On the corner of Wellesly and Lorne in Auckland's CBD, tucked under the "pagoda" building is a little shop, a stall really, selling Korean pancakes. The queue there is always snaking along the footpath around the corner. A queue which balloons into a crowd around lunchtime. I've walked past this stall for years, but for some reason never tried it out. Until the other day, while running an errand for the boss, I thought why not have Korean pancakes for lunch?
The menu simply read "Chicken and Cheese $3.00, Beef and Cheese $2.50, Pork and Cheese $2.00, Vege $2.00, Sweet $2.00, Red Bean $2.50". I stood there trying to look like I knew what I was doing then ordered what guy in front of me ordered. Smooth huh.
After the shop owner with the smiling eyes took my order, I stood back with rest of the crowd watching the kitchen crew dollop filling into gooey balls of dough that kinda looked like boob implants then plonk them on the flat griddle to fry up.
Eat your heart out Pam
The result was finger burningly hot pancakes filled with gooey melted cheese and chicken or lightly curried vegetables. They were hot and exotic and greasy and I ate them on the side of the road straight out of the paper bag. What can I say, I'm a classy gal.
While I was munching on my pancakes, I noticed there was a newspaper article stuck to front of the stall. It was an article by the Herald on the pancake joint which included a recipe for the Korean pancakes.
Basically, it was daring me to try and make it at home. Who could resist a challenge like that?
There are loads of recipes online all and I found out that hoddeok are a commonly found street food in Korea. They also have several different spellings: hoddeok / Ho duk / Hotteok. I also discovered that, unlike the Herald article recipe, some recipes used glutinous rice flour (a.k.a. mochiko) mixed in with the plain flour. It's supposed to give the pancake its slight chewiness and since I am all for eewy chewy mochiness, I decided to use a mash up of recipes, ending up with one that had a ratio of almost 50:50 mochiko and plain flour.
The traditional filling is sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts. Yuuuum! But to me that combo just cries out for banana. Now, I'm not sure how authentic they are but they tasted pretty darn good! Just like a pancake but also a little bready like a bun. The brown sugar and cinnamon melt together to form a syrup and together with the mashed banana made like an inside out version of the traditional pancake with bananas and maple syrup combo but healthier since it doesn't have a lot of butter or sugar.
Gooey banana and cinnamony goodness
Almost authentic cinnamon and banana hoddeok
makes around 6-8
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp yeast
1 cup glutinous rice flour (mochiko)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 milk (lukewarm)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1 banana mashed, microwaved for 40 seconds
Also you could try peanuts and coconut, nutella, or even savoury fillings like cheese and spring onions etc.
1. Mix lukewarm water, yeast, sugar in a large bowl and leave for 10 minutes to activate. It should start to bubble.
2. Add flours, salt and milk to the yeast mixture and stir to make a sticky dough.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 3 hours. (I put mine in a very low oven ~ 50oC with a bowl of water because it's been pretty cold lately).
4. Knock back with heavily floured hands and divide into 6-8 balls. (Easiest to half the mixture then divide into thirds or half and half again).
5. Optional: let the balls rise for 10-20 minutes.
6. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon and get rid of lumps. With floured hands, flatten balls to a patty shape in your palm, spoon 1 teaspoon of cinnamon sugar and 1 teaspoon of banana. Gather the edges up to form a ball. Place on a floured plate seam side down while you prepare the other pancakes.
7. Heat a little butter with a little oil in the pan to medium.
8. Place the ball seam side down in the pan and fry for 30 seconds. Flip over and press down with a large spatula. The edges will bulge out from under the already cooked part and look like it has muffin top over tight jeans if you get what I mean. Cook for around 1 minute.
9. Turn over again and fry for another 1 minute covered.
10. Serve hot for breakfast or dessert. If you need to reheat it, microwave on high for 40 seconds.