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My Korean friend showed me this recipe, and wowzers! I had no idea it could taste this good!

Skillet Korean Vegetable Pancakes (Yachaejeon)

Sometimes, all you need is a cozy, savory treat to gather the family around the table for some fun and sharing. That’s where these Skillet Korean Vegetable Pancakes, also known as Yachaejeon, come into play. Hailing from the heart of Korea, these pancakes are a delightful way to sneak in those veggies for the kids and present a nutritious side or snack that’s just as tasty as it is healthy. They’re the perfect finger food for your next family night and a great conversation starter about different cultures and flavors.

Pair these golden-brown delights with a side of light soy sauce or a zippy dipping sauce made of soy sauce, vinegar, a dash of sesame oil, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. For those who like a little kick, a tiny dollop of Sriracha or Gochujang will bring a lovely heat. A fresh cucumber salad or kimchi can complement the pancakes for a full meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups of mixed vegetables (thinly sliced bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, and green onions work great)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Soy sauce, for dipping

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the Batter

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, water, and beaten egg until you have a smooth batter.
  2. Gently fold in your choice of mixed vegetables into the batter, and season with a pinch of salt (and some minced garlic if you like a hint of that warm garlic flavor).

Step 2: Cook the Pancakes

  1. Heat a splash of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Once the oil is hot, pour in a quarter of the batter, spreading out the veggies with a spatula to form a large pancake.
  3. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the edges look golden, then carefully flip the pancake over and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until crispy.
  4. Transfer the pancake to a cutting board and repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.

Step 3: Serve

  1. Slice the pancakes into wedges and serve warm with your choice of dipping sauce.

Variations & Tips

Gluten-Free Option

For those with gluten sensitivities, substitute all-purpose flour with rice flour or a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. The pancakes will still be crispy and delicious.

Add Leafy Greens

Incorporate a handful of leafy greens like spinach or kale into the batter for an extra nutritional punch. These greens blend well with the other vegetables and add vibrant color and health benefits.

Customization for Picky Eaters

If you have picky eaters, you can customize each pancake with veggies you know your family loves. Let each person add their favorite vegetables to their pancake, making it a fun and personalized experience.

Leftovers

These pancakes are great as leftovers. Enjoy them cold or reheat them in the toaster or oven for a quick snack the next day. They retain their flavor and crispiness well.

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Family Involvement

Get the kids involved by letting them choose and mix in the veggies, or even help flip the pancakes. It’s a fun activity that can teach them about cooking and different types of vegetables.

Versatility

These pancakes are not only a delicious way to eat vegetables, but they’re also a wonderful canvas for using up leftovers. Just about any vegetable in your crisper can find a home here, making them an economical and sustainable choice.

Dipping Sauce Suggestions

  1. Classic Soy Sauce: Simply use light soy sauce for a traditional dip.
  2. Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce: Mix equal parts soy sauce and vinegar, add a dash of sesame oil, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  3. Spicy Kick: Add a tiny dollop of Sriracha or Gochujang to the soy-vinegar dipping sauce for a spicy kick.

Complementary Sides

  • Cucumber Salad: A refreshing cucumber salad pairs well with the savory pancakes.
  • Kimchi: Traditional Korean fermented cabbage adds a tangy and spicy contrast.

FAQs

Can I make these pancakes ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the batter and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Cook the pancakes when you’re ready to serve.

What other vegetables can I use?

You can use almost any vegetable you like. Some great options include mushrooms, spinach, cabbage, or even finely chopped broccoli.

Can I freeze the cooked pancakes?

Yes, you can freeze cooked pancakes. Layer them with parchment paper to prevent sticking and store them in an airtight container. Reheat in the oven or on the stovetop.

Are these pancakes vegan?

To make these pancakes vegan, substitute the egg with a flax egg (1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water).

What kind of oil is best for frying?

A neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil, works best for frying these pancakes.

How do I prevent the pancakes from sticking to the skillet?

Ensure your skillet is well-heated and generously oiled before adding the batter. Non-stick skillets can also help prevent sticking.

Can I make the pancakes smaller for appetizers?

Yes, you can make smaller pancakes to serve as appetizers. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, cooking for about 2 minutes on each side.

What should I do if the pancakes are too thick?

If the pancakes are too thick, try spreading the batter more thinly in the skillet. You can also add a bit more water to the batter to make it easier to spread.

Can I add meat to the pancakes?

Yes, thinly sliced or finely chopped meats like shrimp, chicken, or pork can be added to the batter for extra protein. Cook the meat thoroughly before adding it to the batter to ensure it cooks through.