Korean Potato Pancakes (Gamja Jeon: 감자전)

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Korean Potato Pancakes (Gamja Jeon) with soy sauce

It’s been a very hot sizzling summer season this year. I’ve been wishing for a decent heavy rain and my wish was granted late last week. But perhaps I should have specified how much rain for how long I wanted it for. It’s been miserably raining with strong wind constantly blowing for around 5 days in a row and now I am wishing for the sunny blue sky again. Will you please come back soon?

Blowing tree branches and constant rain drops woke me up this morning. As soon as I opened my eyes, I knew I had to have some pancakes. But what do I have in my fridge and pantry that doesn’t need me to go out to fetch fancy ingredients? I had two potatoes, some onions and green chilies on hand. Then it was easily determined that I am going to make some Gamja Jeon:감자전 (Korean potato pancakes).

Do you have any food you crave on a rainy day? What’s your craving food?

Korean Potato Pancakes (Gamja Jeon)

Ingredients for 1 person or 2 people (if you are feeling generous) – below ingredients will only give you 6 small-medium sized pancakes

Korean Potato Pancakes ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized peeled potato (260g)
  • 1/2 medium-sized peeled onion (60g)
  • (optional) 1 seeded green chili, thinly sliced (I know my photo tells two, but only one is enough)
  • Sprinkles of salt (I didn’t measure this but I think it was less than 1/8 tsp)
  • A dash of oil for pan frying (I used rice bran oil)

Steps

1. Blend the potato in a mixer or use a grater.

Blended potatoes

2. Drain the water from the blended potato. Let it sit for about 5 mins.

Draining water from potato

3. Blend the onion in a mixer or use a grater.

4. Mix the potato (that is on a sieve) and the onion in a bowl. Add some salt.

Potato & Onion mixture

 5. Empty the water in the bowl  and add any leftover potato starch from the bottom of the bowl into the potato and onion mixture above. Stir it well. (Some say, the reason for this step is to make the potato mixture crispier by adding the starch, but for me the main reason is to increase the potato mixture volume. More volume, more pancakes :))

Drained water

6. Heat the pan on high heat and add some oil.

Oil in a pan

7. Once the pan is heated, scoop out potato mixture and place it onto the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-high.

Korean Potato Pancakes (Gamja Jeon) in a pan 1

8. (optional) Once one side of the pancake is about 70-80% cooked, garnish with the chili.

Korean Potato Pancakes (Gamja Jeon) in a pan 2

9. When one side of the pancake is completely cooked, turn it over. Lightly press it with a spatula to flatten a bit.

Korean Potato Pancakes (Gamja Jeon) in a pan 3

10. When the other side of the pancake is completely cooked, turn it over again to see whether it is cooked OK. Also if you prefer golden crispy pancakes, cooking them both sides twice is not a bad idea as long as you don’t burn them.

Korean Potato Pancakes (Gamja Jeon) in a pan 4

11. Serve it on the plate and enjoy!

korean Potato Pancakes (Gamja Jeon) 2

FAQ:

Why do most Koreans wants to have pancakes on a rainy day? Below are just a few theories. (Believe or Not!)

  1. When a pancake is cooked in a pan, it makes a sizzling noise. Apparently people associate this sizzling noise with the sound from rain drops.
  2. When we don’t get to see the sun (like on a rainy day) melatonin level increases in our body and it make us feel a bit depressed. So our body wants us to increase the sugar level by taking some carbohydrates, and Koreans happened to choose pancakes. Probably that’s because our mum made pancakes for us on a rainy day and our brain remembers this!

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Korean Potato Pancakes (Gamja Jeon: 감자전)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snack, Entree
Cuisine: Korean
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 medium-sized peeled potato (260g)
  • ½ medium-sized peeled onion (60g)
  • (optional) 1 seeded green chili, thinly sliced (I know my photo tells two, but only one is enough)
  • Sprinkles of salt (I didn’t measure this but I think it was less than ⅛ tsp)
  • A dash of oil for pan frying (I used rice bran oil)
Instructions
  1. Blend the potato in a mixer or use a grater.
  2. Drain the water from the blended potato. Let it sit for about 5 mins.
  3. Blend the onion in a mixer or use a grater.
  4. Mix the potato (that is on a sieve) and the onion in a bowl. Add some salt.
  5. Empty the water in the bowl and add any leftover potato starch from the bottom of the bowl into the potato and onion mixture above. Stir it well. (Some say, the reason for this step is to make the potato mixture crispier by adding the starch, but for me the main reason is to increase the potato mixture volume. More volume, more pancakes :) )
  6. Heat the pan on high heat and add some oil.
  7. Once the pan is heated, scoop out potato mixture and place it onto the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-high.
  8. (optional) Once one side of the pancake is about 70-80% cooked, garnish with the chili.
  9. When one side of the pancake is completely cooked, turn it over. Lightly press it with a spatula to flatten a bit.
  10. When the other side of the pancake is completely cooked, turn it over again to see whether it is cooked OK. Also if you prefer golden crispy pancakes, cooking them both sides twice is not a bad idea as long as you don’t burn them.
  11. Serve it on the plate and enjoy!

 

About Sue

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the author/cook/photographer behind My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!

Comments

  1. Hi Sue,
    I love your blog and I use it frequently because my newest passion is Korean food. I was searching for a starch for dinner tonight and found this recipe. So, I probably will make these for dinner but, this is just like a German potato pancake that I used to eat growing up. Everything was grated (mom didn’t have a blender) and then they were served with fresh applesauce and usually a pork chop.
    Thanks for tweaking my memories and helping to expand my palette with your tasty blog.
    Ellyn

    • Thanks Ellyn! It’s always interesting to hear about other cuisine and how they sometimes resemble similarities to one another. :) I hope you enjoy following my blog.

  2. Hi, do I must put chili pepper above the potato pancake? Can I not put it in? Gomawo~

  3. If you use a grater instead of a blender, wouldn’t the texture be different as to what you did? Would the steps after still be the same?

    • Hi Marie, I would think the texture would be different. I guess it comes down to how finely can you grate the potatoes. It should be crunchier I would think since the particle is larger. Whether you use a grater or a blender the rest of steps should be the same.

  4. Are you suppose to boil the potatoes first? 감사합니다

    • Hi Keisha,

      No, you don’t boil the potatoes at all for this recipe. You only need to grate or blend the potatoes (per step 1). Hope it turns out well!!

  5. andrew says:

    is it possible to use yams or another type of potato?

    • Hi Andrew,
      I don’t know what yams taste like but certainly other types of potatoes can be used. I will ask my readers if they know. :)

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Hello!!! I just stumbled upon this little blog and the recipes look so delicious (I really want to try them all, but unfortunately, my little town is devoid of Asian and Korean grocery stores :(((

    Anyway, for this recipe, what kind of potatoes did you use? As a potato lover, each potato is different tasting =)

  7. Oh I’d love this! I like how you added the diagonally cut green onion on the pancakes. So cute!

  8. Is there a specific dipping sauce that goes along with the potato pancakes?

  9. These look so delicious! I must try and make them!

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