Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Scallion Pancake)

Haemul pajeon is a popular Korean savory pancake made with scallions and seafood. With this easy scallion pancake recipe, you can enjoy your restaurant favorite at home.  

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Pajeon is a Korean savory pancake made with scallions. Pa means scallion, and jeon means pan-fried battered food. The most popular variation is made with seafood (haemul), hence the name haemul pajeon. Along with other savory pancakes such as kimchi jeon, buchjeon, and nokdujeon, it’s one of Korea’s favorite snacks or appetizers. 

In Korea, haemul pajeon is often paired with makgeolli (Korean milky rice wine). Koreans also say that when it rains outside, just stay home and enjoy some jeon (savory pancakes). Pajeon is a popular choice. 

How to make Korean pancake batter

Commercially available pancake mix (buchim garu, 부침가루) is a pantry staple in Korean homes. The mix is seasoned and typically includes wheat flour and other ingredients such as corn starch, rice flour and sometimes baking powder. Koreans look for a slightly chewy and crispy texture in savory pancakes. 

Sometimes, Korean home cooks combine pancake mix with frying mix (twuigim garu, 튀김가루) for extra crispy pancakes. Frying mix typically contains more rice flour and baking powder for a crispy result. Try it if you have a bag of frying mix (1:1 ratio). 

Don’t have a bag of pancake mix? Not to worry! You can simply use all purpose flour. For a chewy and crispy texture, you can basically create your own mix similar to the commercial version by adding rice flour and/or corn starch along with a little bit of baking powder. Regardless, season it with salt, and add some minced garlic (or powder).

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How to make seafood scallion pancake

Look for thin scallions for making pajeon. If the white parts are thick, cut in half lengthwise. 

Usually, a combination of seafood, such as squid, shrimp, mussels, oysters and clams, is used, but you can simply use any one (or two) of them. Fresh seafoods are always good, but a bag of frozen seafood mix works well for this recipe. 

There are different ways to pan fry scallion pancakes. Sometimes, I combine everything together in the mix before pan-frying. Other times, I only mix the seafood in the batter and then later add the scallions on top when frying. Some people put the scallions first in the pan to crisp up and then spread the batter and the seafood on top. Try these different techniques and see which one you like.

Flipping the pancake is somewhat intimidating for a lot of people. The key is to wait until the bottom is nicely golden brown and flip it fast with confidence. And flip only once! You can also make the pancake smaller for easier flipping. 

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Tips for making crispy pajeon

The most frequently asked question I receive from the readers is how to make pajeon extra crispy. Here are a few things you can do for crispy pancakes. 

  • Drain the scallions and seafood well to remove excess water.  
  • Add corn starch and/or rice powder to wheat flour if making the pancake mix from scratch.
  • Try mixing pancake mix (buchim garu) with frying mix (twiguim garu) – 1:1 ratio.
  • Use icy cold water to make the batter.
  • Use a generous amount of oil. If you want it extra crispy, use more oil for a deep-frying effect.   

More Korean savory pancakes recipes

Buchujeon (garlic chives pancakes)
Kimchi jeon (kimchi pancakes)
Nokdujeon (savory mung bean pancakes)
Gamjajeon (potato pancakes)
Hobak buchim (zucchini pancakes)

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Have you tried this seafood pancake recipe? Please rate the recipe below and leave a comment! Stay in touch by following me on YouTubePinterestTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Haemul Pajeon recipe 350x350 - Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Scallion Pancake)

Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Scallion Pancake)

4.33 from 58 votes
Appetizer
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups assortment of seafood squid, shrimp, mussels, oysters, clams, etc., cut into bite sizes
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 or 2 bunches scallions
  • 1 red chili pepper - optional
  • 1 egg lightly beaten - optional

Batter - makes 2 large (about 7 to 8-inch) pancakes

  • 1 cup Korean pancake mix, buchim garu, 부침가루 (or all purpose flour or gluten free flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt - See note)

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of gochugaru Korean red chili pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar - optional
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallion - optional
  • 1 tablespoon Diced onion - optional

