Monday, March 28, 2016

Learning to be Cultured // Hotteok

Yes, you're probably wondering why this was posted a day late, but that is top secret.*  On to the important stuff. This month Ekaterina and I decided to collaborate on our Learning to be Cultured a post about foreign food.  Ekaterina will be sharing some cool facts about Korean cuisine and I will be sharing a delicious recipe that I tried this weekend.
*Okay, okay, the reason this post was late is because I literally made this recipe right before I went to bed, so I was feeling too tired to blog about it. 
Table set up for a traditional Korean meal:
Desperately wants to travel back in time to Joseon Korea and eat food like this...
It is very interesting to learn about a different cultures cuisine, and how it's so un-American, if that makes any sense.
One of the things I found out about Korean cuisine is that about a quarter of the population of Korea eats dogs.  My first instinct when I saw this, was Ew!  After a while, though, I thought that Koreans probably don't think twice about eating dog.  It is just a natural part of their culture like Americans eat hamburgers, even though I think hamburgers are much more yummy.
I also found out this piece of information, "Eating dog meat stems from the belief that the meat itself has special powers. Much like why some cultures eat turtle meat to help prolong their life."  When looking at the situation from this point of view, I felt as if  I was in the shoes of someone from another culture, and I could understand why they would eat dog.

I also learned about Korean table manners.  Here are some interesting facts.
"During the meal, uneatable parts such as bones or fish bones are quietly discarded by wrapping them in a paper so that others won't see them. Do not put them on the table or floor."
I thought that this was interesting because in our house, when there is a bone from a piece of chicken, we'll push the bone to the side of our plate.

If you want to read more about Korean table manners, here is a link. 

I think that if I ever went to South Korea, I would immediately fail at table manners! However, that does not deter me from wanting to go there and try all the yummy foods.  Yesterday I tried this recipe from My Korean Kitchen for Hotteok 호떡, or sweet pancakes.
How to make popular Korean winter street food - Korean sweet pancakes (Hotteok). It's the ultimate sweet comfort! |
Mine did not look this good.
These pancakes show a side of Korean cuisine that I'd never expected.  I've really not tried much Korean food, but I'd always thought of it as savory with lots of sesame oil and seaweed and such.  This was completely different.  These pancakes are made with a very basic dough. (I didn't include a picture because mine didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. ahem-I-over-mixed-it-ahem) I used almond milk instead of cow's milk for a vegan alternative and it didn't seem to make a difference. Hurrah!
The filling #isuckatphotography
The filling was very simple, consisting of brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts.  Yummm...
Frying the pancakes...
Overall, the process of making the pancakes was very short, but it did take about an hour and a half for the dough to rise since it's a yeast based dough.  As I mentioned before, I overmixed the dough, so it was a bit tough, but other than that, it was quite delicious!
final product #ineedtolearnhowtouseacamera
I think the reason that I was surprised by this recipe, is because the filling reminded me of a cinnamon roll, and I'd never thought about Korean cuisine as having those kind of similarities to more 'Western' pastries.  I made my family try them, and we ate them hot with marjorine. I would definitely make them again, because yum... Speaking of which, if you did this linkup, comment with the link to your post so we can see what you tried. And even if you didn't  do this linkup and you have an absolutely amazing recipe you'd like to share, please do.  (-:

And now for next month's linkup...

We will be reading a Pulitzer Prize winning work of writing!  
We hope you can join us next month and in the coming months.  We have lots of fun ideas. Also, if you have any suggestions for what we should do on Learning to be Cultured, please, puhleez share them with us.  We love creative new ideas. (-:



  1. I did not participate in this link up, but a recipe from another culture we love are arepas or Venezuelan corn cakes from the American Test kitchen international cookbook. I would like to try Middleeaster/eastern Mediterranean foods. A family from one blog I read picked a new culture all through the alphabet to try each week/month. That could be a fun way to learn new foods.
    I think trying a handcraft (like pysanky) or particular art form (like Japanese ink painting) would be a good challenge.

    1. That sounds amazing, Livia! Do you prefer Livia or Livia Rachel BTW? If you're interested in Eastern Mediterranean food you should try Baklava. #amazing OH! What blog is this? It sounds really cool. And thanks for your suggestions, I'd love to try some of them. (-:

    2. Venezuelan corn cakes sound yummy! If you're interested in Middleeastern/eastren Mediterranean food, you might want to try hummus. I've tasted hummus during coffee hour at my church but since my mom doesn't like it, I haven't really tried making it at home. I agree with Elizabeth that you should try Baklava, but you should also take my recommendation with a grain of salt because I'm Greek, and I'm already biased toward Greek food. :-)
      A handcraft sounds like a fun challenge! Thanks for the recommendations! :-)

    3. The bloggers have not posted in a long time, and I do not know if the archives are up; it was one of Stacy McDonald's (she wrote Raising Maidens of Virtue) daughters blogs, and I do not even remember the name . . . something like, Living My Simple Renaissance.

      I have tried both those dishes and did not like them much (I am super picky, so that is another reason to try lots of new food . . . so I can find a few new things I like). I want to try shawarma.

      Also, does the Pulizter Prize have to be novels? I was supposed to read one last last year and so looked through the list, and most of the books looked scary or boring for my taste. I know drama, letters, and music also receive the awards.

    4. It doesn't have to be a novel. In fact, I found a drama that I'd love to read. (-:

  2. I love trying foods from other cultures. And the great thing I've found is that when you meet someone from a new culture and can remember a special item from their cuisine to discuss with them BOOM you've made insta friends ; )

    1. Same! What would life be like without new foods to try? Ooh, that's cool. It's always interesting to learn more about a culture from a firsthand account. (-:

    2. I feel like when I try another culture's food I am taking a peek into a different life style.

      I think it's easy to make friends when talking about food because people bond over their culture's food, so when they meet someone else who knows about their culture's cuisine, it is easy to make friends. For example, I am Greek, and I have grown up with Greek food. So whenever I meet someone who has eaten Greek food, I kind of instantly click with them. :-)


Please share your thoughts with me! I LOVE to connect with my readers, and I promise I don't bite.

xoxo Lizzy

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