Pan-fried sweet rice cakes with edible flowers

Hwajeon 화전

You probably know that the recipes on my website are still used in my everyday cooking. This time I’m making hwajeon, disc-shaped pan-cooked rice cake with flowers on top. Whenever I crave some chewy rice cakes, this is my go-to recipe because it’s so easy and fast to make. The rice cakes are sweet and chewy with a subtle flower aroma.

I found some edible purple clover flowers and yellow gladiolus petals at the Union Square Greenmarket here in New York City the other day. The lady selling these packaged edible flowers said they were all well taken care of by her. She said, “you don’t have to wash them before using them.” I immediately felt like making hwajeon!

Many of my readers are newer and don’t even know that I posted a recipe for hwajeon almost a decade ago, so I wanted to share this recipe again and revitalize it. The only difference between my old recipe and this one is that I drizzle honey on top of instead of syrup. By the way, if you don’t want to use honey, you can make your own syrup too. Just put ¼ cup water and ¼ cup white sugar into a sauce pan and cook for a few minutes over medium heat, without stirring. Tilt the pan to mix the sugar and water when it starts bubbling. Then remove from the heat, cool it down, and you can drizzle it over your hwajeon right before you serve it.

In Korea hwajeon were often made with edible azalea flowers which bloom wild in the mountains in springtime. Groups of women used to get together for picnics at that time, and bring a heavy pan and all the ingredients they needed to make hwajeon. They’d pick the azaleas, and use the petals to pan-fry rice cakes right there in the mountains! That kind of spring picnic was called a Hwajeon-nori, on March 3rd by the lunar calendar. 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 beautiful mountains, in the fresh springtime breeze after a long winter and singing, dancing and releasing their stress.

Traditionally, hwajeon was also made with other seasonal edible flowers outside of springtime such as roses, chrysanthemums, cock’s comb, and pomegranate flowers.
No matter the season, these rice cakes put anyone in a good mood!

Enjoy the recipe!화전 (Korean pan-cooked rice cake with flowers)

Ingredients

Directions

Make the dough and shape the rice cakes

  1. Combine glutinous rice flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Add the hot water a little by little and mix well with a wooden spoon (or rice scoop) until the dough has cooled enough that you can knead it by hand.
  3. Knead the dough until it’s smooth for about 1 to 2 minutes, then divide it into 10 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 and put them on a large platter or on the cutting board.making rice cake

Pan-fry

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

Serve

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

hwajeon

Hwajeon made with snow pea blossoms from my old video

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84 Comments:

  1. 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…

  2. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes!

  3. Kenneth Moore& has 8 comments

    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

  4. 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 joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      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..

  5. natash91& has 2 comments

    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!~~

  6. 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

  7. 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 :)

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

  9. Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands joined 2/09 & has 101 comments

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

  10. 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!!!!

  11. 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!!

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

  13. Sylvia joined 9/08 & has 78 comments

    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 joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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

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