Joo Joo Restaurant & Karaoke Haemul Pajeon

The version of haemul pajeon at Joo Joo is thicker and crunchier than other Korean seafood and scallion pancakes. 

For the past decade, Joo Joo Restaurant & Karaoke has served as a pillar of the Korean community in the St. Louis area, offering traditional Korean food and drinks plus karaoke rooms for a fun and flavorful experience. When chef LJ Lee took over the business in 2018, he refreshed the menu, putting his own twists on classic recipes. His version of haemul pajeon (Korean seafood and scallion pancakes), for example, is thicker, crunchier and loaded with savory flavor. He also serves it as one big pancake instead of smaller, individual pancakes, and it’s meant to be shared with the table. Lee recommends using squid, shrimp, scallops and clams for this recipe.

“Seafood pancakes are a staple at almost every restaurant in South Korea; they have been popular for decades, Lee says. “While the dish was already on the menu [at Joo Joo], I decided to punch up the recipe when I took over the restaurant, and it’s been a customer favorite since we reintroduced it.”

Haemul Pajeon

Recipe by LJ Lee, chef-owner, Joo Joo Restaurant & Karaoke

Serves | 2 to 4 |

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup assorted seafood, cut into 2½-inch pieces
  • 5 green onions, cut on the bias into 1½-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil

| Preparation | Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, combine flour, cornstarch, salt, sugar, egg and water in a large bowl. Stir in seafood and green onion. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Pour batter into pan and tilt pan to evenly distribute; cook until underside is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip pancake and continue to cook until underside reaches desired crispiness, approximately 3 minutes. Transfer pancake to a plate. Serve with desired sauce (soy sauce, Sriracha, etc.).