Ho-tteok is a variety of filled Korean pancake, and is a popular street food of South Korea. According to Wikipedia, it is usually eaten during the winter season, which works out well for this blog post :)
It is believed that hotteok originated from Chinese merchants who immigrated to Korea after the late 19th century. Unlike many Chinese pancakes, which often contain savory meat fillings, hotteok are stuffed with sweet fillings, to suit Koreans’ tastes. They traditionally contain a filling of brown sugar, chopped walnuts or peanuts and cinnamon, that melt when the cake is fried.
I think I first had Hotteok at a Korean supermarket I went to while briefly living in Texas. It was being made right there in front of me, and it came out so fresh and hot that I burned my mouth on the sweet, sugary filling inside because I couldn’t wait for it to cool. Needless to say, it was delicious. You’d think I would have learned my lesson but I always burn my mouth on hot foods due to my impatience.
The main reason I chose to make this (other than going along with the Asian theme of my last post) is because, out of curiosity, I bought some glutinous rice flour (also called sweet rice flour) the last time I was at the Asian supermarket. I don’t know what I was thinking, really. I thought you could just use it in place of white flour in any recipe. I believe you can with regular rice flour, but the glutinous type is mainly used in Asian desserts. It’s chewy, from the gluten I suppose, which makes it workable and good for stretching around fillings.
These days, the types of hotteok have been changing continuously. Many variations have developed since the early 21st century, such as green tea, pink bokbunja, corn, and more. In my case, I decided to alter the traditional filling by using crunchy peanut butter in place of the nuts and adding some banana because…well because you can’t have peanut butter without banana (or chocolate) ;)
Though the glutinous rice flour can’t be found in a standard supermarket, you can find it in most large Asian grocery stores, or you can order it online. I highly recommend trying it. And with the leftover, you can make mochi ice cream!
The batter was so delicious that I may try thinning it out and making waffles with it. Whether you choose to make this for breakfast, dessert, or as a snack, I can guarantee you won’t be able to wait to eat it either…and when you burn your mouth, don’t say I didn’t warn you ;)
I submitted my recipe to Yeast Spotting!
Hotteok (Sweet Korean Pancake) stuffed with Brown Sugar, Peanut Butter and Banana
Adapted from One Fork, One Spoon
makes 8-10 small pancakes
¼ cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
1 cup flour
¾ cup glutinous rice flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
¼ cup brown sugar
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 banana, diced
Stir together the lukewarm water, one tablespoon of sugar, and active-dry yeast in a small bowl until the sugar and yeast dissolve. Let it sit for 10 minutes, during which time it will start to bubble and foam.
Combine the flour, glutinous rice flour, salt and remaining tablespoon of sugar in a large bowl. Add the yeast-sugar mixture and the milk.
Using your hands, bring the dough together into a sticky ball. Knead it a couple of times, for about two or three minutes. The dough will be sticky, but it should still come off your hands and stay together. Cover with plastic and place in a warm spot for 3 hours. (I put my oven on 200 for 30-40 seconds then turned it off and put dough in and turned on oven light)
After 3 hours, the dough will have doubled in size. It will look pretty puffy. Knead the dough a couple times until it becomes more elastic, but keep in mind that it will never become a smooth, elastic ball of dough.
Combine the brown sugar, peanut butter and cinnamon in a small bowl. Chop banana into small pieces and put to side.
Heat the oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Make sure your pan is hot before you start — your pancake should sizzle when it hits the pan or it won’t form a good crisp crust. Oil your hands and pinch off a piece of dough, about 2-3 tablespoons. Knead it into a smooth ball and then stretch it out into a loose circle, creating a depression in the middle. Fill the depression with the sugar mixture, about a tablespoon worth. Stretch and seal the dough around the sugar mixture and flatten it between the palms of your hands.
Drop the flattened ball of dough into the pan. The oil should be hot enough to sizzle. Smooth some oil on your spatula and press down on the ball of dough, flattening it further. Continue making balls of dough until the pan has 3 or 4 pancakes in it. Be careful not to crowd the pan.
Fry the pancakes until golden-brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and let them drain on a paper towels or a wire rack. Serve warm.