korean mung bean pancakes

bindae-ddok, or the “humble(貧) one’s cake.” back in the 50’s when Korea was devastated by war, mung beans used to be much cheaper than rice. since then, mung bean pancakes have been a Korean favorite. on Seoul’s rainy days you will see people ordering bindae-ddok with soju or makgeoli, two types of liquor.

as med students living on a budget these days, we share the spirit with the people of difficult times. we invite you to try making this humble cake as a social centerpiece: there’s a part for everyone to play in its preparation, cooking, and eating.

be well – s&j



total cost of major ingredients: $5 at Hong Kong Grocery

makes 15-20 4-inch pancakes

nonstick coated skillet or frying pan. very important or the pancakes will stick no matter how much oil you use!

10.6 oz mung bean (1 small package), soaked overnight

handful brown rice, soaked at least 20 mins

1 onion, minced (in blender)

1 medium carrot, minced (by hand)

3 cups mung bean sprouts*, minced (by hand)

1 thai green pepper (spicy, including seeds), sliced thinly

~2-3 tbsp salt (to taste)

canola oil for pan-frying

*do not confuse mung bean sprouts with regular bean sprouts. to tell them apart, regular bean sprouts resemble musical notes: they have a very bright, yellow, firm sprouting head. mung bean sprouts do not.


since many may have little experience with the versatile mung bean: peel the soaked mung beans as much as possible in plenty of water. with your hands, grab a handful of soaked mung beans, and squish them. uncooked mung beans are very hard. the shells should float to the top of the water and from there you can skim them off the top using a slotted spoon or flat ladle with holes. discard the shells.

for the batter: blend the mung beans and brown rice together, add minced onion, carrot, and mung bean sprouts. mix in by hand thinly-sliced green pepper or red pepper to add a bit of a kick. season generously to taste with salt.

heat nonstick frying pan. add enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan and heat until drops of water sizzle. drop ~3 tablespoons batter onto oil and flatten with spatula or spoon to about 1/3 inch thickness. over medium-low heat, cook one side until edges are browned and pancake is firm enough to flip, about 1 min. flip and cook other side until browned. remove from pan and repeat until batter is gone.

serve with soy sauce garnished with either sliced thai green peppers or even ginger, or get creative.

ps – left-over mung bean sprouts make for a deliciously simple side dish. stir-fry in oil until translucent, about 3-5 mins.



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