Korean Chive Pancakes (bu chu jeon – 부추전) and Onion Dipping Sauce

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Buchu PancakeP16

The Korean pancake family contains many members and today we will be making a very tasty version. This is perhaps my third favorite Korean pancake after the kimchi pancake (김치전) and zucchini pancake (호박부침개). This food is the perfect dish after a hike in the mountains, paired with some makkoli or other alcohol, and shared with friends. This is a very common drinking side dish (an ju – 안주) and even at home, it’s hard to eat it without at least a glass of wine on the side. So, grab some friends, get a good conversation going, grab some drinks, sit down, and enjoy this wonderful dish!

This can also be considered banchan. Cut it up in squares about 1.5 inches wide and put it in the refrigerator. It is not “meet” banchan meaning that you will have to eat it quicker and it will go bad in about a week.

  • Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Cooking Time:  15-25 minutes
  • Total Time: ~25-40 minutes
WARNING: This recipe doesn’t include amounts for most of the ingredients. Try it out. Adjust to taste. Also, I recommend making the dipping sauce first and letting it sit while you are making the pancake so the flavors can mix.
Ingredients: (see the bottom of page for Dipping Sauce recipe)
  • 1 bunch of Korean Chives (aka Chinese Chives) (bu chu – 부추)
  • 1 sweet onion (yang pa – 양파)
  • 1-2 carrots (dang geun – 당근)
  • 1/2 lbs  bay scallops* (ga ri bi –  가리비)
  • 3 cups Korean frying flour** (bu chim gae ga ru – 부침개가루)
  • 4 cups water (mul – 물)
  • 1 egg (gyae ran – 계란)
  • Optional: A bit of Sweet Rice Flour (chap ssal ga ru –  찹쌀가루)
  • Optional: Chopped spicy pepper for heat
  • Optional: Other veggies such as mushrooms, zucchini, etc.
  • *Actually the original recipe calls for sliced squid. If you can find it, use it. It adds a chewiness that gives the pancake great character. However, any seafood will work here, we chose bay scallops due to our preferences. To make the dish vegetarian, you may leave it out.
  • **If you don’t have or can’t find this, don’t worry. Korean frying flour is just flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder…and some other minor flavorings. We often use plain flour and add a pinch of salt, 2-3 pinches of sugar, and a pinch of baking powder.
For more information about ingredients please see my ingredient page for detailed information
  • Drinking Sides – Anju
  • Banchan
  • Quick and Easy
  • Not Hot-At-All or Spicy
  • Exotic Ingredients
  • Vegetarian
  • On the cheap
  1. When one says chives they often think of green onions or a flavor of potato chips. This are not American chives, which are often tubular. One can possibly find them in an American grocery however but you would probably have better luck in your local Asian grocery. You will be able to tell the difference because Korean Chives (most likely called Chinese Chives in the grocery store) are flat not tubular. They look like a bundle of grass. It should be wrapped and about 1.5-2 feet long.
    Buchu PancakeP01
  2. They are not cleaned when you buy them. So you will need to work a bit to clean both the tops and bottoms. This is easily accomplished by chopping of the bottom inch of the chives, and the top inch or two. But if you want to be a little more selective and think that throwing away those inches of food is regrettable (아깝다) then you can individually clean each stalk as needed. Here are a photos to show what to look for. Also make sure you rise them after cleaning.
    Buchu PancakeP02 Buchu PancakeP03
  3. Peel the carrot and onion, wash them both, and place your scallops in water and let them soak until you need to add them. A note about the onions here. You should be using vidalia onions or other sweet onion. It’s more true to the flavor to Korean onions. The onions in the front of the picture are for the dipping sauce (see below)
    Buchu PancakeP04
  4. Cut the chives into pieces about 1.5-2 inches long and place them into a big bowl
    Buchu PancakeP05Buchu PancakeP06
  5. Next julienne the carrots. Here I cheat because I find julienning just to tedious. I use my peeler as a knife to cut the carrots into strips as think as the peeler can make them, then I julienne those strips. This picture shows all the stages. These pieces should end up about 2 inches long as well.
    Buchu PancakeP08
  6. Chop the onions so that it results in long thin strips like the rest of the ingredients (you’re seeing a trend here?)
    Buchu PancakeP07
  7. Put everything into the bowl. Make sure to drain the scallops first. I often put a pinch of salt in at this stage and mix it around. The salt starts to soften and “kill” the veggies even before you fry them.
    Buchu PancakeP09Buchu PancakeP10
  8. Now it’s time to make the mix. Mix equal parts of the flour mix with water. Prepare the egg. *OPTIONAL: add a few tablespoons (I like even more than that) of Sweet Rice Flour to the mix. This will give the pancake the crispy/chewy combination.
    Buchu PancakeP12
  9. At this point it’s a good idea to start up your frying pan, although you could do this a few steps back as well. It’s always important to make sure you don’t start frying with cold oil on a cold frying pan. Drop some olive oil (grapeseed oil it better if you have it) on the pan and let it sit on medium-high (maybe a 6 on a 1-10 scale) heat for 5 minutes or so.
    Buchu PancakeP13
  10. Now it’s time to start frying. Put 2/3 of the flour/water mix in with the veggies and mix it well. Leave about 1/3 out in another bowl as shown below. Then start frying. Place the mixture on the frying pan just think enough so that you don’t see any pan. Mine usually ends up being about 1/2 inch think. You can make smaller pancakes or huge ones. After you place the mix on the frying pan, push it down a bit, and then use the mix you reserved to fill in the gaps where you think it needs a little extra bond. It’ll be a lot of veggies and a little flour mix…it’s okay, it turns out super tasty. Although, here IS a point where you’ll have to adjust the amounts as needed. Fry one up first, if it doesn’t hold together well, feel free to make up some more flour/water mix and add it to it. Or just add flour if it’s too runny. Or just add water if it’s too think, you get the picture.
    Buchu PancakeP14Buchu PancakeP15
  11. Flip when ready. Let it brown a bit. Here’s a picture of a large, whole-pan pancake we made. It’s about the right amount of done. But this to can be adjusted to preference.
    Buchu PancakeP17
  12. That’s it! Enjoy by pulling it apart with chopsticks or hands, dipping it in the sauce (shown below) and eating!
    Buchu PancakeP16

