Recipes

Pan-Fried Sweet Rice Cakes with Edible Flowers

Hwajeon 화전

Hwajeon is a light, fluffy rice cake that makes a great dessert or snack. With a flower on top it’s almost too beautiful to eat!

Whenever I find beautiful edible flowers in the farmer’s market, I immediately feel like making hwajeon. This is what happened to me in Union Square Market here in Manhattan recently, and this video is a result! I orginally filmed a video for hwajeon in 2009, but that video is blocked in some countries because of the background music I used, so this is a remake.

In Korea hwajeon are often made with edible azalea flowers which bloom wild in the mountains in springtime. People used to go out for a picnic in the early spring, bringing a heavy pan and some ingredients. They would pick the azaleas or any other edible flowers they could find, and then make and pan-fry rice cakes right there in the mountains!

I can imagine how much fun that must have been, and what a great mood everyone must have been in, eating these rice cakes in the mountains, in the fresh springtime breeze after a long winter. No matter the season, these rice cakes put anyone in a good mood! Enjoy the recipe!

hwajeon

Ingredients:

Directions:

Make syrup:

  1. Put sugar and water in a small sauce pot. Cook over very low heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Don’t stir it with a spoon, just make sure it gets well combined in the pot by swirling the pot every now and then.
  2. Remove from the heat and cool down. Set aside.

hwajeon syrup

Make rice cakes:

  1. Combine sweet rice flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Add ¼ cup hot water and mix well with a wooden spoon until the dough has cooled enough that you can knead it by hand.
  3. Knead the dough until it’s smooth, then divide it into 5 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Keep them covered with a piece of plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.
  4. Press each rice cake ball into a disc about 2½ inches (6 to 7 cm) in diameter.

hwajeon dough

hwajeon dough

Pan-fry:

  1. Heat up a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, swirling the pan to coat the surface. Once it’s heated up, turn the heat down very low. The key to beautiful hwajeon is to keep them white by pan-frying over low heat.
  2. Put the rice cakes on the pan and cook them for a few minutes. When the bottoms are slightly crispy turn them over and flatten them out with a spatula. Cook a few more minutes.
  3. Place edible flowers on the top of each rice cake, then flip them over and press them down for 1 or 2 seconds so that the flower gets slightly cooked and sticks to the cake.
  4. Cook each one and put them on a serving plate.

hwajeon ricecake

hwajeon flowers

hwajeon_pancake

Serve:

  1. Drizzle the syrup on top of the rice cakes.
  2. Serve with tea as a dessert or snack.

hwajeon

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80 Comments:

  1. SUMIRA LOVE TO EAT malaysia My profile page joined 9/13
    Posted September 23rd, 2013 at 2:56 am | # |

    the flower is used in a delicacy called “NASI KERABU’ in malaysia, it provides natural blue color to the rice , wow…it is also in korean dish,,,daebak

  2. london vouchers ha noi My profile page joined 9/13
    Posted September 17th, 2013 at 3:18 am | # |

    It looks great. Thank you for sharing

  3. maangchisyummyfood Vancouver My profile page joined 8/13
    Posted August 29th, 2013 at 10:58 pm | # |

    I can’t wait to try this! It looks great.

  4. hyde United States My profile page joined 2/12
    Posted February 27th, 2012 at 9:31 am | # |

    Also, is there a way that I could prepare the dough ahead of time? I want to take this to my friend’s house for our Korean cooking party, but I don’t want to take up too much time in her kitchen.. Hahaha

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 27th, 2012 at 10:38 am | # |

      oh you can prepare the dough before going to your friend’s house. The dough will be ok up to a few hours but keep it in a plastic bag so that it won’t dry out. Happy cooking!

  5. hyde United States My profile page joined 2/12
    Posted February 27th, 2012 at 9:29 am | # |

    What kind of syrup do you put on these? Just maple syrup?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 27th, 2012 at 10:36 am | # |

      Yes, you can use maple syrup or honey. Check out the step 6 where I wrote how to make syrup. Make syrup:
      “Place ¼ cup of sugar and ¼ cup of water in a small pot. Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, then remove from the heat.”