Instructions

  • Prepare the seafood, scallions and optional pepper, draining excess water. (Wet ingredients will make pajeon soggy.) Cut the scallions in half crosswise. Cut the white part of the scallions lengthwise if thick. Mix the seafood with the sesame oil.
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  • In a large bowl, mix the pancake mix with 3/4 cup icy cold water. You may need a couple more tablespoons but add one tablespoon at a time. The batter should be thinner than a Western breakfast pancake batter and thicker than a crepe batter. (For a crispy pajeon, the batter should be relatively thin.) Mix in 1/2 of the seafood.
    DSC 0046 768x514 - Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Scallion Pancake)
  • Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium high heat, ladle 1/2 of the mixture into the pan and spread it evenly into a thin round shape.
    DSC 0048 768x514 - Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Scallion Pancake)
  • Arrange the scallions in a single layer on top of the batter, pressing them down into the batter. Add 1/2 of the remaining seafood and a few slices of the optional pepper.
    DSC 1791 768x514 - Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Scallion Pancake)
  • Spoon one half of the optional lightly beaten egg on top. Cook until the bottom is golden brown (3 – 4 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium if the pancake is browning too fast.
    DSC 1793 768x514 - Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Scallion Pancake)
  • Turn it over, adding more oil (2 to 3 tablespoons) around the edges. Cook for another 3 – 4 minutes. Repeat the process with the remaining batter and ingredients. Serve hot off the pan with dipping sauce.
    DSC 0057 768x514 - Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Scallion Pancake)

Optional method

  • Cut the scallions shorter, 2 to 3-inch lengths. You can mix everything with the batter, except the egg. Drizzle the egg over on top, and follow the direction above for pan-frying.
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Notes

Use 1/2 cup buchim garu and 1/2 cup frying mix, if available. for extra crispy pancakes.
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You can also simply use all purpose flour or gluten free flour, or recreate your own pancake mix similar to commercial premix by mixing 3/4 flour, 2 tablespoons rice flour, 2 tablespoons potato (or cornstarch), 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or powder), and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Also, try different ratios of the mix to find your favorite. 
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

This recipe was originally posted in October 2009. I’ve updated it here with new photos, more information and minor changes to the recipe.

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Comments

  1. mine was sticky inside and hard on the outside, not crispy. I had used both frying mix and pancake mix with cold water (added till consistency was ‘watery’) was surprised it still made a sticky dense pancake, not light and fluffy. I had used some eggs into the batter. But I added broccoli, carrots, onions, straw mushrooms, garlic slices. Might have been too much ingredients also. When flipped, I cant get the second side evenly fried as compared to the first side. Any advice to improve it?

  2. Trisha T. says

    Hi. For the pancake mix alternative, is it okay to omit the rice flour if I don’t have any? Thanks!

  3. Greetings!!!!

  4. How much water do you use when making the batter from scratch?

    • The same amount (about 3/4 cup – see step 2) if you’re using about 1 cup of flour and other powder such as starch and rice powder. My suggestion is the note will yield about 1 cup of dry ingredients.

  5. Hi Hyosun, I’m so happy I found your blog – again! I was Googling Korean scallion pancakes, and here I am. 🙂 You might not remember me (former blogger with a broken blog right now), but I’ve tried several of your recipes in the past and they were all wonderful. I haven’t visited your blog in a very long time but its nice to hear your sons are all grown-up! Anyway, life gets busy raising kids and I’ve stopped blogging, but I’m still cooking. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I hope you’re well. Cheers!

  6. KellyJean says

    5 stars
    Thank you so much, this has given me confidence to cook as haemul pajeon is one of my favorite dishes. Super easy and delicious!

    Thank you again Mrs. Hyosun

  7. Jeong long Jim says

    5 stars
    Always buy fresh ingereedeiants

  8. 5 stars
    I loved this recipe and so did my family! Thank you for making it so easy to do.

  9. Holly Hooper says

    If I just want to make it with scallions only (no seafood for my vegetarian boyfriend) should I do anything differently, besides omitting the seafood? Thanks! I have lived/taught in Korea (Seoul, Ichon, Gangneung), and Korean food is my most favorite cuisine in the world!

    • Oh so sorry to have missed this question entirely. Hope you tried it simply with scallions. Next time, instead of seafood, you can add some thinly sliced/julienned vegetables such as onions, carrots, even some green cabbages.

  10. Jane Bullard says

    5 stars
    Thank you. This was much better than when I followed the directions on the package. May I make a suggestion ? The sauce does not yield very much, perhaps triple it ? Thanks aai

  11. 5 stars
    Enjoyed this recipe’s simplicity and flexibility. I used a seafood mix I had on hand and roughly measured the dry ingredients for the batter. I had not thought of using sweet rice flour and cornstarch. It worked out well. For other home cooks, I will note that I had to use about double the recommended water to get the thin consistency needed.

    • 5 stars
      I tried this today! I had alot of green onion and flour at home, and with the lockdown, I cant go to find korean restaurant to get this. it looks very intimidating but you process makes it clear ❤️Thank you for recipe!
      One question, how thick does the usual one pancake usually made? Any standard size? Mine come out thin, around 3 mm, and as I use little oil, Its not so crispy. Will use more oil next time and experiment with seafood and other meat!

