The Oven has baked its last loaf. This blog is no longer being updated.

My cooking videos appear at

I write on food at

Chewy Korean sweet pancakes

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I've only just learned about the Korean sweet glutinous rice filled pancakes called hotteok. It was after reading a description by the Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold. This is what he says:
“If you are fond of litigation, you should probably turn the page. Because of all the hazards inherent in Korean gastronomy – stray coals, red-hot stones and exploding clams among them – there may be no foodstuff quite so dangerous as the chewy, sizzling street-food staple called hotteok... You will burn your fingers on the pancake, that’s a given; blister your lips; possibly scorch your tongue. But if you’ve never experienced hotteok, nothing can possibly prepare you for the flood of molten brown sugar from its heart, a delicious, cinnamon-scented goo that shares rather too many characteristics with napalm. Am I imagining things, or is that pure evil behind that griddle?”
Oh well now. Burn your fingers? Blister your lips? Scorch your tongue? A flood of molten brown sugar? It all sounded quite intriguing. Since I couldn't get them as street food here in Malaysia, how could I not search for a way to make them at home?
They didn't seem difficult to make and the ingredients were easily available. I wasn't keen on deep-frying them as some recipes suggested, but I saw that the pancakes could also be pan-fried in just a smidgeon of oil and still be crisp enough on the outside.
The dough is smooth when made and becomes 'lumpy' after proofing
So based on two recipes especially, I set about making my own hotteok. First, the dough. It was soft and pliable and yet would break apart easily when I pulled too hard. It certainly wasn't like yeasted bread dough. And when it rose, which wasn't much, it looked spongy and lumpy. More intrigue here.
Filling and frying the hotteok
The filling is like a cinnamon roll filling, with crushed nuts in it. Walnuts are especially used in Korea, but peanuts are apparently also popular. I also had some sesame seed paste, and used that in a couple of hotteok as well.
The picture below doesn't show how gooey the filling really was when I cut into a hotteok, but believe me, it was oozing out. The pancake was chewy and crisp, although the crispness didn't last long. It probably would have if it had been deep-fried.
But I really enjoyed it and can just imagine authentic hotteok being so much better.
The sugar filling turns gooey after cooking
Sweet Glutinous Rice Pancakes (Hotteok)
Makes 8 (about 10cm wide). Based on zenkimchi and beyondkimchi

150g all-purpose flour
120g glutinous rice flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp milk powder
1 tsp instant yeast
180-200ml water
1 tsp vegetable oil, plus extra for frying

½ cup palm sugar
3 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt (omit if using salted peanuts)

Combine all the dough ingredients in a bowl and stir together with a rubber spatula into a sticky dough. It should come together into a smooth ball. Cover the bowl and set aside until the dough doubles in size. The bowl can also be placed inside a plastic bag and refrigerated until ready to use.
Combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl.
When ready to make the hotteok, knead the dough briefly and divide into eight even portions. Form into balls.
Oil the small area on the work surface and place one ball of dough on it. With oiled fingertips, make an indentation in the centre so the sides are a little higher. Place one tablespoon of filling in the centre and pinch the edges together to enclose the filling. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Heat up a large frying pan and add enough oil to thinly cover the base. Add the filled balls to the pan in batches. Oil the bottom of a smooth-based bowl, ladle or a rubber spatula and use to press the balls to flatten them. When the bottom is browned and crisp, flip to cook the other side. Remove to a kitchen paper-lined plate. Eat while still warm, but mind the melted sugar filling.

1 comment:

  1. I don't recall seeing these in Korea (perhaps I didn't know that one of those aromatic street foods could be one of these). Well, I wasn't much of a street food eater anyway. It sounds delicious though, specially now that I am beginning to crave Korean food more often. I can almost smell it :o)


Your views are welcome and appreciated. Have a nice day!