Source: Korean Food Made Simple by Judy Joo (TV, Kindle book and online)
Lately I’ve been excited about Korean food after binge-watching Korean Food Made Simple with Judy Joo on Amazon Prime. So I have long list of recipes I want to try, and I started with this interesting sweet recipe. Hotteok actually originate from China, but were brought over to Korea and are now a popular street food in South Korea.
Hotteok are usually described as a pancake stuffed with a sweet gooey filling, so no further syrup is required. It’s perfect finger food or snack on the go.
The batter is a yeast dough that incorporates glutinous rice flour to create the chewy texture that’s common in many Asian buns and desserts. Bread flour is also used to give the dough structure.
A filling of brown sugar, chopped peanuts and cinnamon is classic. This recipe calls for muscovado sugar for deeper flavour and better melting. Muscovado is unrefined or partially refined sugar, whereas standard brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added back in. I used dark brown sugar and they came out lovely, so I can only imagine how much more delicious they would be with muscovado.
There’s also bit of salt in the filling to give it a sort of salted caramel flavour. The salt balances the sweetness nicely, but some may find it too salty.
The dough comes together much like any wet bread dough. For the final knead, use a generous amount of flour on your surface and you won’t have issues with sticking. After cutting the dough into balls and forming discs, cup them in your hand so you can get as much filling in them as possible without spilling. Close them off much like a dumpling and they’re ready for frying.
Frying them with the seam side down locks in the filling. Press them down in the frying pan with a spatula to help flatten them out a bit. (In Korea, they have a special tool for this, but a spatula works just fine). Don’t worry about being too gentle… if they leak a bit, that’s OK.
Let them cool slightly so you don’t burn your mouth on the caramel filling. Warning: they’re addictive!