Thin, minty, and aromatic kkaennip (perilla leaves) are popular in Korean cooking. They used to be only available in summer, but nowadays they’re grown in greenhouses all year round. When I first introduced kkaennip in my recipes, they were relatively unknown to non-Koreans. I remember one person left a comment on my website saying, “I always thought these were weeds in my garden and kept cutting them.” Now, many people are growing kkaennip at home (including me), and Korean grocery stores worldwide carry them.

Recently, I made kkaennip kimchi and shared a photo on my Facebook page. Many of my readers posted pictures of their own kkaennip gardens. One person even filled a big kimchi container with kkaennip kimchi from their homegrown leaves!

If you’re curious about kkaennip and want more recipes using them, you can find them in here on my website (Recipes that use perilla leaves). And today I’m excited to share another recipe with you – it’s called kkaennip-jangtteok, a kind of pancake. What makes it special is the tasty batter seasoned with Korean fermented soybean paste (doenjang), hot pepper paste (gochujang), fish sauce, or soy sauce, which are Korean fermented pastes and sauces (jang) hence the name “jangtteok.” This jangtteok is savory, earthy, a little spicy, a little minty, and crisp on the outside and soft and chewy (like Korean rice cakes, or tteok) on the inside.

While kkaennip can be found at Korean grocery stores, if they are unavailable, you can easily substitute them with a combination of spinach, basil, and mint leaves to achieve a similar flavor in this jangtteok.

I have wonderful memories of my grandmother, who lived on an island. She had her unique way of making jangtteok. She used the big lid from her steel rice pot, turned upside-down, as a grill to cook them on. Whenever she and my aunt made jangtteok together, it was always an exciting time for me!


Serves 4

  • 30 medium size perilla leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste)
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean fermented hot pepper paste)
  • ¼ cup sliced onion
  • 1 green chili pepper, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or any cooking oil will be ok)


  1. Combine the flour, soybean paste, hot pepper paste, and 1 cup water in a bowl. Mix well with a spoon or whisk until smooth.
  2. Add the perilla leaves, onion, and green chili pepper. Mix well with a spoon.
Kkaennip-jangtteok ingredients ready for mixing
Mixing batter
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet (preferably 12-inch) over medium heat. Swirl the oil to coat the skillet evenly. If your skillet is smaller, you may need to work in batches.
  2. Pour the mixture into the skillet and shape it into a 12-inch circle. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the bottom turns golden brown and crispy.
Putting batter onto pan
Frying kkaennip-jangtteok
  1. Use a spatula to carefully flip it over and press it down gently. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for an additional 3 minutes until both sides are golden brown.
Frying kkaennip-jangtteok
  1. Flip it over one more time and cook for an extra minute.
  2. Transfer it to a cutting board and let it cool for 5 minutes. Then, cut it into bite-sized rectangular pieces.
Slicing kkaennip-jangtteok
  1. Serve as a side dish for rice. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Enjoy!

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One Comment:

  1. killoran United States joined 5/22 & has 2 comments

    I’m glad I tried this recipe… it’s so tasty! I’m using the last of my shiso leaves today to make more. Hopefully I’ll be visiting the Asian Market (2 hours away) for more soon. I plan to grow it next year, and already purchased seeds. I’m going to try growing it in my winter greenhouse, but since it’s a warm climate plant, I may not be successful.
    It occurred to me that sweet potato leaves might make a decent substitute until I can get more. They have a somewhat spicy flavor that often reminds me of incense. Now they WILL grow in my greenhouse, and are also a warm climate plant, so there’s hope for the shiso (as well as an alternate plan!) And hopefully I can find perilla seeds, as they have larger leaves than shiso.

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