Hobak jeon (pronounced ho-bahk jeon) is pan-fried zucchini commonly served on Korean New Year’s Day (Seollal) and Korean Thanksgiving Day (Chuseok). For these occasions, pan-fried zuchinni jeon is also presented alongside other jeon, such as songpyeon (traditional rice cake) and hangwa (traditional korean confectionery).
Despite its beautiful and lavish appearance, this dish is really easy to make. All you have to do is salt the zucchini beforehand to remove excess water, dip each slice in flour and egg, pan fry each of them and you’ve got yourself an amazing plate of Korean hobak jeon. Each jeon is full of egg fragrance, with a soft yet firm bite, to make you keep reaching out for more.
Ingredients you need for pan-fried zucchini fritters
- Zucchini – This is the star of the show! Don’t cut it too thick as it’ll be too firm to bite, nor too thin lest it be too soft. Slightly less than 1cm is what you should aim for.
- Salt – By salting the sliced zucchini for 20mins, what it does is draw out the water, leaving behind a firmer texture for your enjoyment.
- Flour – This acts as a glue between the zucchini and egg – remember to shake excess flour off before dipping in egg.
- Egg – This is the supporting lead of the show. It calmly surrounds the zucchini, providing the fragrance of egg and giving the dish its pretty gold colour.
- Red chilli and small leaflets such as parsley – Garnishes are totally optional, but don’t you agree they make the dish look more festive? Remember to slice the red chilli really thin, if not it will prevent the zucchini from touching the pan and the egg will not get its beautiful golden appearance.
How to achieve the best hobak jeon
Here we go!
- Slice zucchini into slightly less than 1cm slices. Salt it generously to remove the water. Mix well and leave it for 20mins.
- (optional) Dipping sauce. If you find zucchini to be plain, you can combine rice vinegar, light soy sauce, ketchup, sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds and gochugaru for a tangy sweet dipping sauce. (Red chilli pepper flakes used in this recipe.)
- Prepare the garnish. Slice the red chilli thinly and cut the leaflets.
- Dry zucchini with paper towels. Meanwhile, heat up oil on medium-high heat. The oil should be enough to cover the pan but not enough to drown the zucchini.
- Dip it in flour, ensuring that all sides are covered, and tap off excess flour.
- Place it in egg, and lift to let excess egg drip off.
- Cook in oil for about 30s, place garnish on the side facing the top and cook for 1 more minute. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes, checking if the batter has turned golden brown. The timing is highly dependent on heat and thickness, hence observe closely by its colour.
Ways to serve/tips
- Hobak Jeon (pronounced ho-bahk jeon) is pan-fried zucchini commonly served on Korean New Years’ Day (Seollal) and Korean Thanksgiving Day (Chuseok). But there is absolutely nothing to stop you from making this delicious side dish anytime.
- You can serve hobak jeon as a side dish, paired with rice and other side dishes or soup.
- Jeon is best paired with makgeolli. Here are our favourites:
Banchan you might like
- Soybean Sprouts Side Dish (Kongnamul Muchim ) 콩나물 무침
- Spicy Korean Moon Snail Salad with Somyeon (Golbaengi-muchim) 골뱅이무침
- Soy Braised Quail Eggs (Mechurial Jangjorim)) 메추리알 장조림
How to store leftover pan-fried zucchini
- Keep any leftover jeon in the fridge for 4 days, and reheat by lightly frying over a pan.