  6. Setsuna France My profile page joined 12/11
    Posted December 23rd, 2011 at 5:41 am | # |

    Dear Maangchi,

    I’m trying to make this recipe to offer as a dessert to my guests for Christmas. I’ve used glutinous rice flour in the past but I can’t find it anywhere in this country (they don’t have sweet rice flour either). The only thing I was able to find is normal rice flour in an organic store (we don’t have any Asian stores here). Can I use normal rice flour for this recipe? If yes, do I need to change the proportions of water?

    Thanks in advance.

    Laura

    • stefafra Norwich UK My profile page joined 2/12
      Posted February 24th, 2012 at 4:25 pm | # |

      Try in a Vietnamese shop, that’s where I bought my flour (in Switzerland)….If you live close to a medium big city it should be possible to find it.

  7. yumikujo indonesia My profile page joined 1/11
    Posted January 27th, 2011 at 12:20 pm | # |

    dear maangchi
    i tried make it last time..but it didnt turn out good.. i dont know whats wrong..i’m followed your recipe one by one..i’m even watched your video while making it..it looked greasy and undercooked … but I just use a little oil, very little. I fried long enough. in your video it look so easy and simple. it seems you dont need a long time to fry it. i really have no idea whats wrong with it?
    nb: i use glutinous rice flour (and sorry, my english is bad)

  8. mel1116 malaysia My profile page joined 4/10
    Posted December 16th, 2010 at 2:39 am | # |

    hi Maangchi is the sweet rice flour same as the sweet rice flour we use for Kimchi??

  9. kimchi17 My profile page joined 12/10
    Posted December 1st, 2010 at 8:03 am | # |

    we need to make this for a school project. This dish will be served at 1 in the afternoon. So, if we make it one or two days before, will it last?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 16th, 2010 at 8:09 am | # |

      Sorry about the late reply. “if we make it one or two days before, will it last?” no, you will have to make it right before serving.

  10. thegooby1 TX My profile page joined 10/10
    Posted October 4th, 2010 at 2:25 am | # |

    Dear Maangchi I need help!! My sweet rice flour was infested with bugs and I had just bought it. Should I try my chances and go buy another package. Only two stores in my city sell it. I don’t know what I would do if the package at the second store would have bugs too. I’m not squeamish, I have rinsed the bugs off my rice and cooked it but there were too many little critters in this flour. I tried to sift it but some of the bugs were too small and they would get through the holes. Please let me know what you think. I really want to make some sweet flower pancakes and kimchee! :Z

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted October 4th, 2010 at 10:45 am | # |

      “there were too many little critters in this flour”
      oh, no, throw it away please! eww! Sweet rice flour is called glutinous rice flour too. Check your local grocery store or any Asian grocery store.

  11. Eden India My profile page joined 8/10
    Posted August 22nd, 2010 at 7:38 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    Can I use sticky rice powder? Its so difficult to get Korean ingredients in India :-( this looks so beautiful and back home, these flowers grow in our backyard.

  12. CrazyJen My profile page joined 5/10
    Posted May 25th, 2010 at 10:00 pm | # |

    Hi maangchi!

    I’m a big fan of your recipes. My daughter is having world cultures day at her school, and she picked Korea because I am from there! I don’t know much about Korea, because I was adopted into an American home, so I came to you to look for a good recipe. She would make this in the morning, and then bring it to school, and so I was wondering if this would last for about 4 hours? Would it be best to put the syrup on in the morning, or wait till right before?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 26th, 2010 at 9:42 am | # |

      yes, 4 hours is ok. Sorry about the late reply. How did her presentation go? Drizzle syrup over the rice cake right after making it.

