Bindaetteok (Korean Mung Bean Pancakes)

Happy new year! Given the influx of vegans from their new year's resolutions, and also thanks to Veganuary's fantastic campaign (if you haven't checked them out before, their site is superb), I thought today I'd provide some intriguing, inspiring vegan food to show the endless possibilities of veganism. It really isn't all green smoothies and hummus. So what is bindaetteok? My Korean language skills are non-existent, so perhaps that should read "what are bindaetteok", but from what I've read it literally means "mung bean pancake". They are traditionally fried up in batches on a huge grill and eaten as street food.

Now, enter confusion. When I say 'mung bean', I'm not sure what image, if any, pops in to your mind, but they're basically little green beans, most commonly found dried. These little guys are out to confuse you, though. Only their outer skin is green: they are entirely yellow on the inside. So these pancakes are actually made from skinned, split, dried, yellow mung beans, AKA mung dal. So, to make pancakes out of these little skinned-and-split-dried-yellow-beans, you soak them back to life, blitz them with water, mix in all kinds of crunchy veggies, and then fry 'em up. The soaking is necessary because there's no boiling stage, so the only time the beans have to cook is in the pan.

When frying, I like to make sure the oil is the right temperature. If your cooking oil is too cold the resultant pancakes will be greasy and not crisp. Too hot a cooking oil is more worrying, though, as going above an oil's smoke point can release harmful toxins – and you'll burn your pancakes. So I use my favourite gadget: a digital infrared thermometer. I use it to quickly test the oil temperature, as well as for other handy things like measuring the variation in temperature of different areas of my fridge, and pointing it at my friends to measure how 'hot' they are :P. When using sesame oil, I fry these pancakes at about 170°C/340°F. Unrefined sesame oil's smoke point is 177°C/350°F while semi-refined sesame oil's is 232°C/450°F. If your sesame oil doesn't specify that it's 'virgin' or 'unrefined' then it will be semi-refined.

Traditionally, these pancakes are very large and contain all sorts: pork, eggs, kimchi. Time for a little veganising, I think! My recipe obviously forgoes the pork and as a binder I've found a touch of rice flour to work really well instead of the eggs. Please do go ahead and add some kimchi, if you're a fan, but I've subbed it out because I've tried to like it, and tried again, and failed. It's just so fizzy! Clearly I'm not a bubbly enough person. Freshly fried these pancakes are delicious on their own, but they are nice reheated too, especially with a dipping sauce. I just used some soy sauce and sriracha hot sauce, but perhaps my peanut dipping sauce would work well here, too?!

Bindaetteok (Korean Mung Bean Pancakes)

Makes about 20 small pancakes
Hands-on time:
20 mins
Hands-off time:
Overnight then 12 minutes

Ingredients: (see optional substitutions table below, too)

220g (=1 cup) mung dal (split dried mung beans), washed and soaked in water overnight
120g (=¾ cup) rice flour
90g (=2 loosely packed cups) shredded chinese/sweetheart/pointed cabbage
1 red chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped (use more if desired)
2 tsp finely chopped/grated ginger
55g (=1 loosely packed cup) beansprouts
1 small onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp sesame oil, plus extra for frying
2 spring onions (scallions), chopped


  1. Drain and rinse the soaked mung dal. Put it in a food processor or high powered blender with 240ml (1 cup) water and blitz until smooth.
  2. Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl. Stir in the rice flour. Now add the rest of the ingredients, apart from the spring onions, and mix them in.
  3. In the widest frying pan you have, pour in enough sesame oil to coat the whole surface.
  4. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat until it's shimmering. If you have aninfrared thermometer (see 5th paragraph above), the oil should be roughly 170°C/340°F.
  5. Put 1 heaped tablespoon of the mixture into the oil and flatten it with the back of the spoon. Repeat this until there is no more room in the pan, but keep some space between the pancakes. Use two frying pans if you want to cook all of the mixture at once.
  6. Flip each pancake when the underside is golden brown (about 6 minutes) and cook the other side for another 6 minutes.
  7. Stack the pancakes on a plate and cover with a tea towel (or keep warm in a low oven) while you cook the rest of the mixture. Alternatively, if you have enough pancakes for now, save the rest of the uncooked mixture for another day.
  8. Garnish with the spring onions, and serve with some soy sauce or sriracha hot sauce for dipping.

Optional substitutions:

listed ingredient can be swapped for
rice flour plain wheat flour
cabbage kimchi
sesame oil peanut (groundnut) oil