Hotteok: Korean street food pancakes – Italian Cuisine

Hotteok is one of the most popular Korean street food and consists of a sweet pancake served hot with a delicious stringy filling

You cannot take a trip in Korea without being tempted by one of the most famous e typical street food of the country, or the pancakes called hotteok (also called hoddeok or hodduk), particularly widespread in the city of Seoul and in general in the south of the country. These sweet and stuffed pancakes they are mainly sold in winter and can be bought on the street or cooked at home, as the preparation is not particularly complex. Let's then discover the characteristics and evolution of this special sweet snack for which Koreans are crazy.

A vendor cooks hotteok, a Korean sweet pancake, at a stall at the Seomun Market in Daegu, South Korea, on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. The disenchantment with President Park Geun-hye in her hometown of Daegu signals a wider shift in the nation's political landscape, where regional loyalties often hold greater sway among the electorate than policy platforms. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho / Bloomberg
Street food in Korea: hotteok.

How Korean sweet pancakes are made

The hotteoks, introduced to Korea by Chinese immigrants at the beginning of the twentieth century, are soft sweet pancakes, whose dough is made with a mix of flours, generally white flour and rice, milk or water, sugar and yeast. The original recipe provides that the dough is left to rise for several hours and that, before being cooked in a pan or on the plate, it is stuffed with a dark brown sugar filling, cinnamon and some ground nuts or seeds. The result is a thick pancake, from the outside slightly crunchy and a pleasantly juicy and stringy filling. Hotteoks cooked by street vendors are generally prepared on large plates and, once ready, folded in half and served inside paper cups, so as to avoid customers getting burned with boiling syrup. Koreans love to cook hotteoks even at home, following the traditional recipe or buying a ready-made mixture available on the market.

Characteristics and evolution of the hotteok

As often happens for street food, the traditional hotteok has also undergone several revisions and currently there are about fifty variants available. In the sweet version, pancakes can be prepared with a chocolate cream inside or with a typically Asian filling based on red beans. Even more recent and creative savory hotteok, with fillings of all kinds that go from vegetables to stringy cheese, up to those based on traditional Korean ingredients or dishes, such as those at kimchi (fermented vegetables with spices and seafood) and al bulgogi (a dish based on marinated and grilled beef). In some cases the white dough of the pancakes comes colored with Korean tea powder or with various aromas. Finally, there are also thicker variations that are fried, making them similar to our donuts, or cooked on the plate like waffles.

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