Tuna pancake

Chamchijeon 참치전

I’m pleased to introduce you to this easy and delicious side dish recipe made with a can of tuna. It doesn’t have to be served hot, so it’s good for a side dish at a picnic or in a Korean lunch box (dosirak). My long time blog reader Reinier from Netherlands came to New York in March. I chose this easy tuna pancake recipe for us to make together.


Reinier told me he would film a tuna pancake video when he went back home as a video response. I was going to upload our video as soon as possible, but instead I posted pajeon and mugwort soup recipes. Good quality soft tender mugwort is available only in the spring so if my readers wanted to forage wild mugwort and wild green onions it was the perfect season.

Meanwhile, Reinier went back to his country and emailed me to say that he was finished his tuna pancake video response and posted as unlisted. All he needed was my posting the video. But then YouTube team let me know I was accepted to YouTube Nextup! They asked me to upload a short video that shows my background, nature of my videos, etc… so I had to film my “Maaangchi is Nextup” video instead of editing the tuna pancake recipe. I knew Reinier was dying for my tuna pancake video to be uploaded! But I couldn’t tell him why it was taking so long because I promised YouTube not to tell anyone about my winning until they announced it.

So today, I’m finally posting this video recipe. Reinier and I are going to upload the recipes almost at the same time! Real time! Why are we trying to post these videos at the same time? Simple answer! It’s for fun fun! lol

Enjoy the recipe and thank you Reinier for your patience! : )

Ingredients (for 2-3 servings)

1 can of tuna (5 oz: 142 grams), onion, garlic, kosher salt, ground black pepper,  sesame oil, egg, flour, and canola oil.


  1. Strain out the liquid from a can of tuna and place it in a bowl.
    *tip: You can use cheesecloth, paper towel, or just squeeze with your hands to get the excess liquid out
  2. Add ¼ cup chopped onion, 1 minced garlic, 1ts kosher salt, ¼ ts ground black pepper, 1 egg, 1 ts toasted sesame oil, and 1 tbs flour to the tuna and mix it well.
  3. Heat up a non-stick pan and spread 1-2 tbs canola oil.
  4. Scoop a spoonful of the tuna mixture with a spoon and place it on the heated pan.
  5. Press slightly and round the edges with the spoon.
  6. Make 6 small size pancakes with the tuna mixture.
  7. When the bottom is cooked golden brown, turn it over and cook until both sides of the pancakes are golden brown. Total cooking time is 3-5 minutes.
  8. Transfer the cooked pancakes to a serving plate and serve with rice.

Here is Reinier’s video response!




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  1. khimmy South Korea joined 7/12 & has 1 comment

    This really easy easy and yet very delicious food :)
    I watched your video almost everyday. I’m not a good cooker but I loved to cook and invent sometimes :]) It was kinda fun en I enjoy :D
    I made this today’s dinner, I just finished cooking when he arrived from work.
    I did’t taste it, his the one who taste it first. And guest what ___???
    awesome! he really really LOVES IT! I’m so happy.. Before I make kimchi jjigae, kongnamul muchim and dried anchovy.. HE REALLY LIKE IT :]) I’m really happy because it was my first time to cook korean food. I’m a filipina almost 3mos. now here in korea, and married to a very good korean man :)
    he is good in making and designing cake he had two licenses and many certificate and have his own bakery shop. He graduated in Baking.. But, his employed at the government :D hihihi .. thanks maangchi for inspiring us :) God Bless! mwuaapz
    I take pictures and post it to my new tumblr account :)

  2. janicedale Australia joined 2/12 & has 16 comments

    I like your Tuna Pancake , it looks terrific and very tasteful. It is perfect in everyday lives. I am going to prepare this for my family. It is very easy and I am sure my friends and my family would like it too. What do you think would be the perfect sauce for this?

