Sharing Our Table: Carolyn’s Bindaetteok (Mung Bean Pancakes)

Last Update: December 12, 2022

Amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the dinner table is a place to pause and reconnect. Cooking engages all our senses, helping us get grounded and find gratitude in the present. Especially at the holidays, gathering around a home-cooked meal is a chance to reflect on our fondest memories and make new ones. 

We asked Thrive Market employees to share a holiday recipe that holds special meaning for them, and we’re so excited to share them with you. From our team to your table, we hope you have a joyful season filled with good health and great food.

In Korean culture, Lunar New Year (or Seollal) is a time for honoring one’s ancestors. What better way to do that than by making a recipe that’s been passed down through generations?

That’s the story behind these bindaetteok, or mung bean pancakes, shared by Thrive Market Member Services Specialist Carolyn Cho. “What’s special about this [dish] for me is that it’s my mother’s recipe. She taught me how to make it, and she learned it from her mother, my grandmother.”

Carolyn’s parents immigrated to the United States from South Korea in the 1980s, and they brought this recipe for traditional Korean mung bean pancakes with them. Cooking traditional Korean foods is one way Carolyn remains connected to her heritage, along with speaking Korean with her parents. 

The methodical act of preparing the dish—soaking the mung beans, chopping the vegetables, forming the pancakes—has significance too. “When I make bindaetteok it reminds me of my mother, who always makes food from scratch,” she reflects.

Once they’re fried to crisp, golden perfection, these mung bean pancakes are served with an umami-packed soy dipping sauce and topped with traditional, tangy kimchi. In keeping with another Korean tradition, before eating you can say jal meokkesseumnida, which means I will eat well (basically the Korean version of bon appetit). With this dish on your table, you most definitely will. 

Bindaetteok (빈대떡) Recipe

Yield: 8 servings


For the pancakes:

1 pound mung beans, soaked for 3 hours or overnight
12 ounces mung bean sprouts, cooked
1 bunch spinach, cooked and chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
4 scallions, sliced 
5-6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced 
1/2 pound ground pork
2 whole eggs 
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Vegetable oil, for cooking

For the dipping sauce:

½ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar (rice, white, or apple cider vinegar all work)
2 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Kimchi, to serve (optional but recommended)


Combine the dried mung beans with water and soak for 3 hours or overnight, until they become plump and double in size. Cook your mung bean sprouts and spinach separately in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, squeeze out excess water, and set aside. 

Finely chop and slice the zucchini, carrot, bell peppers, scallions, and mushrooms. Chop the cooked spinach. In a large bowl, place the zucchini, carrot, spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, mung bean sprouts, scallions, pork, and eggs. Add garlic, sugar, salt, black pepper, and sesame oil. Mix to combine all the ingredients very well. Set aside. 

In a blender or food processor, add the soaked mung beans and water and blend until the mixture is the consistency of a thin batter. Add into the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix together until well combined.

Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Place small amounts of batter (1/3 cup) in the pan. Cook pancakes in batches for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. 

Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce: Combine soy sauce, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds until well combined. Serve alongside the hot pancakes and kimchi, if using. 

Tip: If you don’t eat pork, you can substitute ground turkey or chicken…or go totally plant-based! Because it uses pureed mung beans instead of flour, this recipe is naturally gluten-free. 

This article is related to:

Holiday Recipes, Sharing Our Table

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Kirby Stirland

Kirby Stirland is a writer, editor, and New York transplant living in Los Angeles.

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