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Korean Style Tuna Cakes

Korean style tuna cakes are particularly popular among kids. It will make a great snack or banchan (side dishes) in their lunch box!

Korean style tuna cakes | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Until recently, I didn’t realise that there are tuna cakes (also known as tuna patties) available in another cuisine! I don’t know what influenced what, I want to share how our family enjoys tuna cakes.

Korean Style Tuna Cakes and Chamchijeon

In Korea, we have Chamchijeon (참치전). Roughly translated, it means tuna pancakes. (Though they are different to a typical Korean pancake as there isn’t much ‘batter’ so to speak.)

Chamchijeon is more thinly spread than the typical tuna cakes, and it’s reliant on egg as a glueing agent. So it is slightly eggy. (You can definitely see the egg colour in the bottom of the cake.)

Also, you don’t shape it before you cook it (like you would do for the tuna cakes or patties), but rather, you use a spoon to gently place the scoop of tuna/vegetable/egg mixture.

So why I’m telling you these here instead of spelling them out in the recipe section? Because I didn’t quite follow this traditional Korean cooking style. (Check my old tuna pancake recipe here if you want to!)

I decided to make the tuna mixture into patties, just for something different. Also, I figured it would save me some time as I don’t need to scoop out a spoonful of the mixture and turning these small cakes around during cooking sounds a bit too labour intensive for such a simple dish. 😉

By all means, if you want to try this way, go for it. Though, I would suggest, you add one more egg to the below recipe so that the mixture will hold better.

Korean style tuna cakes are particularly popular among kids. It will make a great snack or banchan (side dishes) in their lunch box!| MyKoreanKitchen.com

The recipe below is slightly improvised from the typical Korean cooking style, and I like it this way better.

What I love about these Korean style tuna cakes is that they are so moreish particularly when  coated with panko bread crumbs and lightly fried. (Though I said that panko bread crumbs are optional below, I prefer the tuna cakes this way!) It’s delish!

It’s particularly so good when it is paired with “1 minute, 4 ingredients, Korean sweet tangy soy dipping sauce”. You may be tempted to try these tuna cakes with ketchup, tartar sauce or whatever, but I think it goes best with Korean dipping sauce.  This dipping sauce is something I make to go with all the other savoury type Korean pancakes.

Another beauty of Korean style tuna cakes is that they are something that you can make with your everyday pantry ingredients. You don’t even need “KOREAN” ingredients at all.

You can serve these tuna cakes with a bowl of steamed rice as a side dish or munch down as afternoon snacks, and it will go well in a lunchbox too. You can even put them in a sandwich or a burger!

I love this versatility! I hope you do too!

P.S. If you like tuna, you might also like this. Try my Multipurpose Korean Spicy Tuna recipe!

How to make Korean style tuna cakes | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Ingredients for Tuna Cakes (Serves 4)

Main

  • 185g/6.5 ounces canned tuna (net weight of the tuna 130g/4.6 ounces, FYI, the tuna was in spring water), drained
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 20g/0.7 ounces green onion, finely chopped
  • 45g/1.6 ounces brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red cayenne chilli (15g/0.5 ounces)
  • 1 green cayenne chilli (10g/0.4 ounces)
  • 1 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • A few sprinkles of ground black pepper
  • (optional) 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) – Use this if you love crunchy texture. It also helps with holding the tuna cake firm.
  • Some cooking oil (I used rice bran oil)

* You can replace the chillies with bell peppers/capsicum.

Dipping sauce (Mix these in a bowl until the sugar dissolves)

* 1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 Cup = 250 ml

**If you want to learn more about Korean ingredients, check my 30 essential Korean cooking ingredients list!

How to Make Korean Tuna Cakes

1.Combine all the main ingredients (except for the panko if you’re using it, and the cooking oil) thoroughly in a mixing bowl. Divide the mixture into four sections to make 4 medium sized tuna cakes. (You can make smaller or bigger cakes per your preference. Just know that the larger the cake, the longer it takes to cook.) Make round shaped patties with each divided mixture.

Korean style tuna cake mixture

2. (Optional) Coat each tuna cake with the panko.

Panko crumbed Korean style tuna cakes

3. Heat a non-stick frying pan (or well-seasoned cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat and add some cooking oil. (If you are using panko, add oil more generously.) Gently place the tuna cakes into the pan and cook both sides until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes each side. (Panko crumbed patties will take slightly longer to cook. For these, once both sides are golden brown, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook covered until the inside is cooked.)

