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!





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


  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



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




  1. tirzz& has 1 comment

    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


    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!


  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 12,051 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 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 joined 8/08 & has 12,051 comments

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

      • natash91& has 2 comments

        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 joined 8/08 & has 12,051 comments

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

  6. Anna& has 68 comments

    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?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,051 comments

      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.

  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
    Can You show how to make hangwa

  9. Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands joined 2/09 & has 102 comments

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

  10. Jae Yoon& has 1 comment

    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. hyeyoon& has 1 comment

    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. Linda& has 1 comment

    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 12,051 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. Jon& has 5 comments

    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.



  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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