Hobak jeon (pan-fried Korean zucchini) is one of my favorite Korean side dishes! I never fully appreciated this banchan until I learned the difference between Korean zucchini and regular zucchini. They are similar, but Korean zucchini is much better for hobak jeon.
This side dish is sweet, savory, juicy, eggy, and perfectly tender. I like adding slices of pepper in it to add some spice. It looks so pretty in a dinner spread too!
Korean zucchini vs regular zucchini
Korean zucchini is called ae hobak. It is usually grown in plastic tubes which is why they are always uniform in size and shape.
These have much more flavor than regular zucchini. They are sweet & juicy! The only downside to them is that they aren’t always available.
Where to find it
I have never seen these available at any supermarket besides a Korean one, and even then sometimes it is hard to find. I believe the reason they aren’t always available is because they have to be imported, but it could also be a seasonal thing since this is a summer squash.
Ae-hobak will almost always come individually wrapped in plastic, and they can be a bit pricey- at least $2 per zucchini.
If you can’t find ae hobak near you, you can use regular zucchini or even Mexican squash. Any squash will work, but ae-hobak tastes the best in my opinion.
This banchan is SUPER easy to make and you only need 5 ingredients!
Korean zucchini (ae-hobak)
How to make it
1. Wash and cut the zucchini into 1/3 inch rounds.
2. Sprinkle a little sea salt on top- if you’re going to pair this with a dipping sauce, use less salt. I prefer them without a dipping sauce so I add a little more salt. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
3. After 10 minutes, the zucchini slices should be easily bendable. Shake off excess water but do not pat dry- you need a little moisture for the flour to stick.
4. Lightly coat all of the zucchini in flour and set aside.
5. Whisk an egg with a pinch of sea salt
6. Dip the coated zucchini into the egg mixture
7. Pan fry in a little oil over medium low heat.
8. (Optional) If you want some added heat & flavor, add a slice of serrano and/or red chili pepper on top.
9. When the bottom edges are light golden brown, flip it over and cook for another minute or 2.
10. Rest on paper towels to collect excess oil and serve immediately or keep covered until ready to reheat.
More banchan recipes
A Korean dining table always has a plethora of side dishes to choose from. When I make a Korean spread, I usually have at least 5 side dishes! Here are some of my favorites:
Hobak Jeon (Pan-Fried Korean Zucchini)
- 1 Korean zucchini or regular zucchini
- 1/4 cup flour
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp oil
- red & green chili pepper optional
- Wash and cut the zucchini into 1/3 inch rounds
- Sprinkle a little sea salt all over the top and let it sit for 10 minutes. The salt will draw out some moisture while also imparting flavor. *If you plan to pair this with a dipping sauce, add less salt.
- After 10 minutes, the zucchini should easily bend. Shake off excess moisture but do not pat them dry, you need a little bit of moisture for the next step.
- Lightly coat all of the zucchini in flour and set them aside.
- Whisk together the egg and a pinch of salt. Dip the coated zucchini into the egg, then cook over medium low heat with a little oil.
- Optional: add some chili pepper slices on top for some heat and added flavor.
- When the bottom is a light golden color, flip them over and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Careful not to let it burn.
- Rest on paper towels to collect excess oil and serve immediately or cover to reheat later.