This Korean seafood pancake dish, or ‘haemul pajeon’, is a classic favorite that embodies the essence of Korean cuisine. It’s an incredibly popular appetizer at Korean restaurants, especially in Korean BBQ spots. In Korea, it’s also commonly eaten on a rainy day with makgeolli (Korean rice wine) or soju (Korean distilled liquor).
This crispy and savory seafood pancake is PACKED with scallions and of course, tons of seafood so you can expect this dish to burst with flavors. The pancake is soft on the inside, and crispy on the outside giving it a magical textural experience. For this recipe, I used a variety of seafood including shrimp, squid, and oysters but feel free to use any seafood combo that you like!
Why you’ll love this Korean Seafood Pancake
If you’ve been craving a savory pancake or are interested in trying out this seafood pancake for the first time, you’ve come to the right place. The combination of the succulent seafood medley with the aromatic scallions all embraced in the crispy batter makes this incredibly irresistible.
Not only is this dish easy to make, but it’s also versatile and customizable! The beauty of savory Korean pancakes like this one is that you can use a variety of seafood including clams, squid, seafood, oysters, scallops, and more! You can even make this a surf and turf pancake by adding other proteins like pork. The possibilities are endless!
This recipe makes one big pancake, but you can easily double the ingredients if you’re planning on sharing with a larger group. Whether you serve it with Korean BBQ at home or as a quick snack on a rainy day, it will captivate your taste buds!
One last thing to note – this pancake isn’t complete without a dipping sauce, so I have an easy 5-minute dipping sauce that you can serve with this – check out my Korean Pancake Dipping Sauce recipe. It’s an essential part of this dish so don’t skip it!
Korean Seafood Pancake Ingredients & Substitutions
All-purpose flour: all-purpose flour is the base for the batter, but if you don’t have it you can also combine a 1:1 ratio between bread flour and cake flour.
Potato starch: the potato starch will make the pancake light and crispy. You can also substitute potato starch for cornstarch.
Water: the water will help bind the flour and starch together, turning it into a liquid batter.
Neutral oil: any neutral oil will work well for frying the pancakes, including vegetable, canola, avocado, sunflower seed, grapeseed, corn, or peanut oil.
Scallions: the scallions when cooked down and softened, add a touch of sweetness to the pancake. It also acts as a bed for the seafood.
Assorted seafood: I recommend using fresh and high-quality seafood but frozen seafood would also work for this recipe. Feel free to experiment with different varieties of seafood!
Hot red pepper: hot red pepper adds color and a hint of spiciness to the pancake, but you can also use any pepper of your choice, including jalapeno pepper and serrano pepper.
Salt: the salt is used to season the seafood. Since the pancake will be dipped in the pancake sauce, the pancake doesn’t need to be heavily seasoned.
Black Pepper: just a pinch is all you need!
How do I prepare Korean Seafood Pancake?
This Korean seafood pancake is relatively easy and straightforward to make. To get started, follow the steps below!
Step 1: Marinate the seafood
In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped seafood and season with a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Mix them together and set aside.
Step 2: Prepare the batter
In a separate mixing bowl, combine flour, potato starch, salt, and water. Stir and mix until smooth. Then, add the scallions and coat them in the batter.
Step 3: Cook the coated scallions
Heat a pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add the scallions in one layer to create a rectangular shape. (You can also watch the video below to see how I did it 😁).
Step 4: Add the rest of the ingredients
Once the scallions are in place, scatter the seafood on top. Then, toss in the sliced hot red pepper and pour any remaining batter on top.
Step 5: Cook the pancake
Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Flip and add the remaining oil, making sure to swirl the pan to distribute the oil and prevent the pancake from sticking. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the edges are crispy.
Step 6: Serve!
Place the seafood pancakes on a plate and serve it with the dipping sauce on the side. Enjoy!
Cooking Tips for Korean Seafood Pancake
Korean seafood pancakes are a breeze to cook once you get the hang of the technique. To help you make the process easier, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- When making the batter, make sure it has a slightly thickened runny consistency. This will ensure that there’s a perfect balance between a soft interior and a crispy exterior. The ideal consistency is similar to heavy cream, where it’s not too thick but also not too runny. You want to avoid a thin batter otherwise, the scallions and seafood won’t adhere to each other. On the other hand, you want to avoid a thick batter otherwise, it’ll get too heavy and dense.
- Feel free to experiment with different combinations of seafood and meat!
- To ensure that the pancake doesn’t stick, I recommend using a non-stick frying pan. It’ll make your life so much easier!
- The pan and oil should be hot before adding the batter. This will ensure that the outside gets crispy.
