There was a special kind of Haemul (Seafood) Pajeon (파전) that was served at fancy parties at our home when I was little, many years ago… And I have been looking for the recipe of this very yummy seafood green onion pancake for a long time. I did not have the recipe because it is not a dish that my mom or dad made but it was a dish that was made by a professional chef who came to cook for my parent’s Diplomatic dinner parties. Mrs. Shim was her name and all her food was just really delicious.
So when we had these dinner parties, I waited and waited until dinner was all served (at least 9pm or so?) so I could have the leftovers because they were all so good. I prayed that the guests had small stomachs or was too proper and did not ask for seconds.. 🙂 Also another way I got to taste Mrs. Shim’s food was to hang around in the kitchen all day and seek opportunities for tasting or cleaning up defective pieces that did not meet her standard.
This special kind of Haemul Pajeon is called Dongrae/Dongnae Pajeon (동래파전)- named after the region of Dongrae/Dongnae which is basically the area of the city of Busan today. For some reason, this pancake loaded with green onions and tons of seafood has lost popularity over the years and I almost forgot about it. But recently, I was reminded of this fabulous pancake when my nephew SW bragged about the delicious Dongrae Pajeon made by his wife EH who is from Busan. So.. thank you EH for the inspiration!!
Unlike the common, everyday Korean Pajeon (Green Onion Pancake) which is made by just mixing everything together – batter, seafood, vegetables and all – Dongrae/Dongnae Pajeon is made in several steps or layers which is more work but definitely worth the effort. It is much more flavorful because there is less batter and more seafood and tons of green onions.
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is… 😉 Let’s get cooking then –
OH! BTW – I provide 2 sauces in the recipe but you can certainly make just one. Chokanjang is the usual soy sauce served with most Korean Pancakes but try Chogochujang, I made it at the suggestion from my nephew’s wife and I was surprised how good it tasted together!
Servings: 3 pancakes (6×4 in) Cooking Time: 40 Difficulty: Medium
Ingredients for Seafood Green Onion Pancake (Dongrae/Dongnae Pajeon)
- 7 oz (200 g) young green onions (approx 2 bunches), thinner the better
- 2 oz (50 g) minari/water dropwort or water cress – optional
- 4 oz (100 g) small shrimps (frozen is fine)
- 4 oz (100 g) bay scallops and/or chopped clams
- 3 oz (75 g) ground beef
- 2 tsp soy sauce (진간장 jinkanjang)
- 1 tsp plum syrup (maesil extract 매실액) or 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp mirin or rice wine or sake
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
- 1/2 C (50g) regular flour
- 3/4 C (150g) rice flour
- 1/4 C (50g) sweet rice flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ~ 2 egg
- vegetable oil for pan frying
- 2 C (360 ml) anchovy stock or water
- Chokanjang (sour soy sauce)
- 1 Tbs soy sauce
- 1 Tbs vinegar
- 1 Tbs water
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- sprinkle of sesame seeds
- Chogochujang (spicy sweet red pepper sauce)
- 1 Tbs Korean Gochujang (red pepper paste)
- 1 Tbs vinegar (rice wine or white) or 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- sprinkle of sesame seeds
*** If scallops or shrimps are frozen, thaw them in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
- Make Chogochujang sauce by mixing gochujang, vinegar, sugar and sesame seeds.
- Make Chokanjang sauce by mixing soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and water. Set aside.
- Clean green onions and minari. Cut green onions 6 in (15 cm) long.This is usually 1/2 of the full length of green onions sold in US.
The green onions used for Pajeon should be young and tender – called 실파(shilpa) in Korean. If your green onions are any thicker than 1/2 in (1 cm) then cut it in half or smash the white part with the side of your knife to make it tender.
- Cut minari 3 ” (7 cm) long. About 1/2 length of your green onions. Reason for cutting minari shorter is because they are quite fibrous and will be too chewy if left too long. Normally, only minari stems are used but these minaris are quite young and tender so use the leaves too. Use minari leaves as garnish and serve on the side to add a touch of freshness to your pajeon. (See serving suggestion pic at the end of post)
- My thawed shrimps (pre-cooked) and bay scallops. Bought frozen from the Korean market. Cute aren’t they?
- Chop the scallops and shrimp roughly into big chunks.
- Season the ground beef by adding the soy sauce, mirin, maesil syrup or sugar, chopped garlic and sesame oil.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg.
- In another bowl, make the batter by mixing flour + rice flour + sweet rice flour and anchovy stock. Rice flour likes to settle to the bottom so stir it well and be sure to stir right before you use it.
- Now we are ready to make the pancake! You should have all the prepared ingredients next to your pan like this (minus oil) –
- Heat a nice thick pan (cast iron is great) on med-high heat. Pour about 2 T oil into pan.
- Layer green onions in pan and then minari on top:
- Pour batter over green onions and minari. DO NOT try to cover all the green onions with the batter – you will end up adding too much batter. Pancake will taste doughy if you have too much batter. Pour about 2-3 Tbs per pancake – just enough for green onions to hold together.
- Quickly (lower heat to med. if you think it’s burning) dot the pancake with ground beef + scallops + shrimp. Using your hands works best – just be careful!
- Top with 1/3 of whisked egg (pancake on the right). If you like eggs, you can use up to 1 whole egg per pancake.
- Turn the pancake over to cook the other side.
- Let it cook for another 2 min or so until pancake is nicely browned.
- And there it is!
- This Dongrae Pajeon (Korean Seafood Green Onion Pancake) pairs wonderfully with Korean Rice Wine – Makgeolli/Makgeoli/Maguli (막걸리) so you must give it a try!!
Variations for Haemul Dongrae/Dongnae Pajeon
- Original version includes chopped clams so if you can add it, it should be good
- Calamari, mussels, oysters are also great additions or substitutions
- Just use 3/4 C flour and 3/4 sweet rice flour to make the batter if you don’t have regular rice flour