Korean zucchini pancakes – hobak jeon!

Could someone please tell me where the year has gone?



I stared at the calendar at work today in complete and utter disbelief. Are we really already almost at the end of May? It seems like only yesterday I was sitting on my best friend’s balcony as we drank cocktails and celebrated the new year, yet now both my sister and brother are due to finish their university degrees in the next month.

And I realized with complete and utter horror that I turn 29 in a few months time. 29? Why prolong the pain – might as well call it 30 and be done with it!

I was at the dentist earlier this week and while having my cracked tooth repaired (did you know that if you’re a dedicated teeth-grinder, you can actually crack your teeth? That was an expensive lesson!), the dental nurse and I chatted away about how angsty teenagers can be, and how we’d never want to go back to that age.

Which lies at the heart of the issue, I guess. I’m happy with where I am right now, but cringe at the idea of being 30…yet you couldn’t pay me enough money to become a teenager again – or even return to my early 20s!

Did you ever write a list of things you want to have accomplished before you’re 30? Or even 40? I’ve gotta admit that I’m running out of time with mine.

You see, one of the things that I wanted to do before turning 30 was to publish a collection of our family’s Korean recipes – traditional recipes written for an English-speaking audience to make authentic Korean cooking easy to grasp. And yet, I’ve now only got about 18 months left in which to accomplish this task, and it feels like my sandglass is more empty than full!

So today’s recipe is another Korean one. I know that this is just a variation on the kimchi jeon and hae mul pa-jeon recipes that I’ve previously posted, but this is another very popular variation of this dish and one that serves as a perfect appetizer if you’re planning a Korean meal, so why not? :)

Unfortunately my brain is rather fried these days so I’m going to keep this short and sweet – but I need your help! You see, I have a list of recipes that I know need to be recorded and blogged, but I’d love you to leave a comment to tell me what Korean recipes you’d like to see me put up!

I know that I haven’t posted in a few weeks, but I will be trying to go back to putting up a new Korean recipe every week (or fortnight!)

Having a wide variety of recipes to choose from when I decide what Korean dishes to make for the blog each weekend will definitely help with my motivation. I promise! 😛 But for now, scroll down to read through my latest offering!

Korean Zucchini/Vegetable Pancakes


600g – 700g zucchini (or courgette, depending on where you live)
2 tsp salt
2 carrots, grated
1 large onion
2 cups plain flour
2 large eggs
2 – 3 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste

Dipping sauce ingredients
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
** Optional: 1 tsp gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes)

1. Top and tail your zucchini, then slice it into rounds about 54-mm thick. Then proceed to slice the rounds into batons 4-5mm wide.

2. Toss the zucchini with the 2 teaspoons of salt, then set over a colander for 30 minutes to allow the zucchini to soften and the liquid to drain out.

3. While the zucchini is softening, lightly beat the eggs together till combined.

4. Add the flour and whisk in till thoroughly incorporated, then add the water gradually, ensuring that you whisk well after each cup addition. Once the batter reaches the consistency of thin pancake batter (thin but not watery), add the strained zucchini and mix in.

5. Grate in the onion for a little sweetness, then add the grated carrot and stir in till everything is well combined.

6. Heat a non-stick frying pan (preferably cast iron for the even heat distribution and retention) with a little oil over low heat, then add about 1/2 to 1 cup batter to the frying pan.

When you pour in the batter, it should be no more than about 3-4mm thick at most in the pan. Feel free to spread the vegetables out into an even layer with a spoon to ensure even thickness and cooking.

Once the bottom of the pancake is browned and the top is dry and set, carefully flip it over and cook till the top layer is also browned, then set aside on a paper towel to drain.

It’s best to serve these pancakes freshly made and while still warm as this is when the flavour and texture is best! However, they can be made a day or two ahead of time and briefly reheated in a frying pan if you need a quick bite to be ready before time!

As for the dipping sauce, you can mix this up and keep it in a glass jar for a few weeks in the fridge, simple as that :)

Also, just a reminder folks that the Kitchenwench Cupcake Kit Competition is due to end this Sunday so if you haven’t entered yet, you’ve still got time! All you need to do is leave a comment with your favourite cupcake flavour on the competition post and you’re in the draw! :)


  1. Those pancakes look mighty scrumptious! perfect for dipping into that lovely sauce. Quite addictive.



  2. 제육볶음 pretty lease!!! ^^ i love that dish uber muchos. 😀

  3. Jacinda says:

    Did you ever write a list of things you want to have accomplished before you’re 30? Or even 40?

