Hotteok (Sweet Korean Pancakes) is a popular Korean winter street food. It is soft and chewy outside with sweet gooey brown sugar and nut filling. Eat it when still hot and fresh right out of the pan so that the filling is still melted.
If you are an avid fan of Korean dramas and variety shows like me, you must know about this popular Korean street food, hotteok. It looks and feels like a pancake, but it sorts like a flattened doughnut. The dough is made with yeast which makes hotteok soft and chewy, then stuffed with filling, pan-fried with oil, and flattened until it looks like a flat pancake. It is basically the Korean adaptation of ordinary pancakes.
I have been wanting to make this for a long time ago. Therefore, I am so excited to finally check my to-do-list. There are a lot of filling variations you can choose from, but I will stick to the traditional one this time. I use a mixture of brown sugar, chopped nuts, and cinnamon powder for the filling.
The brown sugar filling tastes so good. You should try eating it when still fresh from the pan because the brown sugar is fully melted when still warm and gives a gooey texture inside the chewy dough. You can also try making hotteok at home with a few basic ingredients to taste how good it is. After realizing how good these are, I start making my second batch with the cheese version. You can get the recipe at Cheese Hotteok.
Hotteok (호떡) is a type of Korean stuffed pancake. It is about the size of the palm of your hand and they are served piping hot. It is one of the most popular Korean street food and extremely popular during winter. When the weather starts to get cold, this yummy handheld snack is popular for people of all ages because it is hot enough to warm you up.
The traditional version is chewy, but you can find crispy variations in food stalls throughout different neighborhoods in South Korea. The pancake dough is made from the mixture of flour, water or milk, salt, sugar, and yeast. The dough is allowed to rise, filled with filling, placed on a greased griddle, and pressed flat into a large circle with a special tool as it cooks.
Traditional hotteok is filled with nuts, cinnamon, and brown sugar. In recent times, the filling has evolved. It can be sweet or savory filling. In fact, it can be stuffed with just about anything such as red bean, cheese, vegetables, bulgogi, kimchi, japchae, etc. Many street food vendors now deep-fried their hotteok, but I prefer pan-frying to use less oil.
Tips For Making Hotteok
This delicious hotteok is very easy to make, but let me tell you some tips and tricks for making hotteok at home.
1. Substitute some all-purpose flour with glutinous rice flour
In this recipe, I use all-purpose flour for the dough. It produces a soft and chewy texture which is a nice contrast to the gooey brown sugar interior. If you want crispier and chewier hotteok, you can try mixing some of the all-purpose flour with glutinous rice flour. The problem is the dough made with a lot of glutinous rice flour is going to be super sticky. So, I recommend substituting just a little amount of all-purpose flour with glutinous rice flour to prevent that.
2. Sprinkle flour generously to prevent the dough from sticking
As you can see from the video, the dough is gonna be super wet and sticky. Generously sprinkle the flour on the surface of the dough to prevent it from sticking during the shaping. Try not to incorporate too much flour into the dough to prevent the dough from being too dry.
3. Use a large spatula to flatten the dough
Traditional hotteok is usually flattened with a special tool with a circle-shaped stainless steel spatula with a wooden handle. But you can actually press hotteok with any flat heatproof tool you can find. In this case, I used a large spatula that works as well as a hotteok presser.
4. Put the sealed part down first during frying
Always put the sealed part of the dough at the bottom during frying. This makes sure to fully glue the sealed part and prevent the filling from leaking out. Cook the bottom for 25-30 seconds. Then, flip the dough, press it immediately until flat, continue cooking until hotteok is golden brown.
5. Hotteok is best eaten hot
I think this recipe is best eaten when still fresh right from the pan when the brown sugar filling is still melted and syrupy. The moment you take a bite into this pancake, the hot brown sugar syrup will ooze into your mouth. Yummy! Take extra caution to let it cool down a bit as the sugar filling can be really hot and scald your mouth.
More Korean Snack Recipes
Korean food lovers, don’t miss out on these delicious Korean snack recipes below!
- Kimchi Kimbap
- Korean Potato Cheese Pancakes
- Rice Cake Churros
- Dakgangjeong (Korean Fried Chicken)