Do you love pancakes so much that you wish there was a way to incorporate your favorite breakfast food format into the day’s later meals? You’ll be happy to know there’s a whole (Eastern) world of savory pancakes featuring seafood, herbs, and meat (or all three!)—all ready for your dinnertime (or not-in-the-mood-for-sweets breakfast time) enjoyment! Most of these recipes do not use eggs, and a few are vegan (or can be made vegan by omitting the meat or seafood filling). Whatever your flavor preference, there’s a savory Asian pancake to fit your palate.
If you take the hardline stance that a pancake isn’t a pancake without eggs, and frankly, you’d feel a little more comfortable with some breakfast food staples along for the ride, then try these recipes for a Japanese Pancake, or Okonomiyaki, and for Korean Pancakes, or Pajun. The ingredients of bacon (in the former recipe) and hashbrowns (in the latter) just might be the security blankets you need to transition toward pancakes-for-dinner (in a non-brinner sense). The Korean pancakes also contain green onions and julienned vegetables, and a recipe for a spicy soy dipping sauce. Since Okonomiyaki means “as you like,” you can swap the ingredients in this recipe to suit your tastes.
Eggs and julienned vegetables show up once again in this recipe for a Korean Seafood and Scallion Pancake, or Haemul Pajeon—but no hashbrowns this time; training wheels are off and we’re fully embracing savory Korean flavors with this pancake. Or, try this recipe for Kimchi Pancakes, or Kimchijeon, which omits the egg and features our favorite Korean meal add-on: kimchi! Regardless of whether you prefer seafood or kimchi, you get crispy pancakes and a tangy soy dipping sauce perfectly suited for suppertime consumption.
While I am a big fan of both seafood and kimchi, sometimes you just want a recipe that is as simple as possible. This recipe for Chinese Scallion Pancakes uses just six ingredients (one of which is optional), and is actually a Chinese breakfast item. Its crunchy texture and onion flavors make it suitable for any time of day.
Utilizing similar ingredients as a base, this recipe for Xi’an Stuffed Pancakes adds a meat filling to give you a heartier, full-meal type of pancake. While scallions show up in most of these savory pancake recipes, the inclusion of pork, cabbage, and spices like white pepper and five spice powder give this pancake a distinctive Chinese flavor.
This recipe for Taiwanese Beef Stuffed Scallion Pancakes begins with a five-ingredient basic pancake; you need only flour, water, salt, oil, and green onions to make this starter recipe for Taiwanese Scallion Pancakes. Then, beef, vegetables, and a bag of herbs commingle in a simmering pot of broth to create the tender meat filling needed to elevate the simple pancake into a main-dish-worthy wrap, made all-the-more heavenly by crunchy cucumbers and its sweet and savory sauce.
Try this gluten-free recipe for Thai Shrimp Pancakes, wherein corn makes an appearance, and we see a different take on the dipping sauce—this sauce uses lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, chili, and cilantro, deviating from the previous soy and vinegar-based sauces. The use of coconut oil also shifts flavors toward the Southeast parts of Asia.
Following these flavors even farther south, we have two recipes for Vietnamese pancakes which use rice flour and coconut milk for their pancake bases. In this recipe for Crispy Vietnamese Pancakes, the pancake serves as a container for vegetables (both stir-fried and julienned) and herbs. With this recipe for Banh Xeo, you cook the sausage and prawn filling right into the batter.
Now that you have all these savory pancake options at your disposal, there’s nothing to prevent you from enjoying some version of pancakes at each and every meal…except for those pesky societal norms. But, if your friends are going to judge you for being passionate about pancakes, well maybe they aren’t really your friends, are they?
Header image courtesy of The Woks of Life.