Onion Dipping Sauce

Ingredients: (please read the ingredients page for information especially on vinegar)
  • 3 TBSP Soy Sauce (gan jang – 간장)
  • 1 TBSP Vinegar (shik cho – 식초)
  • 1/4 sweet onion (yang pa – 양파)
  • 3 TBSP water (mul – 물)
  1. Put the onions in a bowl
    Dipping Sauce01
  2. Add soy sauce
    Dipping Sauce02
  3. Add vinegar and water. Let sit at least 30 minutes (overnight is better). The you will know it’s ready when the onion become a little waterlogged in the edges and start to absorb the soy sauce/vinegar mixture. The longer you let it sit, the more the onions will absorb.
    Dipping Sauce03

Do you have comments? Suggestions? Questions? Leave them below and I will answer right away!~


Spicy Fried Squid (oh jing aeo chae bok keum – 오징어체볶음)

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Often referred to as cuttlefish in America, squid is eaten in many forms in Korea. This is a wonderful tasty banchan to accompany rice. If your not a fan of seafood as all, perhaps wait a bit to try this one; however, this has only a very mild seafood taste, a little bit spicy while not overpowering, with a touch of a nutty flavor when garnished with sesame seeds.

  • Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes
  • Total Time: ~15-25 minutes
  • 2 big handfuls of fried Squid (oh jing aeo chae – 오징어채)*
  • 3 Tbsp of red pepper paste (go chu jang – 고추장)
  • 2 Tbsp of Simple Sugar or oligosaccharide (o li go dang – 올리고당)
  • 1 Tbsp of Korean Soy Sauce (gan jang – 간장 )
  • 1 Tbsp of Korean Cooking Wine (mat sul – 맛술)
  • 1/2 Tbsp of minced garlic (da jin ma neul – 다진 마늘)
  • 2 tsp of Mayonnaise  (ma yo nae juh – 마요네즈)
* NOTE: Adjust the recipe to match how much squid you buy. Different stores will have different sizes. For example, my 1 pound bag in the picture below was a bit more than the “2 handful” standard, so I made a 1.5x batch.
For more information about ingredients please see my ingredient page for detailed information
  • Long-term Banchan
  • Sweet
  • Medium Spicy
  • Quick & Easy
  • Exotic Ingredients
  1. The product you find in the store should resemble this. It seems that squid is a dirty word in America, so to soften the blow “cuttlefish” is used instead. Aren’t the little squiddys cute? The product you find should already have sugar and salt in it. This product, “Asshi”-brand, is an American brand. It’s all my Korean mart had, although if I had the choice I would have chosen a different brand from Korea. This worked out will however.  
  2. Rinse the squid in lukewarm water for just half a minute of so, it doesn’t need to be very salty. 
  3. The pieces can be a bit long straight out of the package, so take scissors and cut them roughly into pieces 2-3 inches long. 
  4. In a medium sized container, scoop out the red pepper paste. 
  5. Add the soy sauce, oligosaccharide, and cooking wine.
  6. Mix in the minced garlic.
  7. Put the mixture in a deep dish frying pan (in this case I used a frying pot) and bring the mixture just to a slight boil.
  8. Add the squid that you rinsed and cut into the pan/pot and start to fry.
  9. As you are frying add the mayonnaise and keep stirring. 
  10. Fry the product over medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced to the amount shown below. Not to wet, not too dry. 
