Koreans enjoy several types of savory pancakes. Some are called jeon and some buchimgae. I’ve already featured two kinds of jeon in my Korean Food Project: wanja jeon, a beef and tofu pancake and saewoo jeon, a shrimp pancake. This time, I’m cooking nokdu buchimgae, which relies on mung beans, not flour, to get a thick, pancake-like consistency. (By the way, nokdu buchimgae is also called bindaetteok or nokdu bindaetteok.)

Since mung beans are naturally gluten free, people who follow a gluten-free diet will have an easier time with nokdu buchimgae than jeon. The downside of using mung beans instead of flour is that they can be hard to find and they require additional prep. (Before you can turn the beans into a paste, you have to soak them overnight.)

The work is worth it, though! Nokdu buchimgae aren’t just delicious, they also have a truly unique taste and texture.

Nokdu Buchimgae (Mung Bean Pancakes) — 녹두부침개

Makes 15 pancakes


  • 2 c. mung beans, either peeled and split (easy way) or whole (hard way)* [See note below]
  • 1/3 c. sticky rice powder**
  • 1½ oz. yellow onion
  • 1 oz. Napa cabbage kimchi***
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 leeks, white parts only
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 oz. ground pork
  • vegetable or sunflower oil for frying

For dipping sauce:

  • 2 tsp. soy sauce****
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar

*Mung beans are a legume native to India. Koreans eat mung beans in several forms, including the dried noodles in japchae and tangpyeongchae or mung bean jelly noodles, which I plan to cook later this year. You can buy mung beans at Asian grocery stores, health food stores and on Amazon.com for about $10. The photos above show what whole mung beans look like when you buy them in a store and what shelled (whole) mung beans look like.

**Sticky rice powder is another name for rice flour and is also the same thing as “regular” rice powder. These powders/flours are all essentially pulverized rice. You can buy rice flour at Asian grocery stores or on Amazon.com for about $4. The photos above show a bag of rice flour and a small bowl of the flour itself.

***You can buy Napa cabbage kimchi ready-made at a grocery store or make it yourself. Here’s a recipe.

****To make this recipe gluten free, I used San-J Organic Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce ($6.69 + shipping on Amazon.com.)


[NOTE: It is much easier to make this recipe with peeled, split mung beans than with whole mung beans. I found this out the hard way. If you elect to peel your mung beans yourself, the process could take hours. (It did for me.) That said, I am including instructions for both methods below.]

Hard way to make mung bean pancake batter:

  • Soak 2 c. whole mung beans in large bowl and tap water overnight to soften.
  • Using your hands, rub soaked beans together (inside the bowl) to loosen the outer skins.
  • Remove bean skins when they float to the surface of water (in the bowl).
  • Transfer skinned beans to a food processor, add 3 c. water and blend to a paste.
  • Place bean paste in a bowl, add sticky rice powder and mix with a spoon.

Easy way to make mung bean pancake batter:

  • Soak 2 c. peeled, split mung beans in large bowl and tap water overnight to soften.
  • Transfer beans to a food processor, add 3 c. water and blend to a paste.
  • Place bean paste in a bowl, add sticky rice powder and mix with a spoon.


  • Finely slice yellow onion and kimchi.
  • Sprinkle onion and kimchi with salt and leave for about 15 minutes to sweat (do not rinse off salt).
  • Cut white parts of leeks into fine strips.
  • Chop garlic and scallions.
  • Mix leeks, onion, kimchi, pork, scallion and garlic.
  • Add mung bean paste and mix to combine. Add salt to taste.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a frying pan. Ladle enough bean mixture into pan to make an 8-inch pancake. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.
  • Make dipping sauce by combining soy sauce and white vinegar in a bowl.
  • Transfer pancakes to a plate and serve immediately, whole or sliced, accompanied by the dipping sauce.

[From Korean Cooking]