Here’s a direction in which you can make almost infinite explorations!

The bottom line…

Once you’ve mastered these fast, easy, scrumptious Korean Pancakes, you’ll want to whip them up frequently and use them in a vast array of applications!

~ Maggie J.

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