  13. tsirhcevoli USA My profile page joined 3/10
    Posted March 23rd, 2010 at 1:10 pm | # |

    Yum, your food looks delicious! I am going to make this soon! This looks fun to make (What can I use instead of rose petals and flowers? It’s fine If you don’t have anything to use but flowers)

    tsirhcevoli

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 26th, 2010 at 9:45 am | # |

      yeah, you can skip edible flowers in this recipe. It will still be tasty, but the name should be changed, right? It’s called “pan- fried sweet rice pancake” instead of flower pancake. : )

  14. Allingoodfood42 My profile page joined 3/10
    Posted March 18th, 2010 at 6:42 am | # |

    Hi this is one of my favorite recipes of yours. I have learned a lot from you about Korean cooking and I want to say thank you. I have followed you YouTube channel as well as your blog here. Your tutorial make learning how to Korean dishes so easy.

    As a thank you I have passed on to you the Sunshine Award for all the inspiration you have given me in my own exploration of food.

    Please stop by this link and pick up your award. http://allingoodfood42.blogspot.com/2010/03/letting-sunshine-in.html

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted March 18th, 2010 at 10:03 am | # |

      Thank you very much for your interest in my website! I’m happy to be chosen as one of your favorite food bloggers. Great!

  15. bonafido My profile page joined 2/10
    Posted February 6th, 2010 at 9:06 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi!
    I tried making these and they did come out ok – thank you very much! I have a couple of questions though – the dough was extremely sticky and was very difficult to knead. Is there a trick to it? Also, can you add any flavor to the dough, such as vanilla, to make it more flavorful? Thanks!!! I don’t want to make it any less beautiful by adding color, because the white with the flowers looks so pretty!

  16. lee
    Posted December 22nd, 2009 at 2:18 am | # |

    hey Maangchi, thanks for sharing!!
    but i was wondering if there is anything that i can replace the edible flowers with? cause i cant seem to find edible flowers in my area :/

    • lee
      Posted December 22nd, 2009 at 2:46 am | # |

      ohhh, ignore my question!
      i just watch the video and you can use dried rose tea!

  17. yoona kim
    Posted December 5th, 2009 at 2:14 am | # |

    ilove it.. i lonekorean cooking…

  18. :3
    Posted December 4th, 2009 at 12:46 am | # |

    hi maangchi!!! im yur number one fan!! XD. when i made this, my hands startes to get all itchy and irritaed when i kneaded the rice flour. do u know why?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 8th, 2009 at 10:31 am | # |

      Strange! I don’t know the answer! Sweet rice flour dough is not harmful. : ) Maybe your hand is not accustomed to dealing with kneading?

  19. Martha
    Posted November 25th, 2009 at 1:46 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Do you know how to make bungeoppang (fish-shaped pastry)? I tasted some in S.Korea and they taste wonderful. Looking forward to this recipe.

    regards,
    Martha from Hoju.

  20. veloma
    Posted October 27th, 2009 at 1:44 pm | # |

    I love your recipes and so does my husband!!!I made hwajeon as a side dish for his birthday breakfast. Thank you so much for all the help!!!!

  21. Tabeea
    Posted October 19th, 2009 at 1:23 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi !!! I have a question… can i use normal flower aswell?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted October 27th, 2009 at 6:15 pm | # |

      What do you mean normal flower? Flowers from flower shop? No, no, no! never use it. You should use edible flowers.

  22. MeiMei
    Posted September 25th, 2009 at 10:06 am | # |

    Hi,

    I am using your recipe for my project about Korean Food. I am studying to become Nutrition.

    I was wondering for the flower..where I can able to buy flower that is related to fall flower.

    Can anyone give me a good suggestion where I can get those flower?

    Thanks.

    Just let you know I live in New York.

  23. sean
    Posted August 24th, 2009 at 7:47 pm | # |

    these look beautiful. I can’t wait to make them!! How do they taste?!?!? I love this site!! I have to say my friend suggested I check this site out a month ago and I just got around to it a week ago. It is great! He told me about it on mywhipit.com, a food lovers site, I happened to stumble upon. check it out!! i never would have found this site without it.

