Hobakjeon are Korean pancakes filled with zucchini. They may also be referred to as hobak buchim or buchimgae since Hobakjeon is traditionally used for battered and fried zucchini slices. Sometimes only zucchini is used, but other vegetables may also be added. This recipe also includes grated carrots and onion.
This is so far Chad’s favorite dish with zucchini. Every time I get a couple in the CSA box, he always requests Hobakjeon. It is also a great way for Evan to get some veggies during his picky phases. According to Chad, the accompanying dipping sauce is a must.
I added 2 cups of the water to the batter first, then the vegetables. The remaining cup of water may or may not be needed depending on the moisture content of the zucchini and onion.
Gochugaru is a hot Korean red chili powder. The best gochugaru is made from red chili peppers that have been dried in the sunlight. You can make your own (not common anymore) and it is also available on Amazon as fine or coarse powders: Singsong Korean Hot Pepper Fine Type Powder and Singsong Korean Hot Pepper Coarse Type Powder. I have not been able to find it at any grocery stores in my area, but I have seen it in the local Asian food markets. If you must, cayenne powder can be substituted, but the flavor is just not as authentic as the hot and sweet, smokey gochugaru.
Hobakjeon (Korean Zucchini Pancakes)
Adapted from Kitchen Wench
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
1 1/2 pounds (700 g) zucchini
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2-3 cups water, divided
2 carrots, grated
1 large onion, grated
salt and pepper to taste
To make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, vinegar, and gochugaru. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Remove the ends of the zucchini and cut into thin slices. Cut the slices into matchsticks. In a colander, toss the zucchini matchsticks with the 2 teaspoons salt. Let rest until the zucchini has softened and released liquid, about 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs. Whisk in the flour until no clumps remain, then gradually whisk in 2 cups of the water to create a thin batter. Fold in the softened zucchini. Fold in the grated carrot and onion. Season with salt and pepper. If the batter is not thin enough to easily pour in the skillet, then gradually whisk in remaining 1 cup water.
In a large non-stick pan, drizzle oil over medium low heat. Once heated, pour in enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan in a thin layer, 1/2-1 cup. Use a spatula or spoon to make sure the vegetables are evenly distributed. Cook until the top of the pancake is set and the bottom is browned. Flip and cook the other side until browned. Remove to towel lined plate and repeat with remaining batter.
If desired, cut into serving pieces and serve immediately with dipping sauce.