Monday, February 8, 2010

Meatless Day Challenge: Gluten-Free Korean Pancakes

A few years ago, I became a fan of watching Korean TV shows which happened to be very popular in the Philippines after the invasion of Taiwanese drama shows. But the only drama I could relate to is the TV series Dae Jang Geum (The Jewel in the Palace) which is based on a true story about a legendary girl who landed herself as a royal cook and later on as the first woman who became the supreme royal physical of her times. Despite her poor condition as a low class girl in a male dominated society, the king gave her the title “The Great Jang- Geum".

Although the story revolves around the life of Jang Geum and how she became the king’s first woman doctor, this drama series is also about food (lots of it), the combination of each ingredient in a dish and the ingredient’s healing properties. This TV series is truly a masterpiece that I don’t mind watching it over and over again. Korean TV shows and lots of food are a match made in heaven.

I fell in love with this Korean pancakes the moment I saw it at Dr Ben Kim’s website. But as always I keep putting it off to do other recipes and projects. I also tweak the recipe and change a few ingredients. I like this pancakes because they are easy to digest and friendly on the stomach. The procedure may look intimidating but they’re actually easy to make. I also cut the zucchini into matchsticks instead of a julienne for more texture. I also added some mung bean sprouts that I sprouted the other day.

I tried cooking them in a non-stick pan (which is not a very good idea), but the pancakes are sticking so I used a stainless steel pan which works better for me. If you have a cast-iron pan or wok, that would be perfect. Just make sure to add enough oil to coat the pan plus an extra teaspoon or so, or else, they will also stick and would be hard to flip over.

You can serve this pancake with some avocado and tomato salsa or some mixed sprouts and sea vegetable salad. They can be eaten as an appetizer or as a snack.

Gluten-Free Korean Pancakes
Recipe adapted from Dr. Ben Kim with slight alterations

Makes 10-12 pancakes

1 cups yellow mung bean
½ cup jasmine rice
1 zucchini (about 12 oz)
1 tsp unrefined sea salt
½ red bell pepper
3 green onions
1 cup mung bean sprouts
½ onion

1 ½ - 2 cups filtered water
½ tsp unrefined sea salt

Virgin coconut oil (to cook)

To serve:
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
chili oil, to taste

Soak the mung beans and the rice in water overnight with 1 tbsp of whey, yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, lemon juice or vinegar.

To prepare your mise en place, cut the zucchini in matchsticks and place in large bowl with the salt. Toss the zucchini, then set aside and let it sit for one hour to draw out the moisture. Then, seed and diced the red bell pepper and chop the green onion. Peel and cut the onions into medium dice.

To blend the mung bean mixture, drain the mung bean and the rice and place in a blender along with the diced onions. Add 1 cup of water and blend. Then slowly add about ¼-½ cup of water while the mixture is blending. Then check the consistency. It should have the consistency of a pancake batter. Add the salt and blend again. Transfer to a large bowl.

To prepare the pancakes, squeeze out the liquid form the zucchini and add these to the pancake batter. Fold in diced red bell pepper, chopped green onion and mung beans sprouts until combined.

To cook the pancakes, heat a large stainless steel ( I used about 9-inch) pan or cast-iron pan over medium- high heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil. Swirl the pan to coat the whole surface with the oil. Ladle the pancake batter into the pan, about 4-5 inches in diameter are good or even smaller. Lower the heat slightly. Cook until you see bubbles on the top of the surface. Then with an offset spatula, flip the pancakes and cook for another couple of minutes. Then transfer to a plate. Do the same with the rest of the batter, adding coconut oil for every batch.

To serve the pancakes, combine the soy sauce, vinegar and chili oil. Serve with the pancakes immediately. They are best when hot.


Gluten-Free; Dairy-Free; Vegan

Some of the pancakes will stick to the pan but loosen the pancake with the offset spatula before flipping. But if the pan is nice and hot, and if you add enough oil, the pancakes won't stick at all.

Leftover pancakes can be kept in an airtight container and reheat in the oven until hot. But they're still best then cooked a la minute.

I used about 1 ½-2 tablespoons of oil in cooking the pancakes (about 2 medium ones).

The pancakes are not oily at all and coconut oil is actually the most suitable oil for cooking. So, don’t worry about the fat/calorie content and they won't go rancid or oxidized.

These pancakes taste better when they are thinner (thinner than the photo).

And did you know that mung beans are good in detoxifying the body? Hope you like it. Enjoy.

Love and light,

Print Recipe


  1. oh wow amazing pancakes love it Rebecca

  2. This looks fantastic! I don't know if I can get mung beans or their sprouts around here though, but I'm certain I can come up with an adequate substitute!

