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In late fall and early winter, families across South Korea come together to make kimchi. The most popular variation of kimchi is known as baechu kimchi. It is made using napa cabbage!
Another popular dish using napa cabbage that people make in South Korea is baechu jeon, a type of pan-fried cabbage pancake. Here, we will learn all about jeon. Then, we will give some cooking tips & tricks as well as answer some questions you may have about this recipe. I hope you enjoy trying this delicious Korean savory treat. Happy cooking!
Note: If you are interested in reading more about baechu (napa cabbage) in Korean cooking culture, check out our post about this ingredient! You can also learn about further Korean ingredients such as the Asian pear, gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), and perilla leaves, on our website!
What Is Baechu Jeon?
The Korean word ‘jeon’ (전) refers to a fritter or pancake. To make jeon, you start by seasoning whole, sliced, or minced meat, tofu, vegetables, and/or seafood. Then, you coat them in a slightly thin batter or egg wash before pan-frying them in oil.
While jeon typically refers to a savory pancake, there are some sweet varieties served as dessert. Hwajeon, literally meaning ‘flower jeon,’ is an example of a sweet jeon made out of batter and edible flowers.
People serve savory jeon as a banchan (side dish) or anju (snack or small meal made to serve and pair with alcoholic beverages).
Baechu jeon (배추전) is a savory pancake made from batter and napa cabbage. You prepare this Korean-style pancake just like most other jeon–You start by dipping and coating napa cabbage leaves in a batter before pan-frying it in oil.
Korean Cabbage Pancakes Tips & Tricks:
Here we list some helpful tips & tricks to help you make this Korean cabbage pancakes recipe. We hope they help!
- I recommend buying the smallest napa cabbage you can find. At my grocery store, they actually sell the mini version which makes frying in a shallow pan or skillet much easier.
- Once you wash the leaves, pat them dry. Excess water moisture can make hot oil pop more.
- I recommend cutting a few thin slits into the stem of the cabbage leaves. This allows the cabbage to lay flat in the pan.
- When cooking these pancakes, make sure to use a generous amount of cooking oil. This cooking oil allows the pancakes to get extra crispy and crunchy! You don’t want limp baechu jeon!
- Serve immediately. Baechu jeon becomes soggy very quickly–in about 5 to 10 minutes. Typically, I cool these pancakes in rounds while serving friends and family. I serve a few while continuing to cook the pancakes. By the end, I get to eat a plate myself after everyone else filled up on the crispy pancakes!
- If you don’t like food that tastes too greasy, pat the cooked jeon with a paper towel. This removes some of the grease!
- The dipping sauce is incredibly important when making jeon! Often, the sauce adds the necessary sodium and umami flavors needed to make jeon a fulfilling meal. Never skip out on the dipping sauce! You can use the dipping sauce provided for all sorts of different jeon.
Korean Cabbage Pancakes Frequently Asked Questions:
Now that we learned some tips & tricks for cooking Korean cabbage pancakes, we can answer some questions you may have about this recipe! If we did not answer your question, feel free to leave a comment below or email us at [email protected].
Is Baechu Jeon Allergen-Free? (Gluten, Soy, Nut, Etc.)
Baechu jeon does contain some major allergens. While it does not contain shellfish, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, or dairy, this recipe does contain eggs, gluten, and soy. Thankfully, it is easy to make this recipe allergen-free!
First, this recipe contains eggs. To make it egg-free, replace it with a bit more ice-cold water until you have a thin batter! If you skip the egg, it also makes this recipe vegetarian and vegan!
Next, this recipe contains gluten in the batter and sauce. I make this recipe gluten-free at home because I have celiac disease. You can easily replace the wheat flour with a gluten-free flour blend. Then, the dipping sauce contains soy sauce. You can also easily replace the soy sauce with a gluten-free tamari. Check out our list of gluten-free soy sauce brands to find one that will work for you.
Finally, this recipe also contains soy in the dipping sauce. Like the gluten found in the dipping sauce, the soy comes from the soy sauce. Instead of using tamari or soy sauce, I recommend using coconut aminos. You can also find our favorite coconut aminos brands on our list of gluten-free soy sauce substitutes.
Can You Make Korean Cabbage Pancakes In Advance?
Unfortunately, I do not recommend making this recipe in advance. Like I stated in the tips & tricks, Korean cabbage pancakes start to soften as they cool down. You need to serve them right away while they are hot and crispy!
How Do I Store Leftovers?
In our house, we rarely have leftovers. If you do, place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will stay good for a few days in the fridge.
To reheat, place them on a cookie sheet and reheat at a low temperature in the oven. While they get hot and start to crispen, they will not taste as good as they do when made fresh to order.
We Hope You Enjoyed Learning How to Make Baechu Jeon!
In the end, we hope you enjoyed learning about how to make Korean cabbage pancakes. It is the perfect Korean treat to enjoy among family and friends!
If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on our blog. We listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by our blended Korean and Southern heritage.
Further Carving A Journey Recipes:
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