I love butter and sugar.

Archive for the ‘Pancakes’ Category

Fresh blueberry buttermilk pancakes

I have always loved breakfast foods — the classic American ones that include omelettes and pancakes, ethnic morning nourishments like jook (rice porridge) and freshly pressed soybean milk, and the rich, decadent ones, like a simple cafe au lait and un pain au chocolat. As the first meal of the day, breakfast should be a cherished meal, one that makes you think, “Mmm, it’s great to be alive and start the day!” It sounds corny, but I really believe it.

Pancake ingredients

Too often people succumb to forgetting about breakfast, insisting that they don’t need to eat before they rush out the door, or just grabbing a cereal bar (I hate these!) or a banana (well, this is better since it’s a fruit). I’m not going to lie; most times when I haven’t had enough sleep and am in a hurry to get to work, I just eat a bowl of Kashi cereal, a banana, and leave the apartment. Why would I set aside 45 minutes of precious sleep in the morning to prepare steel-cut oats?

Incorporating dry ingredients with wet ingredients

But then I stumbled upon an article in a recent issue of Gourmet magazine that raved about a cookbook that was all about the first meal of the day. In The Breakfast Book, Marion Cunningham, in her own, tantalizing way, makes a case for breakfast and why we shouldn’t forgo the most important meal of the day. She includes a large array of recipes, including quick breads and yeast breads, custards and puddings (yes, for breakfast!), and of course, the beloved pancakes.

Frozen wild Boreal blueberries

I have tried about seven different pancake recipes from this book, and I will say now that all of them were delicious and incredibly simple. Contrary to popular belief, preparing your own pancake batter is very simple and easy, and if you prepare the batter the night before, which I’d recommend, it would even be easier than using a mix. And the taste of a pancake from a mix could never be compared to that made from scratch, but that should go without saying (no offense to those of you who are IHOP fans).

Bubbly on the top means ready for flipping

Of all of the pancake recipes I tried from the book, I must say that my favorite is not terribly unique or exotic – they’re the classic buttermilk pancakes. I guess some things are classic for a reason; they have just the right tang from the sour buttermilk and are soft, fluffy, and perfect with pure maple syrup. Cunningham’s recipe doesn’t use any sugar, but I like to add about two teaspoons for a very subtle sweetness. Blueberries make these pancakes even better; I use the frozen wild Boreal blueberries from Trader Joe’s since fresh blueberries are not in season right now. The easiest way to add berries to the pancakes is to add them as the first side of the pancake is being cooked. Once you see bubbles forming on the pancake tops, lightly sprinkle the blueberries evenly on top.

Adding the blueberries

Another tip for the pancakes: to ensure a light and fluffy texture, do not over-mix the batter. You want to mix the wet and the dry ingredients until just incorporated. If you see lumps, you can jump up and down in giggly glee because your pancake batter is good to go. This pancake recipe is perfect for making ahead of time — it keeps in the refrigerator for days.

pancakes - almost ready for eating

Buttermilk Pancakes with Blueberries
Adapted from Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book
Yields about 9 pancakes

•    1 cup buttermilk
•    1 egg, room temperature
•    3 tablespoons melted butter, slightly cooled
•    3/4 cup all-purpose flour (or 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour)
•    1/2 teaspoon salt
•    1 teaspoon baking soda
•    2 teaspoons sugar
•    1/2 cup blueberries

Place the buttermilk, egg, and melted butter into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir briskly until the mixture is smooth and blended.

Stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar into the buttermilk mixture only until the dry ingredients are moistened — remember to leave lumps, and do not over-mix.

Grease the skillet lightly with butter and set to medium heat. Spoon out about 2 generous tablespoons per pancake. After about 1-2 minutes, you will see bubbles beginning to form on the pancake tops. Gently sprinkle blueberries on top of the pancakes and push down lightly. Then gently flip over with a spatula and cook the other side for about 1-2 minutes.

Serve with pure maple syrup and additional blueberries.

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Hoddeuk Homemade

I think my fascination with Korean food began after I moved from the Bay Area to the East Coast for college. At the time my school, a private college in the New England area, ranked number 1 in student diversity in the region. Among that diversity was a very visible Korean student body, from South Korea as well as throughout the States. On the Foodies e-conference that we could access online, many students talked about the Korean markets and restaurants in the area. All this Korean food talk made me think, “I want!”