  24. GregK
    Posted August 22nd, 2009 at 8:41 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    I was wondering…would it be possible to use this rice cake for hotteok? Usually hotteok recipes ask for yeast and 3 hours for the dough to rise; using the rice flour seems like it would be a lot faster and more chewy. Maybe?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted August 22nd, 2009 at 10:17 pm | # |

      uh oh! Hotteok! : ) No, plain flour is used for hotteok. Hotteok recipe will be posted later.

  25. Girlieannyen
    Posted July 11th, 2009 at 11:33 am | # |

    I make this beautiful pancake last week.. and everyone love it!

  26. Irene
    Posted July 7th, 2009 at 6:54 pm | # |

    hey maangchi! i just love your videos. i am looking forward to making these! i was wondering, is there an alternative to the syrup that you made? perhaps something salty? i want to make this for my dad but he doesn’t really like sweet things. thanks for the recipe! it looks much easier than i thought!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted July 8th, 2009 at 6:30 am | # |

      How about sesame seeds dipping sauce? Blend 1 tbs mayonnaise, 1 tbs soy sauce, and 1 tbs sesame seeds powder. If he doesn’t like mayonnaise, just use soy sauce.

  27. jessica
    Posted July 5th, 2009 at 7:26 am | # |

    hi maangchi,
    these are so beautiful! i’m in korea teaching engish right now and i HAVE to make some for the teachers i work with at school!
    i was wondering what you call edible flowers in korean so i know what to ask for. i think they might be hard to find, for i have not seen them here in pohang before.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted July 5th, 2009 at 8:32 am | # |

      The teachers will be very impressed with your hwajeon!
      Be sure to let me know how it turns out and some stories about their reaction! : )
      Anyway, edible flowers can be translated in 2 ways
      1. 식용 꽃 (pronounced “shik yong kkot”)
      2. 먹을수 있는 꽃 (pronounced “meogeul soo eet neun kkot”

      Show them the Korean words, then they may find the ingredients for you.
      If it’s difficult for you to find edible flowers, you can replace fresh edible flowers with Korean dates (jujube), dried persimmon, or any beautiful color vegetables.

      Good luck with making delicious hwajeon. Don’t forget to put some syrup on top before serving it.

  28. tirzz
    Posted July 5th, 2009 at 1:31 am | # |

    I heard from my friend this is good with soy sauce.. but dunno and not sure if it was sweet soy sauce or the salty one hmm…

  29. Iris
    Posted June 3rd, 2009 at 6:51 pm | # |

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes!

  30. Kenneth Moore
    Posted May 9th, 2009 at 9:43 pm | # |

    Maangchi!

    I love your podcast and website! I have been watching you cook for a few months, but this is the first recipe I tried myself. I didn’t make the hwajeon very well, but they weren’t too bad, and they looked beautiful!

    It will definitely be my new dish for parties, once my nasturtium starts flowering!

    If you want, see how my attempt turned out.

    Keep up the yummy work!

    Kent

  31. TF
    Posted May 7th, 2009 at 10:31 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!!
    I just wanted to say that everytime i watch your videos I want to try it all. I never really had any cravings for Asian foods before, but i really think that when you prepare them they look great! Thanks for the videos and please make more!!!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 7th, 2009 at 7:50 pm | # |

      I would like to encourage you to cook some dishes! Pick one of your favorite dishes and make it. When you make one dish successfuly, it will be easier for you to make the second and third dishes..

  32. natash91
    Posted May 7th, 2009 at 2:44 am | # |

    waahh..so pretty~~! <33 i’m gonna try to make this for international night in my college next week ^.^ hopefully it will taste good like yours..hehe.. thanks a lot for the recipe!~~

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 7th, 2009 at 6:00 am | # |

      I’m sure your hwajeon will get lots of attention at the party. Good luck! : )

      • natash91
        Posted May 21st, 2009 at 10:58 pm | # |

        Yeah, they did get lots of attention! ^^ Everyone was asking how did I made them, so I gave them your Web site address :)

        Unnie! I just realized that you subscribed to my channel on Youtube! :D *It’s MyLove4YunJae4YooSu2, fyi..* Thank you! ^^ hehe..

