The Shortcut Padma Lakshmi Uses To Make Lunar New Year Hotteok

To celebrate Korean Lunar New Year, also known as Seollal, Padma Lakshmi recently gave a tutorial on her Instagram on how to make popular Korean street food, hotteok. According to TasteAtlas, hotteok is a "popular Korean pancake that is usually filled with cinnamon, brown sugar, and nuts such as peanuts and walnuts." This was not Lakshmi's first time making the sweet, stuffed street food. She first made them on a holiday episode of her show "Taste the Nation" with K-pop singer-songwriter Eric Nam (via Substack). In the episode, Nam explained that the popular street food is especially meaningful because it is one of the first desserts his mother made for him. Hotteok is not made from a batter, like pancakes are in America; it is made with a yeast dough. The traditional dough needs to be mixed and rested, which can take over an hour to complete, so Nam shared a shortcut that his mother uses.

Use store-bought biscuit dough for the base

When Padma Lakshmi and Eric Nam made hotteok on "Taste the Nation," they stuffed pre-made biscuit dough with a sweet filling to save time. "[My mom] did what I think a lot of immigrants do," Nam said during the episode. "They kind of improvise with what they have and what's available to them." Instead of blooming yeast and mixing dough, Lakshmi and Nam opened a can of biscuit dough, flattened it with their fingers, and stuffed it with the sweet filling. While the duo used cinnamon sugar, brown sugar, cashew pieces, and pumpkin seeds, Lakshmi explained that you can use any nuts you like or even change the flavor profile a bit with a spoonful of jam, which is not traditional (via EatingWell). 

Once they stuffed the dough, they flattened it and fried it in a little oil on the stovetop until the outside was crispy and the filling was warm and almost caramel-like. On the show, Lakshmi commended Nam for sharing this family recipe that is traditional in concept but uses modern convenience to get everyone around the table together faster to celebrate. As Lakshmi mentions on her Instagram, this recipe is great to make with kids, which is evident in her video tutorial showing her cooking hotteok with her daughter.