Spring is here!
Traditionally, Koreans make Hwajeon in spring. Hwajeon is a small rice cake(tteok) adorned with edible flower petals including azalea and chrysanthemums.
The origins of these delicacies go all the way back to the Koryo Dynasty. Hwajeon was commonly eaten at a traditional custom called hwajeonnori meaning flower rice-cake play.
In lunar calendar, March 3rd marks the start of spring and is called Samjitnal. Every March in the lunar calendar, azaleas blooming, women and children went out to pluck azaleas or other edible flowers. They also carried all ingredients and a frying pan to make it outside.
½ cup sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour)
Punch of salt
¼ cup hot boiling water
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
*Note: It’s important to be sure that a flower is in fact edible before eating it.
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 3.cooled enough that you can knead it by hand.
4.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.
5.Press each rice cake ball into a disc about 2½ inches (6 to 7 cm) in diameter.
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.
5.Drizzle the syrup on top of the rice cakes.
Put sugar and water in a small sauce pot. Cook over low heat and simmer for 5 minutes
Make sure it gets well combined in the pot by swirling the pot every now and then. But never stir it with a spoon.
Remove from the heat and cool down. Set aside.