Cooking Korean style tuna cakes

4. Serve with the dipping sauce. (They taste best while still hot.)

Easy and delicious Korean style tuna cakes | MyKoreanKitchen.com


Korean style tuna cakes | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Korean Style Tuna Cakes

How to make Korean style tuna cakes. They are easy to make and very delicious to eat, particularly when served with Korean sweet tangy soy sauce!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side dishes
Cuisine: Korean
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 165kcal
Author: Sue | My Korean Kitchen

Ingredients

MAIN

  • 185 g canned tuna (net weight of the tuna 130g / 4.6 ounces) FYI, the tuna was in spring water), drained
  • 1 large egg , beaten
  • 20 g green onion , finely chopped
  • 45 g brown onion , finely chopped
  • 1 red cayenne chilli (15 g / 0.5 ounces)
  • 1 green cayenne chilli (10 g / 0.4 ounces)
  • 1 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • Few sprinkles ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) optional – Use this if you love crunchy texture. It also helps with holding the tuna cake firm.
  • Some cooking oil (I used rice bran oil)

DIPPING SAUCE (MIX THESE IN A BOWL UNTIL THE SUGAR DISSOLVES)

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp white sugar

Instructions

  • Combine all the main ingredients (except for the panko if you’re using it, and the cooking oil) thoroughly in a mixing bowl. Divide the mixture into four sections to make 4 medium sized tuna cakes. (You can make smaller or bigger cakes per your preference. Just know that the larger the cake, the longer it takes to cook.) Make round shaped patties with each divided mixture.
  • (Optional) Coat each tuna cake with the panko.
  • Heat a non-stick frying pan (or well-seasoned cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat and add some cooking oil. (If you are using panko, add oil more generously.) Gently place the tuna cakes into the pan and cook both sides until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes each side. (Panko crumbed patties will take slightly longer to cook. For these, once both sides are golden brown, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook covered until the inside is cooked.)
  • Serve with the dipping sauce. (They taste best while still hot.)

Notes

* You can replace the chillies with bell peppers/capsicum.
* 1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 Cup = 250 ml

Nutrition

Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 561mg | Potassium: 237mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 34.1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1.6mg
Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Leave a comment below or Tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.

 

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: May 13, 2019

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the creator of My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!

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26 thoughts on “Korean Style Tuna Cakes”

  1. Hi, these sound delicious! I wondered about making them for my son, who is 7 but he doesn’t like ANYTHING spicy. So would they still be good if you left out all of the peppers? Could you create a version with canned chicken and it still be good as well? Would love your advice. Thank you!

    • Hi Kelli, Yes, you can skip the peppers. If you want to add some colors, you could use bell peppers/capsicums instead. I haven’t tried it with canned chicken, so I can’t tell you much opinion on that. 🙂 Enjoy!

  2. I haven’t made tuna patties for a long time. Alas, our Coral Hawaiian tuna is too wet and mushy and by the time you squeeze out the water(or oil), you really need two cans, so I buy a more expensive, solid-pack brand and use 2 cans anyway. I use gochugaru and finely diced jalapeño peppers since we can’t get cayenne peppers. Since you posted the recipe, I am motivated to make it again. BTW: since tuna patties can be a bit dry, I sometimes use a little mayo or even a couple of ounces of mashed tofu to add moisture.

    • Hi Zen, did you use panko? Panko should have helped.
      Also/Or you can add more flour and egg to make them more cohesive.
      Finally, don’t turn the pancakes around too much while cooking. Once should be sufficient. Hope they turn out better next time!

      • I made very similar salmon patties with my home smoked salmon. Turned out very good, but a bit dry since I put panko in the mixture too. Added some chopped capers, dill and garlic chives also. Next time will add some green/red peppers and will do a trial patty and if needed I’ll add a spoonful of mayo to the mixture.

        • Your smoked salmon patty sounds very delicious! Did you pair it with the dipping sauce? I found that the dipping sauce really moisten a lot. Anyway, hope your next one turns out even better! 🙂

  3. Im happy i found your website! Ive just recently been introduced to korean food and i would like to try my hand at a few easier dishes. Looking forward to making this recipe this week.

  4. Hi Sue,

    This recipe is definitely a keeper and I will make this soon. I feel so lucky that I found your website.

    Throughout my Air Force career, I was fortunate to meet many women from Korea who introduced me to recipes like kimchi and bulgogi. Korean food is great because it is delicious and healthy.

    Thank you,
    Chuck

  5. This recipe is similar to my mother’s recipe. My mother is not Korean, so that’s ironic. The exception is that my mother didn’t use panko, and she only used bell peppers not the hot ones. Isn’t it amazing how different cultures can make similar dishes? I wish my mom had your dipping sauce, though. Catsup and tartar sauce aren’t as tasty.

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