Hotteok (호떡) – a sweet or sometimes savoury, fried pancake, most often filled with cinnamon, sugar and nuts, is one of the most loved and traditional street foods available in Korea. It’s become known throughout the world as one of the must try foods when visiting Korea due to its warming and comforting taste. Therefore, it might surprise you that the origin of this beloved pancake, is not actually in Korea. Hotteok was first introduced to Korea from China in the 1800’s when the GuangXi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty sent soldiers and merchants to what is now known as modern day Incheon on Korea’s west coast. The traditional Chinese pancake was often filled with pork, but since the merchants did not have access to this, they worked with what they had, and the modern day sweet Hotteok was born.
If you’re visiting Korea, you can find Hotteok to try at any street seller, for example, in Myeongdong (명동) or Insadong (인사동). There are also variations on the taste throughout Korea. In Busan, you can find a more chewy and thicker Ssiat Hotteok (씨앗호떡) filled with more seeds than you’ll find in Seoul. You can also find Hotteok filled with stringy mozzarella cheese in Busan.
This recipe focuses on the most basic Seoul style Hotteok which also happens to be an easy-to-make vegan snack! But feel free to experiment with any fillings of your choice.
Serves: 6, Cooking Time: 30 mins
For the filling:
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds (optional)
- 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds (optional)
For the dough:
- 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup milk (semi-skimmed)/dairy free milks
- In a big bowl, pour the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar and milk and mix.
- Form a dough and keep adding more flour if needed to create a slightly sticky dough.
- On the counter surface, sprinkle some flour and knead the dough for 1 minute.
- Place the dough back into the bowl and cover. Leave for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix all of the ingredients for the filling in a small bowl. Take the piece of dough and place on floured surface. Cut into 6 pieces and roll them out into circles.
- Spoon in the filling in the middle of the circle, then close up the sides and pinch the top to make into a ball.
- Using a rolling pin, gently roll it out so they are flattened.
- Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil into a pan on medium heat. When hot, add the dough and flip when golden brown.
- Serve hot.
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