The Korea Herald


[Holly’s Korean Kitchen] Wanja jeon, Korean meat tofu patties

By Korea Herald

Published : March 26, 2022 - 16:01

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Wanja jeon, Korean meat tofu patties (Holly Ford) Wanja jeon, Korean meat tofu patties (Holly Ford)
My mother made these little patties on the day before holiday every year. She often cooked them on an electric griddle and made a ton of these little yummies for her family and relatives.

These patties were only one of a variety of dishes that she pan-fried on the griddle. I usually sat down next to her to chat, grabbing a few of these little patties while they were piping hot off of the griddle. Oh, how delicious! The day before Korean New Year’s Day was a long, labor-intensive day for many Korean mothers. I thank my mother for the hard work and love she put into the food to feed her family and relatives for the holidays.

These little meat tofu patties have two names. Wanja jeon is the official “cuisine” name for these patties, but people often call them donggeurangddaeng because of their round shape.

Jeon refers to pan-fried dishes that are usually shaped into a certain form or into individual pieces. Most of them are coated with flour and egg batter, then pan-fried. They are commonly served for holidays like New Year’s Day or Chuseok in Korea. Along with these meat tofu patties, kkaetnip jeon, or perilla leaves dumpling with pork, sanjeok, or beef and rice cake skewers, and other kinds of jeon are widely eaten during the holiday.

How to make wanja jeon (8 servings)


- 453 grams ground pork, beef, or chicken

- 226 grams firm tofu

- 1/2 medium onion

- 1 carrot

- 2-3 mushroom

- 1/2 leek or 2 green onion

- 1 fresh green chili, seeded (optional)

- 1 tbsp minced garlic

- 1 tsp ginger puree

- 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce

- 2 tsp sesame oil

- 1 tsp kosher salt

- 1/2 tsp pepper

- 3 eggs divided

- 1 cup flour for coating

- 4 tbsp oil

For dipping sauce

- 2 tbsp soy sauce

- 1 tbsp vinegar

- 1/2 tsp sugar


1. Mince onion, carrot, mushroom, leek (or green onion) super finely with a knife or use a mini food chopper.

2. Place tofu in a fine kitchen cloth and twist it to squeeze the water out. Unfold the cloth and crumble the tofu.

3. Mix ground meat, tofu, minced vegetables, mushroom, garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, egg, salt, pepper, and one egg in a mixing bowl. Knead the mixture for 2-3 minutes.

4. Form them into meatballs using a small cookie scoop.

5. Put flour in one shallow bowl and the remaining eggs in another; beat the eggs. Flatten each meatball a little to make a disk shape. Coat them lightly with flour, followed by beaten eggs.

6. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add a few patties and cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.

7. Start pan-frying the second batch and repeat the steps.

8. Serve meat tofu patties warm or at room temperature with a dipping sauce. To make the dipping sauce, mix soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar in a small mixing bowl.

By Holly Ford (


Hye-gyoung Ford (aka Holly) is a well-known Korean food blogger and the author of “Korean Cooking Favorites.” Born and raised in Korea, she has lived in many countries. She shares her recipes and food memories in her blog, Beyond Kimchee. - Ed.