Friday, November 4, 2011

Hotteok, the Korean sweet pancakes

There is something about rain that makes you crave greasy sweet food.
It must be a global phenomenon thing... 
My American friends, Japanese friends, European friends, they all love to eat something sweet, something slightly greasy when there's water falling down from heaven.

It's been raining every single day here and I finally decide to make some Hotteok, the Korean sweet pancakes.
Besides I found a very special treasure the other day to make this sweet Goddess.

This is what we call "the Hotteok Press".  It is a simple tool to press Hotteok to flatten.

Who knew that I would be finding this rare Korean tool in the middle of Kuala Lumpur? 
Only God knows..., so it must be my destiny that I have to make Hotteok.
"Behold, thou shall make Hotteok...!"
 And I did.

Here are my destiny children.
Flour, sweet glutenous rice flour, white sugar, light brown sugar, milk, yeast, peanuts, cinnamon, and black sesame seeds (optional). 

Take your ordinary all purpose flour, and...

mix with sweet glutenous rice flour. This will help the texture of Hotteok crisp chewy.

Black sesame seeds are optional. If you have them, use them by all means.

Mix all together and add white sugar and some salt.

 This is instant yeast - the kind you can mix with flour right away.
You can certainly see the colony of unicellular fungi who feeds millions of people around the world everyday in the name of BREAD.

I am one of the million today. Since it is instant I don't need to proof the yeast. Loving it!

Now heat your milk in the microwave for a few seconds, about 15 seconds.

 Stir the milk and stick your finger in.  If it feels nice and warm it is good to go.
If it feels hot to touch, then it will murder your yeasts. 

 Drop some oils...

And pour into the flour mixture.

 Stir with your wooden spoon and...

mix until it becomes a monstrous sticky glob.

Cover with plastic wrap and keep it in somewhere warm.
For me, I just put in the microwave and shut the door.
Wait 30 minutes.

 Voila! The dough has risen. He is truly alive!

Punch him to deflate. Let him rest for 5-10 minutes.

 Meanwhile chop a little bit of your favorite nuts - I used peanuts.
Mix with brown sugar and cinnamon.

You will need to oil your hand.
I like to use disposable globe because I'm tired of washing my hands 75 times a day.

Tear a piece of dough and flatten down. Put 1 Tbsp of sugar mixture in the center.

Pinch all the corners together toward the center. Make sure there is no gaps or holes.
Play around first.

Drop it on the hot oiled skillet over medium heat .

Press it down to flatten the dough.
Don't have this Hotteok press?
Honey, you are in a big trouble. Your life ends here...

Just kidding!
Use any bowl that has smooth round bottom. Something like this one below.
A typical CorningWare bowl that you can buy at Walmart.
This will do the job just fine.
Make sure you oil the bottom surface so it won't stick.

 When your Hotteok puffs up slightly, flip to the other side. You will see the nice golden crust.

Boy, can you resist this? If you can, you are not one of my kind. 
Crispy yet chewy texture with sweet cinnamon brown sugar syrup oozing out...
Sooooo gooood!!!!
But you gotta be careful! The sugar syrup can be quite hot especially to young children.

Oh, Lord! Please, save me from these evil greasy sugary temptation...
But If thou let me eat them now, I shall eat carrots for dinner.

Well, It turned out that I ran out of carrots that evening so I ate broccoli instead.
Do you think I've sinned?


(Korean sweet pancakes)
makes about 10-12 pancakes

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup glutenous rice flour
1 Tbsp black sesame seeds (optional)
1 envelope (11g) instant yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2cup milk, lukewarm
1 tsp canola oil
More oil for frying

2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, and etc)
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix flours, yeast, sesame seeds (if using), sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Pour lukwarm milk mixed with 1 tsp of oil to the flour mixture and mix everything with wooden spoon. The dough will be very sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and keep the bowl in a warm place for 30-45 minutes depends on the temperature in the room. 
The dough should rise double in volume. Deflate the dough by punching it in the center and let it rest for another 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl.
Tear a piece of dough (about 1 1/2 - 2" in diameter) and stretch out with your hand. Place 1 Tbsp of filling mixture in the center and pinch the edges of the dough toward the center to close making a ball shape.

Heat the pan with generous amount of oil over medium heat. Drop the dough and push it with spatula or a bowl with smooth bottom to flatten it. When you see the surface puffs up slightly, flip to the other side and continue to cook adding more oils if needed. It will get nice golden brown crust.
Serve hot immediately but be very cautious. The brown sugar syrup will be very hot! Enjoy!

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