Happy New Year!
I'm starting the new year on a sweet note. This all-time favorite street food of Korea is actually pretty easy to make at home if you'd allow yourself time and patience. This is the basic, common hotteok that I've tasted growing up when there was only one sweet hotteok variety (or that's what I remember at least).
Sweet rice flour makes it a little soft chewy-sticky, the texture I can't resist, but feel free to use only all-purpose flour for the dough to make it a little fluffier. Mixing in honey keeps the filling together as well as helps sugar melt a little faster while cooking. As usual for any pan-frying, it takes a hot skillet with enough oil at all times. Try the recipe as is or feel free to come up with your own filling (hint - japchae makes a great savory filling. Find my japchae recipe here). Either way, you will have fun making and eating them!
HOTTEOK - PANCAKE WITH CINNAMON PEANUT SYRUP FILLING
Yield - 8 pancakes
1 packet (7g) Instant active dry yeast
3/4 cup Lukewarm water
1 1/4 cup or more All-purpose flour
1/2 cup Sweet rice flour (Mochiko or Bob's Red Mill sweet white rice flour)
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon plus more Neutral-tasting cooking oil, such as canola or sunflower seed oil
Cinnamon & peanut syrup filling
1/4 cup Turbinado raw cane sugar or brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon Toasted sesame seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon Honey
1/4 cup Toasted peanuts, chopped roughly
1. Stir dry yeast in lukewarm water. Break down lumps and set aside until you see a few bubbles. Pour the yeast water into a bowl with all-purpose flour, sweet rice flour, sugar and salt. Mix to incorporate everything completely with your hand until you can form a dough. The dough is pretty wet and sticks to your fingers, but not wet enough to be runny. Adjust consistency with all-purpose flour as necessary.
2. Add oil to the dough and mix until oil is absorbed, about 5 minutes. By now it should be a little shiny and smooth. Cover with plastic and let it rest in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 30 minutes to an hour. During this cold season, I keep it next to a heater and it's ready in 15~20 minutes.
3. While you wait for the dough to rise, prepare the filling by mixing sugar, cinnamon powder, sesame seeds and honey completely. Mix in peanuts to incorporate.
4. Keep a spoonful of oil nearby to dip your fingers whenever the dough starts to stick to your hands. Punch down the dough to remove gas and bring together to shape it like a ball. Divide the dough in half, cut another half from each piece and then another half from each piece, creating 8 equal-sized pieces. Keep them covered with plastic wrap.
5. Drizzle oil to coat a heated skillet over medium heat. Take a piece of the dough and press down to a round on your palm. Place about 1~2 tablespoons of the filling in the middle. Pull up the edges and seal the dough with your fingers.
6. Reduce heat to low. Carefully put the dough ball with its sealed side down on the heated skillet. Press down with a greased spatula to form a flat round. When the edges turn translucent, check the bottom. When the bottom is golden brown, flip to the other side and press down lightly. When both sides are golden brown, transfer to a plate and cool for 5 minutes since the sugar filling can be very hot right off of the skillet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
7. This is my own solution for any leftover filling, if you happen to have some. Mix the filling with a few drops of water. After you cook all the pancakes, melt the syrup on the skillet over low heat. Add a few more drops of water as necessary to adjust consistency. Pour it over the pancakes or serve it separately as a dipping sauce.
If you have any leftover hotteok, cool it down to room temperature, put it in a ziploc bag and store in the freezer. You can reheat it on the stove or in a microwave when you crave hotteok next time!
새해 (sae hae) new year
올해 (ol hae) this year