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.

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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

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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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83 Comments:

  1. tsirhcevoli USA joined 3/10 & has 24 comments

    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 joined 8/08 & has 11,465 comments

      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. : )

  2. Allingoodfood42 joined 3/10 & has 1 comment

    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

  3. bonafido joined 2/10 & has 5 comments

    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!

  4. lee& has 2,255 comments

    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 :/

  5. yoona kim& has 1 comment

    ilove it.. i lonekorean cooking…

  6. :3& has 2,255 comments

    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?

  7. Martha& has 5 comments

    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.

  8. veloma& has 1 comment

    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!!!!

  9. Tabeea& has 4 comments

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

  10. MeiMei& has 2,255 comments

    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.

  11. sean& has 2 comments

    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.

  12. GregK& has 2,255 comments

    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?

  13. Girlieannyen& has 7 comments

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

  14. Irene& has 1 comment

    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 joined 8/08 & has 11,465 comments

      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.

  15. jessica& has 2 comments

    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 joined 8/08 & has 11,465 comments

      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.

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