Korean pancakes are called jijimi or chijimi and served with a rice vinegar and soy sauce.
About 5 years ago, I was in Fukuoka for my yearly family visit. My mother picked me up at the airport and asked if I was hungry or too tired to eat. I wasn’t starving but could use a snack before passing out from the very bad jet lag (16 hour flight + 13 hour time difference). When I arrived at her place I was surprised to see how different it looked; DVDs after DVDs of Korean TV drama, CDs of famous Korean pop bands, a calendar with pictures of Seoul and Pusan, and tickets to an upcoming concert for… You guessed it: a famous Korean singer. What was happening to her? Was she going crazy thinking she was somewhere in Korea and not the South of Japan? I thought she’d become so weird until I ate lunch with her friends and realized that there was a major new trend happening in Japan. Everyone was falling in love with Korean culture! Even busses announced stops in Korean (previously it was only in Japanese and English). Korean fever was everywhere which was so strange to see considering the history these two countries have with each other.
For the longest time Japan and Korea hated each other. So much so that Japanese history books falsify any killings or crimes committed against Koreans. History books were then burned in Seoul’s public square, in outrage against the Japanese culture and its people. I even remember that while I lived in Japan, there used to be trucks with loud speakers parked in front of the Korean embassy located near Roppongi, constantly harassing them to leave the country. And now because all of a sudden Japanese TV stations are broadcasting Korean TV dramas during the day because it’s cheaper than filming their own shows, the female population has gone crazy for everything that’s Korean. Japan and Korea are now bffs.
Since my mother never does anything half-assed, she not only redecorated her apartment into a Korean HMV store and took language lessons, but also ordered food directly from Seoul. Included in her grocery bag was a flour for a pancake called jijimi. Jijimi is more dense than a crepe but lighter and crispier than a pancake, and is usually filled with scallions, ham and/or kimchi. It’s accompanied by a dip that’s a little sweet and vinegary, and it tastes absolutely wonderful. It’s a a quick and easy side dish to make and the Korean pancake flour can be easily found in Chinese, Korean or Japanese supermarkets. As my Koreanaholic mother would say “Mashikeh mogoseyo!” (enjoy your meal!) (makes about 2 large pancakes)
In a large bowl, mix egg, flour and water first. Make sure all lumps are gone, then add the remaining ingredients for the pancake. Mix well.
In a large pan over medium heat, add oil and use about a ladle full of batter to create as thin a pancake as you can make. The pancake won’t be thin like a crepe, it will have some volume, that’s the way it should look.
Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until almost crispy. Transfer to a plate and slice into squares or triangles.
Repeat this step for the remaining batter. You may need to use more oil.
Serve with dipping sauce.
For the dipping sauce:
Add all the ingredients for the dipping sauce into a microwave safe bowl and mix well. Microwave for 20 seconds or until sugar has dissolved. Stir and set aside.
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originally published April 19, 2012 — last updated September 20, 2018