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!~

Seaweed Soup (mi yeok guk – 미역국) – AKA: Birthday Soup

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Here is my first post of a soup. If you’re turning a year older in Korea, this is what you’ll be eating. It’s a simple beef broth soup, perfect for a cold day or a chilly night. This isn’t a soup you’re going to wow the socks of your American friends with. I don’t mean to undersell it at this point. This is one of my favorite soup. It’s the flavor of home. I just mean that if you’re giving it to a person who’s diet normally consists of hot dogs and hamburgers, they may find it too simple–too slimy. But, if you have a Korean friend and you want to surprise them with some comfort food, this is the way straight to their heart. The first time I had it, I wasn’t impressed to be honest. But now I’m addicted. The beef, the garlic, the sesame…it’s all there surrounding the superfood that is seaweed! Eat up. Drink up.

  • Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Cooking Time:  30-45 minutes (including bringing to a boil)
  • Total Time: ~40-60 minutes
WARNING: For this recipe you may need a scale. It is is given in grams. For the seaweed, one-fifth of the package is a good estimate. For the rest, you can use this conversion. \
15g = 1 TBSP
Also…the pictures are all taken of a HUGE batch we made. 5 times as big as the recipe below.
  • 10g cut seaweed (ja reun mi yeok – 자른미역)
  • 50g (0.1 lbs) of stew beef (sui go gi – 쇠고기)
  • 6g (about 1/2 TBSP) minced garlic (ma neul – 마늘)
  • 6g (about 1/2 TBSP)  Sesame oil (cham ki ruem –  참기름)
  • 23g (about 2 TBSP)  soy sauce (gan jang – 간장)
  • 4 cups water (mul – 물)
  • *OPTIONAL 1/2 TBSP perilla seed powder (deul kkae ga ru – 들깨가루)
For more information about ingredients please see my ingredient page for detailed information
  • Soup (국)
  • Quick and Easy
  • Not Hot-At-All
  • Exotic Ingredients
  • On the cheap
  1. The seaweed should come in a container like this. Be sure to buy the cut kind. Otherwise you’ll end up with a bowl of never-ending seaweed
  2. Pour it out in a large bowl. It will expand to many times it’s size. They look small and cute now right?
  3. Fill the bowl most of the way full with water.
    seaweed 4
  4. Place the beef in a bowl and let it sit in the water for a few minutes (10-15) to let the blood soak out.
    seaweed 3
  5. Measure out your garlic, sesame oil, and soy sauce
    seaweed 5seaweed 6seaweed 7
  6. There you have it. All the ingredients! Simple right. The rest of the process is just as simple. At this point the seaweed should be swollen up. Big. Juicy looking.
    seaweed 8
  7. Not to the draining. You need to drain out both your beef and your seaweed. It’s a lot bigger that the first time we saw it isn’t it?
    seaweed 9
  8. Heat up a large pot and start putting your ingredients in one by one. Start with the sesame oil, then add the garlic, then the meat, the the seaweed. Do NOT add the soy sauce quite yet.
    seaweed 10
  9. Fry all these ingredients for 3 minutes. The smell here is amazing! I love the smell of roasting sesame oil. Then add the 4 cups of water.
    seaweed 11
  10. Bring it all to a boil. A big big boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes, then add the soy sauce
    seaweed 12
  11. Let it boil for another 10 minutes or so. It wouldn’t hurt for it to boil longer. At this point you could be finished…or, if you have it (and you should have it…this is one of my favorite newly-found ingredients) add the perilla powder. This is “sesame’s cousin.” It’s tastes a bit like a earthy sesame seed, but in this case, it adds a bit of creaminess to the soup. We bought this in Korea and brought it on the plane (Shhh…don’t tell) because we couldn’t find it here. But then last month it started showing up in the stores. Perhaps you can find it.
    seaweed 12a
  12. Here’s what our pot looked like. Notice the creamy texture. There’ll be a bit of oil on top. That’s okay. Eat it. It’s delicious!
    seaweed 13
  13. Eat up! Soup is served. Taste it and add salt or soy sauce to taste. It’ll be a tad bit bland at this point, and that it natural. You can add some salt or just let it sit longer to let the flavors come out. This soup tastes better the next day for sure. Just cover it and leave it on the stove over night (turned off of course). The next morning for breakfast, turn on the stove, bring it to a boil, and you will have a better-flavor-infused seaweed soup. Like most seaweed foods, it’s a pain to microwave. So don’t. Throw it on the stove and warm it up. This soup also freezes well. This is why we made a huge batch, break it up into serving-sized containers, throw it in the freezer (softly of course^^) and when you want the soup, drop it back in the pan and bring it to a boil.
    seaweed 1 & 14

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