These easy Kimchi Pancakes with a honey-soy-sesame dipping sauce are savory, tangy and oh so delicious. If you love kimchi like we do, you’ll love this use of our favorite fermented food. They’re so simple to make – you mix together whole wheat flour, chopped kimchi, egg, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and scallions – then fry them up, just as you would regular pancakes. They’re perfect served as an appetizer, side dish or atop a power bowl.
What is kimchi?
Kimichi is a traditional Korean side dish. It’s basically salted and fermented vegetables – often Napa cabbage with garlic, ginger, green onion and fish sauce. It’s savory, tangy, umami-rich, bright and crisp. And very much “alive” and stinky – when you open a jar of kimchi, you can see the stuff bubbling (sometimes bubbling over) and releasing gas – and you can smell it across the room. My kids usually yell “eewwww what’s that stinky smell?!?” Once you get past the smell, the stuff is very much addictive and versatile. Kimchi is typically sold in glass or plastic jars. You can also make your own kimchi pretty easily – all you need is time and patience – though we’ve never tried to make it ourselves. Maybe someday.
How do you eat kimchi?
Kimchi is traditionally served as a side dish, alongside rice. In our house, we eat is as both a side dish and condiment – adding spoonfuls to tacos, burritos, omelettes, power bowls, salads, hot dogs, grilled cheese and more. Or, we eat it by the forkful, straight out of the jar. And, of course, we love it in kimchi pancakes.
During this COVID19 pandemic, we’ve been eating kimchi more than normal – to add freshness to meals when we don’t have any fresh produce on hand. Kimchi adds brightness, crispness and freshness to meals where those characteristics are lacking. Kimchi has a pretty long shelf-life, so it’s something you can keep in your fridge without worrying about spoilage, for about a month or so.
So, is Kimchi good-for-you?
Kimchi is packed with good for you ingredients, including:
- beneficial bacteria (probiotics), that may benefit digestive health
- kelp, rich in health-promoting antioxidants, iodine (essential for thyroid health), vitamins and minerals
- cabbage, rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals
- ginger, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
- garlic, provides immune support, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties
We love kimchi for it’s taste first and foremost, but it’s nice to have the health benefits that come along with it – especially the gut health benefits from kimchi’s probiotics.
These kimchi pancakes use our favorite kimchi, Sea-Chi from Atlantic Sea Farms. Their kimchi contains raw kelp rope-grown in Maine waters (ahhhh Maine, how we love you!!), Napa cabbage, daikon radish, salt, garlic, red pepper powder, scallions, sugar, fish sauce, ginger and onion. It’s crisp, tangy, umami-rich and so tasty! For anyone in New England and New York, Atlantic Sea Farms is offering free shipping on their kelp products through the end of April – highly recommend!
To make these easy pancakes, we chop the kimchi then combine it with whole wheat flour, egg, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and scallions. You mix the ingredients into pancake batter, then fry up in a pan with a little bit of oil. We served the pancakes with extra scallions, a honey-soy-sesame dipping sauce and dollops of plain whole milk yogurt.
Here’s the full recipe for these Kimchi Pancakes:
- 1 cup kimchi roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 scallions thinly sliced, divided
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil or other neutral oil with a high smoke point
For the dipping sauce
- 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
- 1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt
- Combine chopped kimchi, flour, egg, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and 2 sliced scallions in a medium mixing bowl. Stir well to combine.
- Prepare a plate with a piece of paper towel to drain oil from pancakes.
- Heat sunflower oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, scoop kimchi mixture by ~1/4 cup scoopfuls into hot pan (you'll need to work in batches) and flatten slightly with the bottom of the measuring cup. Don't crowd the pancakes. Once the bottom becomes golden brown (after 2-3 minutes), flip pancakes and cook another few minutes until pancakes are cooked through and golden brown. Remove from heat and place onto paper towel.
- Continue cooking pancakes until the batter is gone. Batter makes 6-8 pancakes. Serve right away.
For the dipping sauce
- Combine rice vinegar, soy sauce, sriracha and honey. Whisk until combined.
- Garnish kimchi pancakes with sliced scallions and serve with dipping sauce and yogurt.