      • The thickness is really up to you. There are no rules but not too thick. Thinner pancakes are usually crispier. If you want your pancakes crispy, generous amount of oil is a must. They use a lot of oil at restaurants to the point almost deep frying to make them so beautifully golden and crispy.

  12. 5 stars
    Hi Hyosun,
    Is it acceptable to serve pajeon with Korean BBQ?
    Have a Happy New Year!
    Thank you,
    Kara

  13. Yang balmaceda says

    I like it its awesome yummy

  14. Thank you so much for pointing at option of mixing everything! I love Korean food, but most instructions for cooking this pancakes for not very experienced cook. I plan to make those tonight, plus check, if they can be reheated tomorrow.

  15. Hello Hyosun,
    Thank you for sharing the recipe. I made it for dinner just now and it was a success; crispy and delicious! I will make it again soon, for sure. I also made the dipping sauce. I will check out your other recipes.

  16. do you find using cast iron creating a better quality pancake? more oil compared to non stick? which kind would you recommend? non stick or cast iron?

  17. We just had the Korean Seafood Pancake in J-town, San Jose and are thrilled to find this recipe. I thought ours had rice flour in the recipe and am happy to find this one instead of others that called for wheat flour only.

  18. Hi, can i use garlic chives instead of green onion?

  19. Russ wagner says

    I love your site and recipes. My wife is korean and doesn’t know how to cook so I make her and my kids lots of your home favorites:)
    I was wondering if you have a recipe or could help with a recipe. We got a bunch of dried squid from Korea and my mother in law makes dried squid pancakes that are out of this world. I can’t find any recipe for this. Any ideas? Thank you Russ

    • Hi Russ – Thank you for the nice words! That’s awesome you make Korean food for your family! There are various ways to make it, but basically you will need to soak the dried squid for several hours until softened, and then chop into small pieces to mix with the batter and other ingredients of your choice. Hope this helps.

      • Hi there, I tried recreating my own Buchim Garu with Bob’s Gluten Free 1-1 flour “by mixing 3/4 flour, 2 tablespoons of Bob’s sweet rice flour, 2 tablespoons potato starch 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.” Sadly, despite using a cast iron skillet and the 3-4 tbsp oil, my pancake completely fell apart. Using just 3/4 cup of water was not enough. I ended up adding 8-10 tbsp more water to mimic the consistency in the pictures you have posted, but I’m now wondering if I may have missed a step or misunderstood your recipe? Kindly, please help!

        • hmm I’m thinking your batter was way too thin. Even with Gluten Free flour, adding 8 to 10 tablespoons more sounds excessive. That’s that’s more than a half of cup on top of 3/4 cup the recipe calls for. Way too much! Maybe the photo doesn’t show the true consistency well. I just wanted to show it should flow easily from a spoon. On another subject, I’m happy to hear you tried it with Bob’s gluten free flour. I’ve been meaning to try it because a lot of people ask about gluten free options. Hope it works out for you with less water. Try it with 3/4 cup of water with a tablespoon or two more if needed.

  20. what is rice powder?
    is it the same as rice flour?

  21. Thank you for recipe^^. It turned out great^^.

  22. Carousel Ussher says

    Made this for our family’s New Years Eve bash… It was a big hit. Thanks for sharing!

  23. sUjittra soontrontip says

    พาจอนของเกาหลีชอบมากๆอร่อยค่ะ

  24. Thank you for posting this. Buchim garu isn’t available everywhere; your recipe looks like a good substitute. Every other recipe for jeon I found online either calls for buchim garu or just flour, which obviously would be missing something.

  25. Hi Hyosun 🙂

    Do i need to add minced garlic or ginger juice to ready made buchim garu? Ingredients on packaging listed wheat flour, salt, pepper and onion powder

    Thanks!

    • You don’t need to. Garlic and ginger will add extra flavors, but buchim garu is usually seasoned pretty well. Enjoy!

  26. Thank you for the quick response! I’m looking forward to trying again.

  27. My jeon did not come out very crispy and I think it’s because I used too much batter for each one. Can you tell me how many pancakes you usually get out this recipe? Thanks. Also, I love your site.

    • It could have been too thick. Also, using a bit more oil and higher heat will help if you like it very crispy. I don’t remember how many, but I’ll count them and update the post next time I make this. Thanks!

  28. I love this dish. As a variation, I have made it with clams only, since I live in New England and clams are cheap and delicious here at a dollar a pound. I use the juice from the clams in place of the water in the batter.

  29. thanks for sharing.

  30. Anonymous says

    great post