- Once the pancake batter goes in, let it set for 10 to 15 seconds then swirl the pan so the oil gets evenly distributed on the bottom. Doing so will ensure that the pancake is evenly crisp on the bottom. After flipping the pancake to the other side, add more oil then repeat.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does potato starch do for this Korean seafood pancake?
Adding potato starch to the batter makes the pancakes light and crispy. It stops the gluten in the flour from forming and reduces the amount of oil that the pancake absorbs, which is how they come out crispy after frying. Using all-purpose flour alone in the batter is also fine, but adding a bit of potato starch will make the texture better!
What should I serve with Korean seafood pancake?
This pancake is usually eaten on its own or as ‘anju’ (Korean term for food that you eat while drinking). However, it’s also served as a side dish for a larger meal. You’ll typically see people ordering this as a side at Korean BBQ or seafood restaurants.
While you could enjoy the pancake as is, it tastes even better when served with a dipping sauce. The dipping sauce is very easy to prepare and should only take you 5 minutes, max! If you’re looking for a delicious dipping sauce recipe to enjoy with this seafood pancake, check out my dipping sauce recipe here!
Can I make Korean seafood pancake ahead of time?
I recommend enjoying the seafood pancake fresh and hot off the pan. However, you could make this in advance and reheat it right before serving. To revive the crispiness, heat some oil in a pan then place the pancake on top. While it won’t be as crispy as it was when cooked fresh, this should help add some crunch and texture. I don’t recommend reheating this in the microwave because it will get soggy.
Can you store Korean Seafood Pancake?
Yes, you can store leftover seafood pancakes in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll stay fresh for up to 3 days.
Looking for more easy and delicious seafood recipes?
If you’re looking for inspiration for more seafood dishes, here are some of my favorites!
1. Kimchi Seafood Pancake – if you’re looking for another variety of popular Korean pancakes, give this kimchi seafood pancake recipe a try! This variation is made with kimchi – perfect for spicy seafood lovers! You can also check out my Korean Oyster Pancake recipe which is adapted from a Hong Kong classic.
2. Mentaiko Onigiri – this onigiri is jam-packed with a deliciously spicy cured pollock roe. Wrapped in fluffy rice and sesame oil, it’s the perfect appetizer or on-the-go meal!
3. Tempura Soft Shell Crab Bao Bun – if you’ve always wanted to order these at a restaurant but never had the chance, you can now make them at home, without breaking the bank. If the combo of a crispy soft shell crab tempura served in a pillowy steamed bao bun doesn’t make your mouth water, then I don’t know what would!
4. Spicy Salmon Poke Bowl – this is the perfect recipe to make when you’re feeling lazy and want a delicious lunch or dinner. If you have extra cooked rice laying around, you can easily whip this up in 10 minutes! Serve it with a side of avocado and microgreens, and you’re set for a delectable meal!
5. Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup – for a spicy seafood noodle soup, this dish definitely hits the spot. This recipe is a bit different from your regular noodle soup because it has a thicker broth. The thickness of the soup adheres better to the noodles, which I love because it makes each bite more flavorful!
6. Japanese Salted Salmon – for a simple dish that only requires three ingredients, this salmon packs a lot of flavors. It’s cured in sake and salt for maximum flavor plus, it can be stored in the freezer after the curing process for a quick and convenient meal.
Korean Seafood Pancake – 해물파전 (Haemul Pajeon)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp potato starch or corn starch
- 3/4 cup water
- 4 tbsp neutral oil
- 10-12 scallions trimmed to fit in a pan (about 8-10 inches)
- 4 oz assorted seafood chopped (shrimp, squid, oysters, clams)
- 1 hot red pepper sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt plus more
- pinch of ground black pepper
Dipping Sauce – See note 1
- Combine the chopped seafood and season with a pinch of salt and ground black pepper in a bowl. Mix together and set aside.
- In a deep bowl, combine flour, potato starch, salt, and water. Stir and mix until smooth. Add the scallions and coat in the batter.
- Heat up a pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp oil. When the oil is heated, add the scallions down in one layer to create a rectangular shape.
- Scatter the seafood on top of the scallion. Place the sliced hot red pepper and pour any remaining batter on top.
- Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Flip and add the remaining oil, making sure to swirl the pancake to distribute the oil and prevent it from sticking. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until crisp.
- Serve and enjoy with dipping sauce!
- See note 1
- For the perfect dipping sauce to enjoy with this recipe, check out my Korean Pancake Dipping Sauce recipe.
- Feel free to use any assortment of seafood you like including shrimp, squid, oysters, clams, and octopus.
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