Recipe: How to Make Korean Matchstick Potato Panchan (Side Dish)

One of my all-time favorite panchan (Korean side dish) is the sautéed matchstick potatoes. It’s highly addictive—tender with a slight crunch from being steam-cooked under medium heat, and flavored slightly with oil that’s been infused with onion, garlic, and green pepper.

The challenge is two-fold—to remove the potatoes from the heat before they lose their slight crunch and to keep the potatoes from changing its original color. But if done correctly, it tastes like pure heaven.

Recipe: Mama Sophia’s Sauteed Korean Matchstick Potatoes Panchan

Russett potatoes (finely cut or shredded to matchstick size)
Onion (finely sliced)
Garlic (finely chopped)
Green pepper (finely sliced)
Scallions (finely chopped)
Sesame oil and/or canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Prepare potatoes—wash, peel, cut or shred with food processor to matchstick sizes, and rinse off starch. Soak in cold water until ready to use.

2) Using medium-high heat, sauté onions, garlic, and green peppers in generous amount of oil in a non-stick pan. This savory flavored oil will be used to cook the potatoes. Remove solids and set aside (to be added back in later or used in another dish).

3) Drain water from potatoes, and add potatoes to hot frying pan with the savory oil. Turn down heat to medium and cover frying pan with lid to collect steam which will help cook the potatoes. Stir occasionally to keep potatoes from sticking to bottom or browning. (Potatoes should appear as close to its natural white. If it starts browning, lower and/or briefly remove from heat.) Lightly salt and pepper to taste. Cooking time—about 7 to 10 minutes.

4) Remove from heat, garnish with finely chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!


  • Other variations: some people may even add in matchstick carrots, parsnips, and/or sweet potatoes for a different nuance in texture, color, and flavor.
  • Here’s a short-cut, lazy person’s version of this recipe: Instead of sautéing the savory ingredients (onions, green peppers, garlic), just cook the potatoes in oil that’s already been infused with garlic, or use powdered onion and/or garlic in the middle of the cooking process. You might also want to add a pinch of brown or white sugar since you’ll be missing the sweetness from the onions. Note: you won’t achieve the same complexity in flavor, but if you’re pressed for time/energy, this may be the way to go.

6 thoughts on “Recipe: How to Make Korean Matchstick Potato Panchan (Side Dish)

  1. I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I tried this dish at two Korean restaurants before and really liked it. I went back to one of the restaurants just for this side dish (the food was ok only). I tried looking for this recipe once before and wasn’t able to find it. The search yielded potato side dishes that are the cubed sweet ones, which I don’t care for. I’m not a huge potato fan, but I really like this dish, because the potato is barely cooked and has a slight crunch to it. I made this last night, and was really surprised that it turned out well. I was time crunched, so I went with the short cut method. Next time I may try the original method, but since I already like the short cut, it’s so easy, I might be lazy and just stick with it. 🙂 I can’t wait to try your other recipes. Thank you so much for sharing. Yours is the only recipe I found for this side dish.

  2. This was my favorite side dish at the neighborhood restaurant where my family would often eat in Seoul. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make it. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe and tips – making this now!

  3. i just wanted to ask how long can this side dish be kept and can it be eaten cold?

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