Haemul Pajeon (Korean Seafood Pancake)

This crispy-yet-tender classic Korean seafood pancake is beloved by many. It's a great treat on a rainy day with a glass of rice wine.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Dipping Sauce:

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean red chile flakes)

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

2 scallions, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced


1 pound mussels or clams (or a combination), scrubbed clean

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup rice flour

2 tablespoons potato starch (or cornstarch if not available) 

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 large egg

1 cup ice water

4 ounces peeled raw shrimp, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces 

4 ounces raw squid bodies, sliced into 1/4-inch rings

6 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 red finger chile pepper or Fresno chile, thinly sliced

1 medium shallot, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 bunch chives, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1/4 cup)

Kosher salt

1/2 cup canola oil


  1. For the dipping sauce: Combine the soy sauce, gochugaru, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, ginger, scallions and garlic in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. For the pancakes: Heat 1 inch of water in a medium saucepan over high heat until boiling. Put the mussels or clams in the pan, cover tightly with a lid and cook until the shells are open and the meat is just cooked, about 5 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Pick the meat from the shells and set aside. Discard the shells.  
  3. Add the all-purpose and rice flours, potato starch, sesame oil and egg to a large bowl. Add the ice water and whisk until well incorporated. The batter consistency should be loose, like heavy cream. Add the shrimp, squid, scallions, chile, shallot, garlic, chives, 3/4 teaspoon salt and the mussel or clam meat and mix well. 
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup of the batter to the skillet and spread it evenly until it is in a single layer, using a spatula if necessary. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the sides are crisp and small bubbles form on top, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the pancake and cook the other side until brown and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the pancake twice more, once again on each side, and cook for 30 seconds per side to ensure the pancake becomes crispy. Repeat with the remaining pancake batter and canola oil. 
  5. Transfer the pancakes to a serving platter and cut into wedges. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Cook’s Note

We tried this with cornstarch and potato starch, but preferred the potato starch. In a pinch you can use cornstarch though. Frying smaller pancakes as opposed to 1 big pancake is easier to handle and you get more crispy bits.