Hotteok is a sweet Korean street food that you can enjoy either for breakfast or dessert. We know that Dalgona candy and Korean bento cakes are trendy right now, but we recommend trying this treat if you haven't already.
We've looked for the best Hotteok recipe, and we've found it. So, we're here to show you how to make hotteok at home. You will never get enough of it!
What is Hotteok?
Hotteok is a Korean flour pancake stuffed with a sweet filling of brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. It is a well-known street snack, and also a typical breakfast treat in Korea.
The Korean street food is round in shape, has a crispy outside, and is usually fried in oil. It looks like a combination of a regular pancake and Indian fry bread.
The Hotteok hangul pronunciation is 'Ho-tok' or 'Hodduk'. The Korean name and hotteok pronunciation was given by Chinese merchants who brought it to Korea in the late 19th century. The name means 'barbarian rice cake' to refer to the Chinese who brought them into the country.
This Korean pancake is perfect for any time of the year, but it tastes best in the winter. The soft bread with the sugary syrup is like a friendly, warm hug!
What does Hotteok taste like?
This Korean snack tastes sweet and nutty due to the sugar syrup and walnuts. The sweet filling oozes in your mouth with every bite when it's hot and fresh.
Moreover, the homely street snack is light, soft, and chewy. And that's not all, it's also crispy on the outside!
This sweet treat is instantly comforting to anyone who tastes it.
Where does Hotteok originate from?
The Korean sweet pancakes originate from Korean-Chinese cuisine as the Chinese brought them into Korea from China. During the late 19th century, Chinese merchants immigrated to and settled down in Korea. They started selling the snack at low prices and thus, spreading it around the country.
It is important to note that sweet Korean pancake differs from savoury Chinese pancakes or Pajeon. The Korean pancake is stuffed with sweet fillings to suit the Korean palate. Its Chinese name is 'Tang Bing', which means "sweet pancake".
Nowadays, you can find this sweet pancake almost everywhere in Korea. Of course, you can usually get it hot and fresh from the stalls, especially in the winter. But, you can also find Hotteok frozen in supermarkets!
You can also find snacks outside of Korea, thanks to K-dramas and K-pop. In 2020, the Korean boyband BTS broke the internet with their 'WeVerse' post about this snack!
There are many varieties of this Korean sweet pancake. Below are some of the classic fillings to try!
Brown sugar is the traditional Hotteok filling made of brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts. This is the most popular version, and you can find it in all the stalls.
The filling for the cheese Hotteok is usually mozzarella cheese. It's also one of the more classic fillings, and you can find it in most stalls. Its irresistible cheese pull attracts alot of cheese lovers.
Yachae means vegetables in Korean. So, Yachae Hotteok is a vegetable-filled pancake! It's usually made of chopped chives, carrots, onions, and starch noodles. Many people like it because it's savoury.
As the name suggests, this potato hotteok is stuffed with grated or ground potatoes. It is also known as Gamjajeon (potato pancake).
We will show you how to make Hotteok with brown sugar filling in this recipe. However, you can easily customize it for other fillings if you want to.
A serving of Hotteok contains 180 calories. It is a lovely light dessert that isn't too sweet!
Korean Sweet Pancakes Ingredients
The main ingredients you will need for Hotteok are all-purpose flour, sweet rice flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, milk and a bit of oil! Here are all the details you will need to make the dough:
- All-purpose flour – This is the key ingredient in making the dough. However, you can use substitutes if you want gluten-free.
- Sweet rice flour – Sweet rice flour will make your pancakes chewy. However, stick to a 1:1 ratio of plain flour and glutinous rice flour to make sure it's not too chewy.
- Instant yeast – Yeast will provide an airy and light texture for the bread. You can mix it right into the dry ingredients.
- Salt – we recommend using fine sea salt.
You can find all the essential ingredients at your local supermarket. Alternatively, you can save some hassle by using a premade pancake mix to make the dough in minutes. You won't have to worry about messing up the texture and taste. And using a Korean pancake press will help flatten the dough.
Moreover, below are the ingredients you need for the filling:
- Brown sugar – Brown sugar is an essential ingredient for the pancake filling. Both light and dark brown sugar work for the recipe.
- Cinnamon powder
- Walnuts – Make sure the walnuts are crushed finely to mix better with the brown sugar in the filling.
Hotteok recipe without yeast
You can make the pancakes without yeast by replacing it with baking soda and lemon juice. We recommend using fresh baking soda for the best results.
The ratio should be 1:1 or 50-50. For instance, a teaspoon of yeast equals half a teaspoon of baking soda and half a teaspoon of lemon juice.
Alternatively, you can use milk and vinegar in equal parts. Using these substitutes means that you don't need to wait for the dough to rise. Instead, you can cook it as soon as you've mixed all the ingredients.
However, please note that your dough may not rise as much as with yeast. You may also notice that the dough will be less airy.
You can use gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour to make gluten-free hotteok. However, note that gluten-free flour will usually make a light batter and a more delicate bread.
Moreover, gluten-free flour will need more liquid, so frying the pancake will take longer. This gluten-free hotteok may make the pancakes stale quicker. However, there will not be any difference in the taste.
How to make Hotteok
There are only four simple steps to making sweet pancakes:
1. Make the dough.
2. Prepare the filling.
3. Make the pancakes by flattening the dough and adding the filling.
4. Fry the pancakes.
We do recommend eating this Korean street snack hot and fresh. However, you can also save it for later by freezing it. The pancakes should last for up to 3 months, and you can reheat them once you're ready to eat.
It reheats well in a microwave, but the filling won't be as gooey. This is because the microwave makes the filling soak into the dough. Therefore, it is best to reheat it on a pan to maintain its gooeyness.
You can also warm it up in the oven or toast it in a toaster to make it crispy.
Hotteok Recipe | Sweet Korean Pancakes
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
- ½ cup lukewarm milk
- Cooking oil
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 2 tbsps crushed nuts
- Start by sifting the flour into a large bowl. Then, add the yeast, salt, sugar and milk. Mix into a dough and cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. Let it sit and rise at room temperature until the dough doubles in size.
- Once the hotteok dough rises, release the gas by punching it. Then, cover the bowl again and let it sit for another 20 minutes.
- Once the dough is ready, separate it into 6 medium-sized balls. Meanwhile, mix the filling ingredients until thoroughly combined.
- Flatten each ball in your hand and add a tablespoon of filling. Then, gather the corners to seal the filling.
- Preheat a frying pan to medium heat and add a little bit of cooking oil. Place the dough onto the pan and cook it on medium heat for 30 seconds or until the bottom side is slightly golden brown. Then, flip it over and press down with a press to flatten. Let it cook until it is golden brown.
- Flip the pancake once again and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook to melt the sugar filling. Then, transfer the pancake onto a plate and repeat the steps for the remaining sweet korean pancakes. Serve and enjoy!
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
Street food at home on Youtube has an amazing series of K-street food video recipes. They also have one on how to make hotteok with ease. In addition, they show the step-by-step process which we highly recommend you check out!
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