Green Onion Pancakes, and the story of a blue frog

Green Onion Pancakes

Once upon a time there lived a young frog boy named “Blue”.
They called him “Blue” because he was a very unusual blue frog.
Blue lived with his mother in a small cottage near a little stream deep in the mountain of South Korea.
His mother loved him very much and did the best she could to teach him, so that he could grow up to be well mannered and respectful. But alas! Blue was not the most obedient boy you can imagine. In fact he was quite rebellious and often showed the contrary behaviors.

If his mother asked him to clean the mess in his room, he would make even bigger mess. When she asked him to not to go to the dangerous part of village where the snake lives, he would head down there right away. Blue thought he was so courageous and smart.

All of his misbehavior made his mother worried. Very worried that she got ill.
The doctor came to help but didn’t know how to cure. Blue’s mother felt that she would die soon leaving her young son behind. She tried to explain the situation to Blue but he wasn’t willing to listen.
She realized that her son wouldn’t change his contrary behaviors, so she decided to ask him contrary to what she desired.

She wanted to be buried on the hillside but knowing her son, he would do exactly the opposite way; if she asked him to bury her on the hill, Blue would bury her on the side of the stream.  So she asked him the opposite way, “Son, when I die…, please, bury my body near the stream. NOT on the HILL…”

A few days later his mother died.
Upon his mother’s death, Blue finally realized that he had been foolish, and regretted for being so disobedient.
So, for the first time in his life, he decided to obey his mother’s wish. He buried her near the stream!
Then, the rain came down on the next day. The water in the stream overflowed and washed his mother’s grave away. Blue couldn’t help but crying as he watched his mother’s grave floating away from him. It was just too late for him to take it back.

Since that day, whenever it rains in Korea, you can hear the frog’s loud crying noise near any streams.
“Ribbit.., ribbit..,”

This is a one of the Korean folk tales that I told my kids as a bedtime story when they were young.
My daughter cried when she first heard it. She was 5 years old. This story helped her to understand the importance of being trust worthy.

So what does this story has to do with green onion pancakes?
Well, when there’s rain, Koreans like to eat this types of savory pancakes and talk about the blue frog.
This is the story that I heard from my mother, and she heard it from her mother, and so on…

This is a very easy to make savory pancakes with only a few ingredients.
The recipe will give quite nice crisp texture to the bite which we all love.
I used small shrimps but any seafood will work fine, or omit if you prefer it as vegan.

 

Cut the green onions into 2″ long and slice 1-2 chilies as well.

 

Mix cake flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
You can use plain flour but cake flour will create the crispier texture.

Add ice cold water to the flour mix and stir.

Add one egg and whisk until combined. Do not over whisk.

The batter should be thin like breakfast pancake batter.

Add green onion, red chili, and shrimp.

Toss to wet all the ingredients.

Heat generous amount of oil in the skillet over medium heat, spread about 1/4 cups of batter and let it sear for 3-4 minutes.

Flip it over. Do you see the golden crust? It is quite crisp. Continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes to the other side.

Flip again to see what the other side looks like. Nicely browned!
You might need to adjust the heat level from medium to med-low.

Make dipping sauce by combining all the ingredients.
Serve your pancakes hot with this dipping sauce.

 

Have I seen a blue frog?
No.
But I could hear his crying as I bite on these crisp pancakes.
Ribbit.., ribbit..!
Let’s obey our parents…
whether we are young or old.

… a little food for thought of the day.

Pajeon

Green Onion Pancakes, and the story of a blue frog
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 pancakes
 
Ingredients
  • 200g (7oz) small shrimps, peeled and cleaned
  • 1 bunch green onion, cut into 2" long slices
  • 1-2 red chilies, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1¼ cup cake flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinches of kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoon or more ice water
  • 1 egg
  • 2-4 tablespoon grape seed or canola oil
For the Dipping Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoon Korean chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, crushed with fingers
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add water and egg, and whisk until just combined. The consistency of batter should be like breakfast batter. Add more water if batter seems too stiff.
  2. Add the green onions and shrimps to the bowl, toss well to coat.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat, add ¼ cupful of batter to the skillet and spread out thinly. Sear the pancakes 3-4 minutes until the edges seems to form a crust, flip to the other side.
  4. Add more oil if the skillet seems dry. You should see the golden brown crust. Sear the other side of pancakes for another 3 minutes until golden as well.
  5. You might need to adjust the heat to med-low in order not to burn the pancakes.
  6. Serve hot with dipping sauce.

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Comments

  1. Leah Parra says

    I remember reading that story from the korean folk books my mom got for me when i was younger.  And…I love korean pancake!! so so much…my halmunee made these sooo yummy for me as a child. And now my mom.  I shall make them for my little one soon!! I love your blog and all the korean food on here….makes me miss korean food so bad (i live in sicily)

  2. says

    The story and the recipe both are too good, the monsoons will be here in a month or two and I will surely make this and eat them, while blue cries nearby.

  3. Leah Parra says

    There is a small section on the navy base with kimchee(not good), and some Shin Ramen….thats about it!! I need some kimchee jigae out here and ttuk bo sam and…my favorite kimchee moomalangi.  My mom has attempted to try and send some from America, still waiting to receive it!!!

