{recipe} Jijims (aka Jeon, aka Korean Vegetable Pancakes, aka Korean Latkes)

Hanukkah is just around the corner, which means I have latkes on the brain. Now I am not Jewish, but I can appreciate a good latke. Fried potato anything? Yes please. But when my friend’s annual Hanukkah party rolls around, I don’t make latkes, I make this old family favorite instead: a Korean recipe that’s pretty similar to a latke, but with more variable vegetables and a delicious soy and vinegar dipping sauce.

In my (decidedly non-Korean family) we call them  jijims (pronounced, at least in our personal parlance, JEE-jims) but they are known by other names too, including jeon, jijimgae, buchimgae, and so forth. And it’s probably the most beloved recipe in the entire family.

You might be wondering how this became a favorite recipe in a family of mostly Norwegian, German, and Irish heritage. I’ve mentioned before that one of my Mom’s trusty go-to cookbooks was the one put out by the PTA of my elementary school here in San Francisco. My elementary school was very ethnically diverse, and a lot of the kids were first generation immigrants, which meant that the old PTA cookbook was actually a goldmine of recipes from all over the world. Hence growing up with a Korean snack food as a favorite dish in our miguk family.

You can use different vegetables if you want; shredded zucchini and red onions is one possible combination. In place of the carrot, onion, and potato in the recipe, use 2 small or 1 large zucchinis, a small red onion, and some chopped scallions. If you want to go double fusion and get a little crazy with it, you can try shredded sweet potatoes in place of the potato, with onion and carrot, and add some cumin or curry powder to the mix. If you do that, serve it with seasoned Greek yogurt as a dipping sauce.

The recipe is pretty easy to put together, but does involve some time frying the batches of pancakes. It’s easiest to use the grater disk on a food processor for the vegetables, but you can also grate them by hand on the larger side of a grater.

Recipe: Jijims
makes about 24 small pancakes


  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • large pinch salt
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and grated
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and grated
  • vegetable oil for frying


  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs with 1/4 cup of water. Stir in flour and combine well (it’s OK if there are a few small lumps.) Stir in the grated vegetables and the salt. Combine well.
  • Heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. When oil is hot, drop spoonfuls of batter into the oil, about 2 tablespoons worth per pancake. If needed, flatten gently into disks with the spatula.
  • Brown on one side and then flip over. Make sure they are fully cooked with no raw dough inside. Remove to a plate covered with paper towels. When one layer is full, add more paper towels and place more on top. (This will keep the ones on the bottom warm.) Repeat until all are cooked.
  • Serve with dipping sauce when hot.

Recipe: Soy Dipping Sauce for Jijims


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • toasted sesame seeds


  • Combine soy sauce and vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top to cover entire surface of sauce.

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2 Responses

  1. Dana says:

    Latkes are a favorite in my house. I’m going to have to try these out. I love that dipping sauce!

  1. December 11, 2012

    […] week I shared my favorite potato pancake substitute, the Korean vegetable pancakes known as jijims, but seeing as there are still 5 more days of Hanukkah left this year, I thought you might like […]