Shrimp and Green Onion Pancakes

Green Onion Pancake | Rookery

So it’s probably not fair to complain about a recipe when I didn’t actually follow the directions that closely.

I got excited because I love green onion pancakes, so the idea of making them myself was intriguing. I especially liked that I didn’t need to buy a lot of new ingredients that I would only use once.

But then I fell into the trap that’s pretty common when recipes just show one beautifully food-styled photo of the end result, with no pictures of the in-between steps. I had absolutely no idea what looked right so I just had to wing it. Oh, and I blatantly ignored a couple of pretty direct instructions. There was that too.

Green Onion Pancake | Rookery

Even so! These weren’t so bad. They were good [said in that over-excited way when someone asks you how their new haircut looks]. I think they could be better with practice, especially to get them nice and crispy. The thing is, though, I can’t imagine myself spending time practicing. So I post the recipe and the steps with that sort of disclaimer, and shall file this under “kitchen experiments.”

Shrimp and Green Onion Pancakes

(recipe attempted from instructions in Bon Appetit. I made a half batch, listed below, which made two 10-inch pancakes. Note that for timing, you are supposed to let batter chill in the fridge for 1 hour.)

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for the pancakes:

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cups cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • A pinch of ground/finely chopped red pepper flakes (the actual recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon “gochu garu”, aka Korean red pepper powder. Amazingly enough I did not have this in my pantry. Recipe says you can also use 1/8 tsp of cayenne.)
  • pinch of ground pepper
  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 – 1/2 medium onion, very thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions, white and pale green parts only, cut into 3-inch long matchsticks
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into 3-inch matchsticks.
  • optional: 1/4 pound uncooked shrimp, (preferably from USA), peeled and deveined, cut into 1/3-inch pieces

dipping sauce (just whisk all these ingredients together):

  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 small pinch red pepper flakes depending on amount of kick you want.
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I did not use this as I was out of vegetable oil. It tasted fine without it)


1. Slice onion into thin strips. I was already lost here. Recipe literally said “1 onion, halved, very thinly sliced.” Halved what way? It’s a sphere. And do they mean use half an onion, or use both halves? Confusion. In this recipe I recommend using 1/4 to 1/2 an onion, because when it came time to add a full half onion to the batter, it seemed like way too much. So I added much less. This is what I did:

Green Onion Pancakes | Rookery

2. Slice green onions into thin matchsticks. Do the same with the peeled carrot.

Green Onion Pancakes | Rookery

3. Cut the shrimp into 1/3-inch pieces if using. I accidentally bought shrimp that had not been cleaned yet. No biggie, I thought — I can do this myself! Thirty minutes later I was still picking little digestive tracts out of the buggers (yeah, that’s what the “vein” is. Don’t let them fool you). Normally I am all for DIY but in this case, ugh.

4. Whisk the egg in a medium-sized bowl. Add the water, the salt, and the two kinds of pepper. Then whisk in the flour until you have a smooth, thin batter.

Green Onion Pancakes | Rookery

5. Add the shrimp, onions, and carrot. Again, you may not need to add the full amount of onion you have. Use your judgment. Refrigerate the batter for 1 hour. [I was in a hurry and didn’t do this. Consequences be damned!]

6. Heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a 10-inch non-stick pan over medium heat [Oops, I only had olive oil so I used that.]

7. When the pan is nice and hot, add 1 cup of batter and spread it around the pan with a spatula.

Green Onion Pancakes | Rookery

8. Cook for about 4 minutes, until edges are hardened and pan-side is golden brown. It’s a little loose still so rather than using a spatula, I flipped it using a frittata technique I learned in Italy.

For those of you who haven’t used this technique for eggs or frittatas, it’s great. I couldn’t find any photos online, so I had Jesse demo below: (1) Hold the non-stick pan in your right hand and a comparably sized pot top upside-down in your left hand. Gently slide the pancake, wet side up, onto the pot top. (2) Turn the non-stick pan over so it’s covering the pancake [your pan shouldn’t be dripping with hot oil at this point, but double check to be sure]. (3) Holding everything together tightly, quickly flip both the pan and the pot top over so that everything is now right side up – (4) and your pancake is flipped.


Green Onion Pancakes | Rookery

9. Cook for another 4 minutes until the shrimp is pink and cooked through. Increase the heat to high and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. I found that mine was still underdone after this and I couldn’t get it that crispy, but I was worried that the shrimp would be overdone so I pulled it off. I think letting it cook longer would have helped.

Green Onion Pancakes | Rookery

10. Slide pancake onto cutting board. Repeat steps with remaining batter. Slice into wedges and serve with dipping sauce.

Green Onion Pancake | Rookery


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