Korean street food: Three hotteok recipes (호떡)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

When we were in Korea, our mission was to eat as much as we can, as our budget will permit it. But unfortunately, my sister and I were not hardcore gluttons and so we settled with what we can encounter.

However, in the end, there were two things among the many things we missed to do in Korea: eat bungeopang (fish-shaped bread filled with sweet red beans) and eat hotteok from street stalls. Hotteok is a savory and sweet pancake and is considered as a popular winter snack.

We were lucky to taste hotteok from an expensive cafe but not tasting the basic hotteok from the street was a let-down for us. And that bungeopang, which we never came across!

So my sister and I decided to recreate it at home, complete with brown sugar and mixed nuts.

Because we had time and we love hotteok, we did three versions:

1) Store-bought green tea hotteok mix
2) Hotteok using flour as the base for the bread
3) Hotteok using flour and rice flour for the bread

Store-bought green tea hotteok mix

I bought the Beksul green tea hotteok mix in a grocery in Myeongdong for 7,000 KRW, I think. The box contained the bread ingredients, the filling, and the packet for the instant yeast.

The box had Korean instructions on the back, which would be impossible for me to read so I searched online for the translation. Instructions told me to:

1) Put instant yeast packet on 250ml of warm water on a bowl. Mix it well!

2) Add the premix in the bowl and mix with a spatula or a rice scooper. Until it appears like a ball.

3) No need to leave it to ferment - oil or flour your hands to form it to small balls
4) Extract the filling or syrup ingredients on a bowl
5) Flatten each of the dough and place the syrup on the center. Close it up until it forms into a ball and fry it on a pan with oil

6) Flatten the dough using a flat-bottomed utensil and brown both sides.

The hotteok that we made had syrup oozing out as the dough of those I made were too thin.

Otherwise, we enjoyed it! It was slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy inside. The syrup had some nuts mixed inside as well. We had it for breakfast lol

Hotteok using flour as the base for the bread

Hotteok #2 was initially an experiment that tested our patience. I got the recipe from Maangchi (http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/hoddeok). I initially followed this recipe since it had a list of simple ingredients: flour, water, dry yeast, salt, vegetable oil, brown sugar, cinnamon powder, and some nuts.

Instead of having dry yeast, I used instant dry yeast, which I bought from Makati Supermarket in Alabang Town Center. Being confident with the instant dry yeast, I used tap water instead of lukewarm water. Here are the instructions per Maangchi:

1) Place 1 cup of lukewarm water in a mixing bowl
2) Add tbsp white sugar, 2 tsp yeast, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Mix well.
3) Add 2 cups of flour and stir well with a rice scooper or wooden spoon.
4) The result will be a slight sticky blob in your bowl.

This is when your patience will be tested. Leave the dough to rise with a cling wrap covering the bowl. Leave it for an hour. It will then double its size and may have gas bubbles. Knead it and leave it for another 20 minutes.

The first time I did this, I only let the bread ferment for less than an hour. The result was a hard, flaky bread that was not too appetizing. The second time I made hotteok using this recipe, I slept through the fermentation, so it fermented well. The bread tasted soft and chewy inside. So the tip here is to WAIT! Be patient.

For the filling, use 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon powder, and mixed nuts. I recommend to use a mortar and pestle to crush the nuts. You can slice these if you want to chew on larger pieces of nuts.

As usual, after kneading the dough and creating smaller balls, flatten these and places some of the filling on the center. Close it up to form it as a ball again.

We used sesame oil to fry the hotteok this time. We were impatient human beings so the filling did not melt into syrup! So I recommend to fry it on low fire and cover the pan while frying.

The sugar did not melt...

And the result was a chewy bread that can be crispy on the outside. The sesame oil made the bread fragrant, thus enhancing its flavor. We also did a version with cheese inside, which melted nicely.

Hotteok using flour and rice flour for the bread

After three tries of making hotteok, we were able to make hotteok #3. This hotteok had glutinous rice flour in the mixture. We read that adding rice flour will create a more chewy bread. Plus, we just wanted to gnaw on hot and sweet pancakes filled with nuts.

And so we followed this recipe (from Beyond Kimchee http://www.beyondkimchee.com/hotteok/):

1) Mix 2 cups of flour, 1 cup gluttinous rice flour, 1 tbsp sesame seeds (or black sesame seeds for color contrast), 11g or 1.25 tbsp of instant dry yeast, 2 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp salt
2) Add the 1 1/2 cup lukewarm milk, stirred over low fire or microwaved for 20 seconds.
3) Add the oil in the mixture. Mix with a rice scoop or a wooden spoon.

4) Leave it for an hour and covered with cling wrap to ferment

5) When the dough rises or doubles its size, knead it slightly and leave for 10 minutes.

It's aliiiiiive

4) Assemble the filling: 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon powder, and mixed nuts

Same with all the recipes, use flour to knead the dough into smaller balls. Flatten these balls and add the filling on the center. Close the dough to form a ball again. Then, fry!

We also used cheese for this batch.

This time, I was patient haha. I fried the hotteok on low heat, flattened it well, and covered the pan. It took me longer to cook it but it was worth it!

The result was thin, chewy, but slightly crispy hotteoks that had hot syrup inside. The nuts provided the crunch we needed. It was a great meal all in all.

How about you try hotteok #3 at home? :D

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  1. Thank you so much for this! I'm craving so much hotteok right now that it's insane. I wonder if I can find the mixes here.

    Anyways, thanks for the post!

    1. Thanks for the comment! If there are no mixes, you can always make the flour/rice flour hotteok! Let me know how it turns out ;)

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