Cheese hotteok is a perfect comfort food recipe. This recipe puts a spin on the popular Korean street food by filling it with delicious mozzarella cheese. Easy to make, and easier to eat! This is perfect as a warm pan-fried snack.
I first tried Korean hotteok at a Korean restaurant in Toronto. While speaking to the restaurant owner about hotteok, he mentioned that his son likes to play with the hotteok recipe, and that he’s always experimenting with different versions at home. I immediately turned to his son, and asked what he recommended, and he replied “…lots of cheese”. And thus this cheese hotteok recipe was born.
What is hotteok
Hotteok (호떡, sometimes also called hoeddeok) is a popular Korean street food; it’s essentially a pancake filled with brown sugar, honey, and peanuts (cinnamon and peanut is another popular filling). It’s fried so that it’s crispy on the outside but still gooey on the inside. In Korea, hotteok tends to be more associated with winter as it’s a perfect comfort food.
Hotteok originates from China and the recipe was brought over to Korea during the 19th Century. The Chinese referred to it as tang bing, however the Korean’s called it hotteok, which translates to “Barbarian’s rice cake”!
What is cheese hotteok
This cheese hotteok is a twist on traditionally sweet hotteok recipes. Instead of filling the Korean pancake with brown sugar, honey and peanuts, it opts for mozzarella cheese. This savory twist is a perfect for when you want something warm and comforting.
- Milk, warm (skim milk is fine, but whole milk is preferred)
- Instant yeast
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated white sugar
- Glutinous rice flour
- Mozzarella cheese, grated
- Vegetable oil
How to make cheese hotteok
In a small bowl, combine the warm milk, instant yeast, and sugar. Allow the mixture to sit for five minutes to give the sugar time to dissolve, and the yeast time to activate. In a separate large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Then, pour the milk and yeast mixture into the dry ingredients bowl. Stir it all together until a smooth dough forms. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least one and a half hours, or until it has tripled in size.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil.
You can begin preparing your cheesy hotteok dough while the oil is heating. Start by lightly greasing your hands (this is so the dough doesn’t stick to them, you can use a touch of vegetable oil for this). Grab a handful of dough and flatten it out in your palm (it ends up being about three quarters of a cup of dough when I grab it). Place two tablespoons of the grated mozzarella cheese into the center of the flattened dough. Fold the edges together, around the cheesy center, and seal the dough securely. Repeat with the remaining dough. (I managed to get five hotteoks with this batch, but your mileage may vary depending on how much dough you use for each one.)
Add the uncooked hotteok to the hot pan and gently flatten it. Cook for approximately one minute, or until the hotteok is a golden brown. Flip the hotteok and gently press down again to flatten a bit more. Cook for another minute, or until it’s golden brown on both sides.
Let the cooked hotteoks rest on some paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Serve while hot, enjoy these cheesy potato pancakes!
You want to use milk warm enough to activate the yeast, but not milk that is so hot that it may kill the yeast!
- Once formed, the dough should be a little sticky and soft to the touch. If you find that it’s too dry, add a little more milk. If it’s too wet, you can add a little flour. (Generally, this shouldn’t be an issue, but things like the humidity of your kitchen can impact the moisture levels of your dough.)
- Make sure to let the dough rest properly. This gives the yeast time to activate, and the dough time to rise. It also means you’ll get that crispy on the outside, soft on the inside texture that you want from hotteok.
- Make sure to seal the dough properly before frying it. A less secure seal may come undone when you go to flatten the hotteok in the pan…cleaning cheese from a saucepan is not fun. On that same note, be gentle flattening the dough. Even the best seal can come undone when squashed too hard!
Frying the hotteok
There’s always a temptation to cook hotteok faster with high heat (especially if you’ve seen this done by street vendors and professional chefs). I recommend maintaining a medium heat so that the cooking oil doesn’t get too hot. If the heat is too high, the outside of the hotteok may end up burning before the cheese on the inside has a chance to melt.
Maintain a medium heat while cooking. If the heat is too high, the hotteok can burn before the cheese has a chance to melt.
Hotteok is best served hot, as the name suggests. The cheeseinside will be gooey and melted.
If there are leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in a pan over low heat or microwave it before serving.
Change up the cheese
If mozzarella isn’t your thing, this recipe can be made with various different cheeses. Simply substitute on a one-for-one basis. I’d recommend trying brie, or Monterey Jack as well – the brie is melty like mozzarella but the Monterey Jack carries a bit more of its own flavor.
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Luckily, this recipe doesn’t require any specialized equipment. A good nonstick frying pan is all you need.
Cheese hotteok have a lot of ways they can be served:
Keep it simple. The easiest option is to serve this savory hotteok by itself.
Dips for the win. A simple tomato sauce or a garlic dip is a great way to add more flavor to these cheesy Korean pancakes.
Garnish. You can add a simple garnish to these based on your taste. I’d suggest added finely chopped green onion. Alternatively, just a touch of black pepper creates a nice contrasting flavor with the mozzarella cheese.
If you manage to have leftovers, these cheese hotteok can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.
That’s everything you need to know to make this savory version of Korean sweet pancakes. What I enjoy most about this cheesy hotteok recipe is that it’s not harder to make than the original, but completely changes up the taste and feeling of the dish. What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.Print