Summer Squash Pancakes With Soy Dipping Sauce

You'll want this classic Korean dish featuring your squash harvest for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Summer Squash Pancakes

Summer Squash Pancake with Soy Dipping Sauce

Are you knee deep in summer squash? Try Summer Squash Pancakes!

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Are you knee deep in summer squash? Try Summer Squash Pancakes!

Have you run out of ways to cook up your mountain of summer squash yet? Try Summer Squash Pancakes! Leave the maple syrup in the pantry, this pancake dish is savory. Squash based fritters are a common side dish in Korean cuisine. It’s known as hobakjeon, the literal translation being “squash pancakes.” These fritters are made from simple ingredients: zucchini, flour and water. They are then pan-fried with vegetable oil until golden with crispy edges.

Vegetable pancakes are a popular dish in Korean cuisine. There are many variations of jeon (pancake), all of which are savory. Spinach, green onions, chili peppers and kale are some of the popular vegetables used in jeon. The fritter-type pancakes are eaten as appetizers, banchan (small side dishes during a meal), or as anju (food to eat while drinking a cold one at a bar). They are always served with a soy dipping sauce on the side.

Although traditionally hobakjeon is made with zucchini, crookneck squash works well in this dish. Since summer squash tends to have a mild flavor, adding chives or scallions to the batter gives the dish a little pizzazz. If you happen to have a giant zucchini you missed while squash hunting and it grew into a 2-foot monstrosity, do not toss it—it’s a perfect candidate for squash pancakes. Break out the frying pan, it’s summer squash pancakes for dinner tonight!

Summer Squash Pancake

  • 1 1/2 cups summer squash (zucchini or crookneck) julienne or shredded.
  • 1 bunch chives or scallions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • Sesame seed oil (This is to add an extra depth of flavor. Do not fry pancakes in straight sesame oil. It has a low smoking temperature and will burn before your pancakes are done. Sesame oil is used as finishing oil in many Asian dishes.)
  • Vegetable oil for frying

If you are using an older squash, remove the seeds first. Julienne or shred the squash.

Put 1-1/2 cups of squash strips into a bowl. Add the chopped chives or green onions.

Add 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup water and mix it well with a spoon.

Make sure the batter coats the squash strips thoroughly.

In a heated pan, add about 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the squash batter and put it into the pan. Spread the batter evenly and thinly to make a circular pancake.

Fry for about 1 minute until the bottom sets firm. Heat lovers can add a couple of the sliced jalapenos to the top of the pancake.

Add a few drops of sesame oil to the pan along the edge of the pancake. Tilt and shake the pan to get the sesame oil to spread underneath the pancake. Cook another minute until the bottom turns light golden brown and crispy. Press down on the pancake with a spatula while frying to get a nice crispy bottom.

Turn over the pancake with a spatula and cook for 1-2 minutes (you can add more vegetable oil if needed). 

Transfer the pancake to a serving plate and serve with dipping sauce (recipe follows).

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallion
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 green chili pepper, sliced (optional)

Mix ingredients together in a small bowl and serve with pancakes on the side.

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