Last Updated on June 3, 2023
My kind of breakfast is always savory rather then sweet ones. My vegan Korean Style Savory Potato Pancakes are perfect for satisfying my savory cravings in the mornings! I can eat this by itself just like how you’d eat American pancakes. Otherwise, my favorite way of eating this is—you guessed it, with a bowl of rice!
Ever since I was young, I always crave savory food more often than sweet ones. Even my mid-day snack used to be ramen, stir-fry noodles, fried rice, fries, pastas etc.. Basically, anything you would typically eat as a meal was my snack. LOL.
As far as I can remember, there’s no such thing as “breakfast” savory pancakes existing in Japanese cuisine. We do have savory pancakes called okonomiyaki [お好み焼き] but it’s not breakfast food. Now, for this recipe, I was inspired by the Korean savory potato pancakes called gamjajeon that I saw on TV. It looked really easy to make and fun to grate potatoes! I’m not sure how the authentic one should be made but my own interpretation of the potato pancakes turned out to be delicious. I added my beloved scallions to give a good oniony taste. For the dipping sauce, I made soy sauce based mixture with rice vinegar, sugar, gochugaru, and homemade toasted sesame seeds.
Do you know what intrigued me from the process of making them?—Getting the fresh potato starch!
Being Japanese, I’m very familiar with potato starch and of course I know how to use it. But I never wondered where the starch was coming from other than the fact that it is from the potatoes. This is what’s really fun about cooking. Learning something new from the ingredients that you take for granted. I’ll talk about more about this later!
If you never tried making/eating Korean savory potato pancakes, I highly recommend trying to make your own!
Here is the list of ingredients to make the delicious savory potato pancakes!
- Russet Potatoes
- Toasted Sesame Oil
- Black Pepper (or white pepper)
- Neutral Oil
- Potato Starch (reserved from the potatoes)
- Soy Sauce
- Rice Vinegar
- Gochugaru (Korean hot chili pepper flakes/powder)
- Toasted Sesame Seeds
I like the fact that they’re relatively inexpensive ingredients. In my kitchen, everything listed above is my staples!
The Tips and Recipe Notes
Here is the breakdown on some key components and steps!
For this recipe, use russet potatoes for the high level of starch that you need for binding and the chewy texture. Russet potatoes has a fluffy texture when you boil and mash them but when you grate them for making cakes, the texture of the potatoes becomes completely different! It’s chewier (kinda like mochi) when cooked and the outside can be super crispy!
First, you need to grate the potatoes. I used my beloved daikon radish grater but you can use box grater (medium fine) if you have one. My daikon radish grater comes with a strainer as well as a container to catch both liquid and what is being grated.
-Box Grater or Other Grater Method:
- Set up a grater over a prep bowl.
- Grate the potatoes (medium fine grate.)
- Place a fine mesh colander over another prep bowl.
- Transfer the grated potatoes to the colander and let it stand until the grated potatoes and the liquid separates.
- At this point, you should have the grated potatoes on the side and the liquid from the potatoes remained in the bowl.
IMPORTANT: Do not discard the liquid that’s collected in the bowl. This will be explained in the next section!
-Daikon Radish Grater Method:
- Grate the potatoes.
- Transfer the grated potatoes caught in the strainer to another prep bowl.
- Repeat the process.
- At this point, you should have the grated potatoes on the side and the liquid from the potatoes remained in the grater container.
IMPORTANT: Do not discard the liquid that’s collected in the container. This will be explained in the next section!
After the draining, the grated potatoes will still look wet but there’s no need to squeeze out the liquid! Also, as time goes by, the potatoes may discolor to somewhat pink-ish color due to the oxidization. This is normal! Once you cook it, the oxidized color will subside.
Here is the fun part of making this dish. After straining the grated potato, what’s left in the bowl (or container) should be the potato liquid and the white substance at the bottom. This white substance is the potato starch! Carefully drain the liquid part only then you should have the starch remaining. You can scoop it out with a spoon then add to the grated potatoes to start making the batter.
I blend soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, gochugaru, and toasted sesame seeds to make the dipping sauce. Sugar can be optional but I personally like to add one to balance out the saltiness of soy sauce and the acidity of the rice vinegar. If you like to make one with what I use, please see the link below!
Check out other Korean inspired recipe!
Korean Style Savory Potato Pancakes
- 2 russet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (more for cooking)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper (or white pepper)
- 2 tsp neutral oil
- potato starch (reserved from the potatoes)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp gochugaru
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- Peel the potatoes. Box grater method: Use a box grater over a prep bowl then grate the peeled potatoes (use medium fine grater.) Place a fine-mesh colander over another prep bowl then transfer the grated potatoes to the colander. Let it stand until the grated potatoes and the liquid separates. Do not discard the liquid collected in the bowl. Daikon radish grater method: Simply grate the potatoes then transfer to another bowl. Again, do not discard the liquid collected at the bottom.
- Transfer the drained grated potatoes to another bowl and set aside. You should see the liquid from potatoes with the white substance left at the bottom of the bowl (or radish grater) from step 1. Carefully and slowly drain only the liquid part. After draining, it should leave you only with the white substance settled at the bottom which is potato starch. Scoop it and add to the grated potatoes then add the remaining ingredients; scallions, toasted sesame oil, salt, and black pepper. Mix well and set aside.
- Prepare the dipping sauce. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, gochugaru, and toasted sesame seeds. Mix until well-blended and set aside.
- Heat up a frying pan at medium high heat. Pour 1 tsp neutral oil and add a half of the potato mixture. Spread out the mixture into an 8-inch round and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip it and flat it out. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until golden crispy. Swirl in extra toasted sesame oil right before removing the pancake from the pan. Repeat the process.
- Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.