Turn ordinary pumpkin into simple and easy Korean style pumpkin pancakes. This is a healthy and delicious snack option, and extremely quick to prepare.
Pumpkin is, perhaps, the trademark vegetable of Autumn and these Korean pumpkin pancakes (hobak buchimgae, 호박 부침개) are the perfect snack idea to use up your fresh pumpkin.
I went to a grocery store to buy zucchinis but came home with a pumpkin instead. When I saw a few pumpkins displayed on the shelf, I felt bad that I didn’t eat enough pumpkin last fall.
I bet I am the only weird cook who felt bad about not eating enough pumpkin during fall/winter season in the beginning of March. Or maybe I just wanted to hold on to the past because I am not ready for the changes that are coming ahead (=a sign of aging).
Anyway, I gave some thought to what I could to do with my pumpkin and decided to make 늙은 호박 부침개 (neulgun hobak buchimgae), which translates to “the aged pumpkin pancakes”.
Yes, an aged pumpkin works the best because it holds a fully developed flavor and texture. When a Korean pumpkin gets older(?) the skin develops a white powdery surface on top of its orange color. For this recipe, I used an Australian pumpkin (similar to Kabocha pumpkin) that was available in the store. Any pumpkin should work fine.
This is a recipe for slightly sweet and savory pancakes. It is also one of well known Korean appetizers. The only challenge is you need to slice the pumpkin into thin matchsticks.
HOW TO MAKE KOREAN PUMPKIN PANCAKES
Behold! Here is a piece of pumpkin that is still bold and beautiful!
Remove seeds, peel the skin of pumpkin. Slice thinly, about 1/8″, then cut into match sticks. You can go thicker, no big deal. I could use my food processor but I hate washing the 5 compartments of it afterward. Besides, slicing pumpkin is quite fun to do.
Now, put them in a bowl, sprinkle 2 Tbsp of sugar (more if you desire sweeter) and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt. Mix well and let it sit.
After 10-15 minutes you will see some moisture coming out of pumpkin. DO NOT drain! You NEED that liquid. In fact it is the only liquid you need for this recipe.
Add 1/2-2/3 cup of flour and mix well. (Adjust the amount of flour depending on the moisture in the pumpkin.)
Let it sit for 5 minutes. Your pumpkin batter is ready to cook.
Heat oil in a skillet over med-low. Spread out the pumpkin batter to a thin layer. Any size you desire.
If you have a piece of green chili, adorn with it just for fun. Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Flip and press gently with a spatula to help sear the other side. Cook 2 more minutes. You will feel that pumpkin is getting soft.
Serve hot. The dipping sauce is optional; the pancakes are good either way. Slightly sweet yet fully loaded with natural pumpkin flavor, this recipe makes comforting pancakes to savor.
Other Pumpkin Recipes
A few days ago, an unfortunate event happened to me. I was driving my car and got stuck in a traffic on the way to pick up my son from his after school activity. I was attacked by a motorcyclist robber.
He banged passenger side window of my car to snatch my purse. Luckily I left my purse on the floor and he couldn’t reach the purse. (He would have to have an elastic arm to reach a purse placed on the floor of an SUV from his scooter type motor bike. I don’t know what he was thinking!)
In the end, he gave up and drove off. I couldn’t chase him down due to being caught in the traffic. The whole thing happened within 3 seconds! Lightening fast! I was left stunned, speechless, and helpless.
Fortunately I was unharmed and my purse was safe, but the passenger side window was broken into a million pieces of glass covering the seat. I had heard about this type of “smash and grab” robbery many times from other people, and I finally got my own story to tell.
However, I am very thankful that I was safe. It could have been worse. Because I had my camera in my purse, so if the purse was stolen, I wouldn’t be able to post any recipes in my blog for who knows how long.
Well, isn’t life full of surprises? Stay safe, guys!
Korean Pumpkin Pancakes
- 1 lb pumpkin seeded and peeled
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup flour
- 2-3 tbsp for frying
- 1 green chili sliced, optional
For dipping sauce:
- 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 green chili seeded and minced
- 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- Slice pumpkin thinly and cut into 1/8-inch thick matchsticks.
- Put pumpkin slices in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar and salt; toss together. Let the pumpkin sit for 15 minutes to extract moisture. Do not drain.
- Add flour and mix well. Adjust the amount of flour depends on the amount of liquid extracted from pumpkin. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over med-low heat. Spread 2-3 tablespoonful of pumpkin batter to thin layer (Adjust the size of pancakes as you desire). Place chili slices on top, if using.
- Cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until you get the slight golden crust on both sides and the pumpkin gets soft. Press gently with a spatula to sear the surface as you flip to the other side. Drizzle more oil when needed.
- Serve hot with dipping sauce. The pancakes is good either way, with or without the dipping sauce.