Two-Ingredient Hotteok: Easy Korean Pastries

Visit Korea, and you’ll most likely come across stacks of circular pieces of bread. The fried golden pieces hide a sweet filling inside. Known as hotteok, these flour-based pancakes are cooked to crispy perfection on the outside. On the inside, gooey bites of a paste made with sweet, sugary nuts will keep you reaching for more. These easy snacks are handed over in paper bags, making them convenient to take to the office or the park for a moment of afternoon refreshment. 

Thankfully, you don’t need to step onto a plane and visit another country to enjoy these sugary treats for yourself. With a handful of ingredients, you can replicate the pastry recipe at home and customize the pieces to your liking. 

Use pre-made biscuits like a canister of Pillsbury rolls or your favorite doughy brand to create the exterior layer that you fill with a paste made from brown sugar and cinnamon. Simply mold the doughy biscuit around a scoop or two of filling and enclose the mixture inside the biscuit. Once securely tucked and folded, pan fry the filled pancakes until the exterior is golden and crispy. 

Creating the packed pancakes of your dreams

making hotteok pancakes

It can be helpful to press the surface of each hotteok lightly down onto your griddle to ensure even temperature and cooking. Once you’ve mastered the process, experiment with using different kinds of fillings to make up your sweet mixture. Add chopped walnuts or pistachios, stir in swirls of peanut butter or Nutella, and top the baked pieces with powdered sugar. Should you like the tasty treat but prefer a flakier dough, canned crescent rolls can turn your stuffed pancakes into a lighter, crispier snack.

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If you’re not a fan of sweet dishes first thing in the morning, you can turn this easy-to-make idea into a more savory dish by filling doughy biscuits with your choice of vegetables, cheese, or herby tahini for an earthier flavor. Hotteok can also be made with custard, fruit filling, or chocolate, so feel free to let your culinary creativity run wild as you form the doughy discs for frying.

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