  3. QueenEmilie Norway joined 5/12 & has 1 comment

    I have made these tons of times!! I absolutely loved them :)
    I also blogged about them here: http://curiousgazelle.tumblr.com/post/23473958260/tuna-pancakes-original-recipe-from-maangchi-i

  4. Simone West Hartford joined 4/12 & has 1 comment

    This is great. I love tuna, it’s so delicious! I have to try this recipe. Thanks, Reinier!

  5. pastelcolors Phillipines joined 5/12 & has 1 comment

    can i substitute the sesame oil from olive oil?

  6. fluffycakes The Netherlands joined 4/12 & has 3 comments

    I made this yesterday. My family loved it! Whilst I was putting the pancakes in the pan though, it kind of fell apart. I wasn’t able to make pretty round shapes. Perhaps I should practise more! It still tasted fantastic, don’t worry! I also made a few spicy pancakes with chili paste and chili oil. Spicy, spicy! Thank you so much for the lovely dinner.
    I also have a non-food related question: usually you always mention the music you use in your videos, and this time you haven’t. It would make me very happy to know who sings the song at the beginning of this video. It sounds familiar to me! :)

  7. seohyun000 Philippines joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    Is it ok if I will replace sesame oil and canola oil??

    Thank You! ^_^

  8. DebC California joined 11/11 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi!
    I love this simple recipe! It was my first time making this but I ran out of onion so I substituted it with canned corn. The finish product was tasty, however, I felt like the consistency is not quite as thick as yours and mine do not shape a nice form like yours… :<
    how cam I make it better so all ingredients "stick" together??

  9. ktek SF Bay Area joined 11/11 & has 1 comment

    Tonight at 9:15 my husband was hungry. Earlier I watched your video and Reinier’s video as well and thought – let’s give chamchijeon a try! I had all the ingredients on hand and by 9:45 we were enjoying this delicious appetizer. I doubled the recipe, my daughter had 2, I had 3 and my husband finished the plate. Now I have to worry about his mercury levels. But what a way to go!

  10. edrea Vancouver, Canada joined 11/10 & has 2 comments

    maangchi unnie…
    this is my second time following your recipe =D
    This one is so easy and so good for a student with little time to cook like me..


    kamsahamnida unnie! =)

  11. mimi88 germany joined 8/10 & has 2 comments

    a couple days ago, i made lunch for a few friends and made chamchijeon (which came out delicious :) ) but the only thing was, that as soon i announced i was going to make korean tuna pancake, everyone looked a bit disgusted until i said it was more of a tuna-FRIKADELLE than pancake. then they were definitely more eager to try them.
    i know this seems silly, but perhaps the name should be adjusted?

    • Urahara Canada joined 8/11 & has 5 comments

      “Jeon” is the korean word common to all the “korean pancakes” there is. Hobakjeon, chamchijeon, deongtaejeon, gochujeon, kimchijeon etc. Since it’s made with eggs and flour, it is indeed a pancake… Changing the name would mean changing the meaning of “jeon”
      At least that’s what I think?

  12. Moxiesoup Atlanta, GA joined 7/10 & has 5 comments

    Brought these to lunch today at my Korean in-laws house… they liked them, but they looked at them oddly, and said “in Korea, they do not make pancakes with tuna”. They’re from Seoul. Are these a regional thing?

    • Marc1021 Scranton, PA joined 12/11 & has 2 comments

      I know you posted this in July but I will share with you my experience cooking these…I made them and posted a photo on my facebook and my friend from Gwangju told me her mom makes these too. Shortly afterwards my friend from Guri which is next to Seoul told me she loves these and makes them all the time…it might depends on the family I guess…but two people from different parts of the country do eat them…maybe your in laws left before canned tuna became popular?

  13. ywchocolate Singapore joined 7/11 & has 2 comments

    What did you put in the sauce?

  14. kwonwon singapore joined 2/11 & has 8 comments
  15. seraph74 Sydney, Australia joined 5/11 & has 7 comments

    Such a fantastic recipe… though I have to say I enjoy it so much more if I add 1 tbsp of spicy chilli flakes to it!! Then goes even better with tomato and cucumber!!!

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