Korea’s answer to a pancake is very different from the English variety. Hoddeok are squat dumplings filled with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon, then squashed flat into cakes on a griddle or frying pan.
Korea’s street food is mainly dominated by savoury snacks and pancakes are often filled with seafood or vegetables, Hoddeok are one of the few sweet snacks and often sometimes described as an “inside-out doughnut”.
This recipe was kindly donated by Sue Pressey, a Korean living in Australia. Her blog (www.mykoreankitchen.com) contains other simple, yet delicious Korean recipes.
With a cup of freshly brewed coffee, Hoddeok are the perfect start to the weekend–solid, sweet and sustaining. To make six of these beauties (enough for two) you’ll need to start the dough early–three hours ahead. Fortunately, dough preparation is minimal, especially if you have the ingredients weighed out beforehand. Even if you don’t its so easy you can practically do it with your eyes closed. Ten minutes later, you can be back in bed.
One word of warning the filling is HOT, dangerously so. Provide all expectant parties with a kitchen paper napkin, and avoid arms of sofas, dressing gowns etc. By necessity any leftovers can be heated in the microwave–perilous yet delicious.
KOREAN SWEET PANCAKES (HODDEOK)
138g plain flour (1 ¼ cups)
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons of full fat milk
Fermented yeast water
3 tablespoons of warm water
¼ teaspoon of white sugar
¼ teaspoon of easy-action, dried yeast.
Filling (mix well in a bowl)
3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons of light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powder
2 tablespoons of crushed, unsalted peanuts or walnuts (optional)
Mix the ingredients for the yeast water in a small bowl and leave in a warm place for ten minutes. After ten minutes sift the flour into a large bowl and add the milk and salt. Mix with a spoon, then your hands, gradually forming into a soft dough (you may need a bit more milk). Knead lightly, adding more milk if needed till you have a soft and malleable dough. Leave covered with a cling wrap or a slightly damp tea towel in a warm place for three hours until doubled in size.
When the dough is ready, separate into six equal sized balls (a bit larger than a golf ball), and place on a plate. Widen the dough into a flattened round on the palm of your hand and place a tablespoon of the filling in the middle. Carefully gather the corners up, like a Chinese dumpling and seal well and tightly. Place the filled cakes, seam side down on a plate.
To cook: heat ½ tablespoon of sunflower oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. When hot place the cakes, three at a time, sealed side down in the pan. Using a spatula press the cakes out flat, turning after about four minutes when the cakes are golden brown. Cook the cakes on the other side until golden brown (about three or four minutes). You will have one side with ridges on – one flat. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Eat hot.