Hotteok dough rising
So I began my research on Korean cuisine — popular plates to order, everyday preparations, special occasion dishes, snacks, street eats, even down to proper Korean table manners (when I get into something, I really get into it). I had a fair share of Korean barbeque nights, got excited every time I went to a different Korean restaurant and had a new variety of ban chan (like appetizers at the beginning of a Korean meal), and even got as far as rolling and making my own kimbap (a Korean version of sushi usually eaten for lunch or prepared for picnics).

Hotteok dough balls to be filled

But among all of the dishes and snacks that really peaked my interest was a sweet Korean pancake called hotteok (pronounced “ho-duck”). I’d heard from college classmates and through food talk in the blogosphere that hotteok is a popular South Korean street snack, especially on cold winter nights. The pancakes are made of a mixture of all-purpose flour and glutinous rice flour with a rising agent, and then they’re filled with a brown sugar nut mixture. Once heated on a pan, they are golden brown, firm and chewy on the outside, dripping with molten brown sugar goo on the inside.

Hotteok being filled with cinnamon sugar nut mixture

I tried finding them at a nearby Korean bakery when I’d heard of them, but the one I bought definitely wasn’t hot or fresh; hotteok is meant to be eaten HOT (the “ho” part of the name comes from the “ho!” sound that people make when their mouths are being scalded by the goo oozing out after taking their initial bite). So I figured the only way to get one was to make it myself. I had one before, though it wasn’t fresh, so I had an approximate idea of what it should taste like.

All the recipes I found in cookbooks and online were flawed in that they used all all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour would never be able to replicate the distinct chewiness that I knew hotteok had to have. Chewing a hotteok can be likened to chewing half a pancake (soft and light) and half a piece of Japanese mochi (chewy and slightly sticky from the pounded rice).

Hotteok being pan fried

So I played with the proportions of the all-purpose flour and the glutinous rice flour, and decided that three parts all-purpose to two parts glutinous rice flour yielded the perfect balance of softness to chewiness. If you use too much all-purpose flour, the pancake won’t be chewy enough; if you use too much glutinous rice flour, eating the hotteok will be more like eating sticky rice than a pancake. In this pancake, balance is key.

Peanuts or walnuts are used as the nut filling for hotteok on the street in South Korea, but I have a personal preference for walnuts. They should be eaten as soon as they are taken off the griddle or frying pan, as this is when they taste the best and how they are usually eaten.

Hoddeuk frying on pan

Hotteok 호떡 – Sweet Korean Pancakes
Yields 6 pancakes

Pancake:

  • 3 teaspoons lukewarm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry-active yeast
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Butter or canola oil

Filling:

  • Scant 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Prepare the rising mixture by combining the water, sugar, and yeast in a medium sized mixing bowl. Allow it to sit and get bubbly for 10 minutes. Then add in the milk, all-purpose and glutinous rice flour, and salt. Mix well, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and  allow the dough to rise for about 3 hours.

Once the dough has about doubled in size, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts in a separate bowl. Butter a large frying pan and set it to medium heat.

After greasing your hands, take out the dough and knead it for one minute. Then separate the dough into six equal sized balls (they should be just slightly smaller than the size of your palm). Take one ball and flatten it with your hands, then place a generous spoonful of the cinnamon-sugar-nut mixture in the middle; pull the dough together to seal it and make a ball. Repeat with remaining five dough balls.

Place as many as can comfortably fit into the frying pan. Press them down with a greased spatula. After about 3-4 minutes, check the underside to see how done they are. When both sides are a golden brown shade and the cinnamon-sugar filling is almost leaking out, you will know they are done.

Serve hot as a snack or dessert with green or barley tea.


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  • itsgrant: I want to goooo! Me next vacation, hopefully
  • Jesslyn: Thank you so much for posting this! My husband (who spent several years in Korea) and I have been searching for a good recipe that will produce Ho Duc
  • Didi: I have been searching everywhere for a recipe for this dish and this was spot on!! Thanks for making me and my boyfriend VERY happy :)

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