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 21st, 2009 at 11:24 pm | # |

      Thank you for letting me know about your successful hwajeon making! Wonderful!

  33. Anna
    Posted May 4th, 2009 at 2:06 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    Wondering how soon after making this you should serve it? Can I make this before dinner and serve it for dessert? Will it still taste good?
    Thanks,
    Anna

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 4th, 2009 at 4:50 pm | # |

      Yes, you can make it up to 4-5 hours in advance before serving. The taste will be good! : )Don’t put it in the refrigerator because rice cake gets hard when it is cold.

      • ntseng
        Posted December 8th, 2009 at 6:53 am | # |

        Hi Maangchi,

        When the Rice Pancake it fully cooked,, and it becomes really hard like a rock like an hour later.. I don’t understand how come?

        Did I do something wrong?

        Nancy

        • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
          Posted December 8th, 2009 at 10:22 am | # |

          Maybe you cooked it too long! Did you make syrup to put it on top of hwajeon? When you pour some syrup, it won’t get hard easily.

  34. Ross
    Posted April 23rd, 2009 at 8:03 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Could you please make a video on how to cut properly with a knife. I’ve watched your videos and you are quite skillful. I tried to cut quickly but without knowing the proper move – speed cannot come. Speed comes from the right technique. So please show us how you do it step-by-step. Otherwise, it’s taking way too long to cut all vegetables :)
    I would like to learn to cut pali-pali like you :)

  35. Nishu
    Posted April 23rd, 2009 at 4:35 am | # |

    Exetremely Easy And Very Delecious
    Thanks
    Can You show how to make hangwa

  36. Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands My profile page I'm a fan! joined 2/09
    Posted April 21st, 2009 at 3:36 am | # |

    Hi Maagchi,
    This looks good! I will give this a try very soon.

  37. Jae Yoon
    Posted April 20th, 2009 at 10:53 pm | # |

    Hi!!! I love your videos! I can’t eat much Korean food, but when I watch these videos, it makes me happy… haha well technically it makes me want to eat Korean food, but oh well! haha! I never tried 화전 before… what does it taste like? Can you actually taste flowers??? I am really curious! Perhaps, I should try one, when I go to Korea this summer!!!!

  38. hyeyoon
    Posted April 20th, 2009 at 10:40 pm | # |

    Thank you so much! I wanted to make something special for my mom and grandmother for Mother’s Day! This will make a great gift!!

  39. Linda
    Posted April 20th, 2009 at 10:30 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I love your videos very much! :)

  40. Sylvia My profile page I'm a fan! joined 9/08
    Posted April 20th, 2009 at 7:38 pm | # |

    I can’t wait to try this.
    They are so beautiful.
    My husband took me to 32nd street yesterday.
    We went to a BBQ restaurant with real wood coals.
    So delicious. After we ate we went to H-Mart and I was keeping my eyes open in case you were shopping.
    :)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 20th, 2009 at 8:07 pm | # |

      haha, I went there Saturday afternoon and met a couple who recognized me in the store!
      The husband said, “uh..are you maangchi?”
      I said, “yes, I am!”. He said, “my wife is always making some delicious Korean dishes by following your recipes! My wife said you must be maangchi!” The wife came to me and I gave her a big hug. They said they were going to make kimchijjigae for dinner that eveining. Say hello to me if you happen to see me on the streets!

  41. Jon
    Posted April 20th, 2009 at 7:07 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    I was listening to the Four Seasons today and then coincidentally you had the same music for your video. These look lovely and I will definitely try them when I get home.

    Thanks!

    Jon.

  42. Anonymous
    Posted April 20th, 2009 at 6:57 pm | # |

    What a perfect surprise! How fitting for spring :D I also loved the music choice… I couldn’t help but giggle when I heard it and realized what the recipe was! I must make these soon… anything covered in syrup must be delicious :P

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 20th, 2009 at 7:20 pm | # |

      Thank you very much! I’m sure it will be good if you follow the recipe tightly. Good luck with making your hwajeon!


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