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!

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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

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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. 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 12,049 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. 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. 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. 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. ilove it.. i lonekorean cooking…

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

  10. 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. 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. 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. 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!

  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 12,049 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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