    No. Just a list of things I want to do before I die, which could be tomorrow or 50 years from now.

    • Ahh, the much loved “bucket list”. I’ve never formally written one but there’s plenty of things in my head that I know I’d love to have done before my clock runs out :)

  4. I’m not a huge zucchini fan, but these look great! I also have some ramp kimchi working that I think would be amazing in these pancakes. I wish I knew more about Korean food because I’d totally help with a recipe request. That being said I’m psyched to have found your site to learn more about Korean food!

  5. Currently coveting @kitchenwench ‘s Korean zucchini pancakes: http://bit.ly/kAbic1

  6. Cookiecrumb says:

    Hello. New blog to me, and I am totally bookmarking you (found you on tastspotting). Yum!

  7. Deb in Indiana says:

    There is a street food dumpling with brown sugar-y sweet in it — or there was 30 years ago, when I was in Seoul. I have no memory of what it was named, but it was delicious! 3 or 4 inches across, white flour dough, sweet filling. And cheap. And hot. Oh, did I mention delicious?

  8. Just perusing around and found your blog, I’m interested to read more about your recipies and can completely agree with finishing the lists you’ve made before 30 and so on. Where the heck does the time go?

    • I have no idea! One minute I’m complaining about it being Monday again, and the next I can’t believe that it’s already the end of June! What’s going on?!

  9. KarenB in OR says:

    Your zucchini pancakes look great!

    I would love to see a bulgogi sauce recipe. I used to be able to buy a terrific bulgogi sauce here in Oregon, but the lady who made it has retired. Would be interested in making my own – but would really appreciate your guidance!

    • The bulgogi marinade in my archives can be boiled up and stored in a jar for up to a month, which makes marinating meat on the fly pretty easy :)

  10. I’m afraid I can’t help you with the Korean recipes part as I have NEVER tried Korean food before…not even kimchi. Sad isn’t it?! All I can say is….I’m headed to the same age as you and feel the same way!

  11. I am not very familiar with Korean food, but would love to learn more about it!

    I love reading your post about Korean food….love love love them!

  12. Wow! I made these last night for a pre-dinner snack – they were a complete hit! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  13. Good luck with your collection of recipes, I had a ‘Special” Birthday this month too, and can totally relate to the soul searching involved!
    InTolerantChef recently posted..Pandan and Cardamon Rice Cooker Rice Pudding

    • Why is it that when we’re younger, time seems to stand still yet as we get older it seems to speed up so much?? :) And thank you for the comment!

  14. Pardon, but how exactly does one incorporate 2 cups of flour into two beaten eggs? There’s just not enough liquid.

    If you’re cooking at low heat, how long are you cooking these per side? I tried this in both cast iron and non-stick, and they just would not cook enough to set up and be turn-able until I put the heat on medium high.

    • Well you incorporate it with the water, but the egg first makes a thick paste which you then thin with the water. The reason you don’t add all the water at the same time is that depending on the absorbancy of the flour and the amount of liquid left in the zucchini, the amount that you require will vary.

      As for cooking, it depends on the thickness of your cooking utensils, whether you have electric or gas, and what your interpretation of low-medium heat is in comparison to mine.

  15. I can’t believe it is almost end of May as well. Time just flies when there is so much going on. Hope to catch up for something to eat and drink and to laugh our heads off!
    penny aka jeroxie recently posted..Guest Post – Malaysian Hawker Style Cooking with Chef Wanitha

  16. These look so delicious! They remind me slightly of the turkish gozlemes :)

  17. Yum! Will have to grab some gochugaru which is great, an excuse to visit the cute girls at the local Korean grocery!
    Relishment (Rory Hart) recently posted..What is Relishment

  18. Mmmm! I LOVE Korean pancakes of any sort! Whether they’re veggie, seafood, or kimchi!
    Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets recently posted..Indian-Inspired Macarons Cashew Cardamom Carrot Halwa Macarons

  19. Penandra says:

    Ellie: Thank you so much for this recipe . . . I was introduced to Korean food when I lived in Hawaii and I ate Korean at least one night a week — and since the restaurant was right down the street from my office, a couple of times a week for lunch! When I moved to the East Coast, there was a Korean restaurant right down the street from my row house. Now I’m on the West Coast and while there are lots of choices in Oakland and San Francisco, not so many out here towards the Valley — well, not too many GOOD ones to choose from, at least — but we do have a Ranch 99, so I have access to the ingredients! I have made your Bulgogi (well, your Mother’s) recipe and LOVED it! Along with all of the recipes that you have posted so far, I would love to see your Mother’s recipe for the pickled cucumber (I have a recipe I use, but would love to see what you and your Mother do with it) and also for the spicy pork and the spicy chicken (same spices just different meat???) that is cooked on a flat top similar to bulgogi.

