Hobak Jeon (Pan-Fried Zucchini)

Hobak Jeon (Pan-Fried Zucchini)

The chef Peter Serpico learned how to make hobak jeon, battered and fried slices of zucchini, by watching his mother-in-law cook. After her granddaughter was born, she would often trek from Queens, N.Y., armed with groceries and Korean recipes, to Mr. Serpico’s Philadelphia apartment. This recipe is inspired by her simple yet satisfying jeon and appears in “Learning Korean,” a cookbook chronicling Mr. Serpico’s journey with Korean food as an adoptee. There is one twist in his recipe: He adds a fish sauce to the batter, which gives the zucchini a salty depth.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Make the dipping sauce: Whisk all ingredients in a bowl. This sauce will keep in the refrigerator in a covered container for 1 week.
  2. Step 2

    Prepare the zucchini: In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini and flour, ensuring each piece is lightly coated.
  3. Step 3

    In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and fish sauce, making sure to break down the egg white.
  4. Step 4

    In a medium skillet or sauté pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, dip and coat the floured zucchini rounds in the egg batter, then add to the skillet and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Use a spatula to transfer finished zucchini rounds to a wire rack lined with paper towels.
  5. Step 5

    Serve as banchan or as an appetizer with the sauce. The zucchini can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature; cooked zucchini pieces can be held inside an oven set to warm.