  3. Oh yum! I would love these alongside a few other Korean dishes. Great dish, and LOVELY photos.

  4. I really need to find time to do this! :D just thought you might have mis-typed this -- "Try not to make thin pancakes. They tastes better when they are thinner." -- i guess thick is better?

  5. Wow,now I am trying this one this week. Thanks!The photos are beautiful!
    Tina Turbin

  6. The pancakes look delicious! Frying it in coconut oil must make it very fragrant.

  7. I LOVE Korean buchingae. I make it all the time. Love the look of yours.

  8. I did hear that a lot of people were addicted to these Korean telenovelas but I never watched any. It's a pity I missed that particular series! Anyway, the pancakes look delicious as always!

  9. it looks fantastic!wonderful pancakes!

  10. The series of Dae Jang Geum (The Jewel in the Palace) was a big hit in Hong Hong too. I haven't had any chances of watching the whole series but know some of it, because many of my friends talked about it.

    These pancakes are really attractive and healthy! Love to have some ^0^

  11. These are gorgeous!! I used to watch Korean historical dramas on the International Channel in New York even though I couldn't understand a word. The costumes were so amazing that somehow I would get sucked in and almost felt like I knew what was going on. I wonder if I saw the one you're talking about!?

  12. Yumm times 1000! Everything looks absolutely gorgeous!

  13. Divina, I love the look and sound of these pancakes, very interesting mixing mung beans and rice! My mom got me watching one of those Korean TV shows when I visited her in HK. Beautiful costumes as Trix pointed out.

    Are you able to get a cast iron wok there? I know you'll really love cooking in it. No sticking.

  14. And, it's egg-free too, that's something else - looks really appetizing! I should have no problem going meat-free for even the whole week ;)

  15. oooohhhh this looks marvellous!! U have such a way of making healthy food look good and unhealthy!! LOL that was a looks soooo goood!!!!

    Imust try this...I dont think I can get yellow mung bean...can I use green instead? I actually just burnt a whole pot of it because I let it boil and I went upstairs...ill go get some more very soon....WOW! beautiful pancakes.!

  16. oohhh I just went thru the recipe in detail and I m sooo making this!! Just wanted to tell you! :))

  17. I tried making Korean pancakes once and it turned out to be a complete disaster. Yours look so good! I am inspired to try again - Thanks!

  18. Thank you so much for all of your comments.

    @Mom-Friday - I changed it already.I like the pancakes thinner although not too thin like a crepe.:)

    @ Eleanor Hoh - I'm still looking for a good cast-iron wok. So far, I couldn't find one yet. You could send me yours. :)

    @ Manggy - Mark, I could cook this for you when you're in the Philippines. Just bake for me. :)

    @ Zurin - Thanks a lot. Green mung bean would work as well. Before I blend the soaked mung bean, some of them are already sprouting, only short ones. I just made a few changes with the recipe about the pan I used. I used stainless steel and it worked better. I didn't use the non-stick pan because I might overheat it. I've burned a few items at home too. :)

  19. Gosh! Made from scratch - that is from soaking mung beans. Very interesting. And this is super yummy looking as well.

  20. Oh, Di darling! I so want to try this recipe!. I really hope I can learn more Asian recipes like this one.(and gluten free!!! )

    And I love the Meatless day idea, I think I will steal it for my blog (if you agree)


  21. wonderful pancakes! They sort of remind me of Chinese scallion pancakes but these are far better flavor wise

  22. I love kimchi pancakes!! I've never had gluten free ones but these look really good. I am a big fan of mung beans so will have to give this a try soon. I am also enjoying your daily info on grains and just eating correctly. Very inspiring Divina!

  23. Anything Korean is my favourite. This looks very delicious. I usually just use the ready Korean pancake mix which gives a chewy texture to the pancakes.

  24. @ Penny - I was surprised with the result. They are really yummy.

    @ Heidi - I don't mind at all sweetie.

    @ Jessie - they're similar to the Chinese pancakes. Thanks.

    @ Joy - I love Kimchi too. Thank you very much Joy.

    @ Mary - I think I know your tastes which is similar to mine. :)

  25. Loved these! We think tasted more like an omelette than the chickpea flour ones we've tried. We did saute the veg first before putting in the batter. The vinegar was too strong for us in the sauce. We switched to lemon and tamari for the sauce. Put some slices of tops of green onions on side with the avocado. Want to try mung bean sprouts next time! Thanks for great recipe.

  26. Addition to last post: And we used sprouted mung beans from bulk section at Whole Foods and short brown rice for soaking. You are right about thinner is better. Can't see the bubbles unless they are thin and the middle cooks to perfection when thinner.

  27. I am over the moon at how good these are! Quick cooking, texturally pleasing, satisfying to the appetite, and the absence of flour and eggs sets my soul at ease (especially given their amazing texture). I used green mung beans, and they were absolutely delightful. Thank you so much for this fantastic recipe.


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