    And as someone that is more than twice your age, let me just say that it is not the birthdays that end in “0” that are a problem . . . it is the ones that end in other than “0” — because then you are IN your 30s (or 40s or 50s or — well, you get the idea!) . . . and the ones that end in higher than “5” mean that you are in your LATE 30s (or 40s or 50s or —) As my Mama used to say . . . “Having a birthday is better than the alternative! At least we woke up on the right side of the grass!”

    • That is the BEST quote ever!!! And the recipe for the spicy pork and chicken is up, though I’ll do my best to get cucumber kimchi up soon :)

  20. Korean zucchini pancakes look amazing http://bit.ly/kAbic1

  21. These sound so tasty, I’ll have to give them a go!

  22. omg a korean cookbook would be fantastic! it’s funny, but it seems much harder to find a good korean restaurant than just about any other type of restaurant. the only way i can truly satisfy a craving is to make it myself, which i’ve now been able to do thanks to you. good luck with the cookbook, i would definitely purchase.

  23. :smile: Hi there.
    these look delicious… look forward to trying them

  24. oh yum these look so moreish!

    and btw, the green tea flavor in my brownies were not too strong, but you can always add more, and see how strong you can get it (or less, up to you :)
    betty recently posted..Viennese brownies

  25. Ellie, do you think a different flour blend would work? I might try it with a soy/rice mix. My partner is gluten intolerant. Normal GF flour from the supermarket isn’t very tasty in these kind of recipes.
    stephofsydney recently posted..stephofsydney- Climate change is real- an open letter from the scientific community http-owly-5h5tg

    • Steph, I’m not sure how well a soy/rice mix would work, but I can tell you that I’ve successfully used Vitarium’s gluten-free batter mix to make these so that might be an option for you :)

  26. I made these yesterday as a snack and they were delicious!

    The only problem I stumbled across was that although I left it on the pan to cook for awhile, the inside was still moist and I didn’t like that. But I think I probably made the batter too thick and overloaded the veggies, so it didn’t spread very well.

    Definitely going to make this again, perhaps with added herbs. Thanks!

  27. These look awesome and I cannot wait to try them! Thanks for ALL the great recipes on your site!
    Rene recently posted..Avocado Fries with S

  28. So excited I have found your website and hope you expand your Korean section of great food! I was born in S. Korea and haven’t gone back but wanting to discover my roots. My mother now says, I told you to pay more attention!

  29. katipillar says:

    Yeah ok, I have been an avid follower of yours for a long time now and only have just stumbled across this awesome recipe. I wanted to thank you Ellie for all the wonderful meals you create/pass on and also the time you take in sharing them with all of us. I sincerely appreciate your efforts and LOVE LOVE LOVE the Korean recipes you put up. Having been to Korea and living in a remote area in Australia, I miss having that diversity. But now, with your help, I’ll be able to bring it to my dinner table. HOO-RAY!!

    Thanks again Ellie.

  30. Korean zucchini pancakes – hobak jeon! — Kitchen Wench: http://t.co/UT9INRrg

  31. Hi, these look awesome, is there any way you can figure out the
    nutritional values. I just need , Protien, Carbs, Fat and Fibre.
    The ol’ Weight Watcher program.

    Thanks a heap
    😉 😉

  32. I love Jeon! Your Jeon looks so pretty and nice. I’m going to try this. Thanks for sharing!
    Sook recently posted..Easy Korean TeokBokee

  33. Just found your website – looks fantastic! I’m new to Korean food, but I haven’t found much in the continent of Asia that I don’t like so I’m looking forward to trying this!!!
    As for the big 3-0…I want to reassure that the 30’s are the best decade EVERRR. And it’s NOT OLD, dear. You’re still looking at 30 from the point of view of a 21 year old. Thirties are still PLENTY young, and as a friend of mine once put it: “You’re smarter, and you’re still good-lookin’!”
    Think of it as a whole new and exciting chapter – be the phoenix rising from the ashes of your twenties. You are officially New and Improved! ( And still good-lookin’!)
    Don’t worry so much, love! “Old” is when you have to walk with a cane!

  34. These were wonderful! A great way for my son to eat veggies. My husband now requests them every time I get zucchini.
    Tara recently posted..POP Century and Shrimp Pesto Pizza


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