  4. says

    I loved this post, thanks for sharing a little Korean tradition with us. I like your food for thought of the day! I work in an elementary school and I see first hand the children that don't listen. :)

    I have been wanting to make a crispy Korean pancake, now you just reminded me to try it! It looks great for breakfast in my eyes. Too bad I didn't have it yesterday it rained here. :)

  5. says

    I cannot believe I haven't stumbled your blog before too!  Thank you for stopping by my blog.  I need to look around when I blog hop. =P

    Your green onion pancakes look so delicious – your photos are gorgeous and I love how you put step by step photos (large and nice) in the post too.  So fun to follow you cook.  Nice to meet you!

  6. lisa says

    Holly,
    I have a recipe for scallion pancakes that calls for a little rice flour and more regular flour. The rice flour is supposed to make it crispy.  I think it works but do you think I can put more rice flour in than the regular flour and still have it come out?

    Thanks!,
    lisa

  7. says

    yum yum yum! i love pa jun!

    and i vaguely remember this story. maybe because my brother and i were like blue when we were little kids. :-) i think it's time to tell my kids! 

    love your website and photos!

  8. beyondkimchee says

    Lisa
    Actually rice flour is to get a chewy texture not crisp. If you want crispier but doesn't have cake flour, add about 2-3 tablespoon of cornstarch to plain flour with a tiny pinch baking powder.The baking powder will leaven the batter slightly and help create the crisp texture

    • lisa says

      Thanks Holly! Sorry for the late response. You are right, when I make them with the rice flour the pancake is slightly chewy. I think I will try your cake flour suggestion!

  9. Renee says

    I made these last night and they were easy + delicious! Thanks for the recipe and the story. I love your blog!

  10. says

    Oh I heard a version of this when I was growing up! The difference was that instead of the mother's death, she told him not to jump into the stream and that's exactly what he did, thus leading to his death. The funny thing is, my dad told me this story because I started doing what the boy frog did. It wasn't necessarily my fault at the time though, because I was joking around saying it was "opposite day". But after that day I never played "opposite day" again…

  11. beyondkimchee says

    Hi Bo
    My daughter used to love the story called, "The contrary Mary" and, to some degree, it was great for children to come up with creative ideas to be contrary I think. I never heard of the version of frog jumping into stream. That is even more sad.

  12. RNB Research says

    This is my first
    time I visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially
    its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not
    the only one having all the enjoyment here keep up the good work.

    Thank You

  13. kitchenriffs says

    Really nice story.  And a great pancake.  Although I totally like the breakfast pancakes with maple syrup, savory pancakes are more interesting to me.  A nice way to use veggies.  Thanks for this.

  14. Angel says

    First visit.  Haven't had much Korean food, but love the recipes I've read so far.  Will be back to read more.  Great blog!!

  15. says

    I've tried making pajeon using just all purpose flour but didn't think it tasted as good as the packet flour. I haven't tried it with cake flour though… But I think adding sweet rice flour would give the pajeon some sticky, chewy (jjinduk) texture. 
    I love your blog a lot! I've started a blog myself and you're a huge inspiration.

    Thanks
    Mabel
    mdcooksfor2.blogspot.com

  16. beyondkimchee says

    Hi Mabel
    Yes, you can add the rice flour if you like the chewy texture. I tried and I prefer without it in the savory pancakes. I just love the crispness that cake flour adds.
    Thanks for you sweet comment. Blogging is fun and wish you the best with your brand new blog.

  17. says

    I tried Korean pancake with all purpose flour and rice flour, loved it. I will try your version too. You have a nice blog. Sure I will come back for more Korean recipes.

  18. says

    Those look gorgeous. And delicious. I am saving this recipe now! And I will be browsing your website to see what else to cook with it, this is a new cuisine for me!

  19. says

    what lovely writing and beautiful photographs. yesterday i tried making pajeon for the first time ever as it has been raining in london for days. they were good and got gobbled up by my friends in seconds, but i think not crispy enough, i will try with your recipe next time x

    • Holly says

      Hi Tom, I think pajeon will taste better in London than anywhere else :)
      To make crispier texture, the type of flour is one thing but also the right type of skillet you use and the temperature control is another. I use carbon steel skillet which I think it helps to create crisp texture outside. Also be generous with amount of oil you use to fry. Searing the outside crust to deep golden is the key.

      • says

        thank you holly, they worked even better this time, i think using a little less egg helped the crispiness as well. i’m now looking forward to more rainy days!

  20. Christine says

    This brought a smile to my face! I am half Korean, and my mom told me and my brother this story repeatedly as we were growing up! I used to tire of hearing it but I now find myself telling the same story to my own kids! I .make a version of this pancake with thinly sliced and diced zucchini, onions and green onions. YUM!

  21. Adela says

    Love your stories, love your blog! I’ve been talking about “Holly” to everyone…. you made cooking Korean dishes so easy and manageable. I like to add zucchini and mushrooms to my Pa-Jun. So delicious!

  22. Sachi says

    I’ve read other recipes for green onion pancakes and this is the first one that has more than green onion in it. I know my family would love to eat this one esp. because of the addition of the shrimp. I like the look of the red chili in the pancake, but wondered about the heat level. Is there a kind of red chili that has moderate heat that you can recommend? I guess we can eat around it, huh. Thank you for sharing your recipes and I hope you’re feeling better! ^-^

    • Holly says

      Hi Sachi, I used chili called lady finger chilies (very common Asian chilies). If you remove the seeds and the membrane, they are not that spicy at all.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Koreans enjoy greasy savory pancakes when the weather is rainy. It must be something in our body that craves greasy-fatty food when the weather goes under the radar. One of the most popular savory pancakes has to be the Seafood Green Onion Pancakes ( 해물파전, Haemul Pajeon). I have posted similar versions of Seafood Pancakes and Green Onion Pancakes.  […]

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