  11. After frying, mix in the sesame seed salt, and store in a secure container in the fridge.
    NOTE: To ensure that your banchan lasts a long time in the refrigerator, make sure you read the comments and instructions on my “The Banchan Plan” page. This is long-term banchan, so make sure you are careful when serving and make sure to limit the amount of time exposed to air and/or out of the refrigerator. 

Do you have comments? Suggestions? Questions? Leave them below and I will answer right away!~

Spicy Red-Pepper Pickles (oh ee ji mu chim – 오이지무침)

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Enjoy your rice with a delectable banchan that is a tasty mix of sweet, sour, nutty, and spicy. This is one of my favorite side dishes and it is quite easy to make. Start with any homemade or store-bought pickles, and in a few minutes you will be ready to eat the transformed product.

  • Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Waiting Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: ~40-45 minutes
  • 1 – 24oz can of dill pickles (oh ee gi – 오이지)
  • 2 Tbsp of crushed red pepper (go chu ka ru – 고추가루)
  • 1 Tbsp of granulated sugar (seol tang – 설탕)
  • 4 Tbsp of finely diced green onions (da jin pa – 다진 파 optional)
  • 1 Tbsp of minced garlic (da jin ma neul – 다진 마늘)
  • 1 Tbsp of Sesame oil (cham ki ruem –  참기름)
  • 2 tsp of Sesame Seed Salt (ggae so geum – 깨소금)
For more information about ingredients please see my ingredient page for detailed information
  • Long-term Banchan
  • Sweet & Sour
  • Mildly Spicy
  • Quick & Easy
  • On the Cheap
  1. Just start with you average can of dill pickles. Open them up and, unless you have a good reason to save the pickle juice, toss it down the drain.
  2. Slice them up into about the size you see here.
  3. Throw them back in the container they came with and soak them in cool water for 30 minutes. In general, pickles from the store are to salty for this dish, if you have homemade pickles that are less salty, you can decrease the time to compensate. You don’t want them flavorless, you want a little salty and vinegary flavor left, but you don’t want it to be so strong to overpower the ingredients that you are going to add later.
  4. Next, you need to press the pickles dry. You can use a cheese cloth, or, as I did not have a cheese cloth in this case, you can use a clean and sanitized (boil for 5-10 minutes after washing) face towel. If the pickles are too wet, the ingredients won’t stick to them very well. 
  5. Next add the crushed red pepper, sugar, minced garlic, finely chopped green onions (I skipped that ingredient in this batch), sesame seed oil, and sesame seed salt.
    NOTE: If you like a little more vinegary flavor, you can, at this stage, add a little bit, perhaps 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp depending on taste. 
  6. With a cooking glove, mix the ingredients until evenly distributed.
    NOTE: As this is a long-term banchan, it is very important not to contaminate it, which is why we use the gloves. Even the littlest bit of bacteria at this stage will reduce the shelf-life considerably. 
  7. Enjoy with rice along with some other of your favorite banchan!

Do you have comments? Suggestions? Questions? Leave them below and I will answer right away!~