Pul-bbang Korean pancake dumplings

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Jeff couldn’t wait to take a bite out of them. Here’s the proof. (Photo by Jeff Quackenbush)

I found a Danish Æbelskiver pancake pan at William-Sonoma some time ago.  I kept staring at the catalog, scratching my head trying to figure out why the pan and its baked contents looked so familiar. Then I realized I was looking at the perfect pul-bbang pan.

Pul-bbang (풀빵) is a Korean pancake dumpling, usually stuffed with sweetened red bean paste (팥 앙금, patanggeum). You could call them Korean doughnut holes, if you want. Korean street vendors can make 20 or more at at time. My little skillet is puny in comparison.

The Japanese have their own version of pul-bbang, called takoyaki. It is stuffed with boiled, chopped octopus. Takoyaki batter also is more savory — featuring bonito flakes — than either pul-bbang or Æbelskiver batter.

Æbelskiver is traditionally filled with spiced, sauteed apples. However,  filling options are limited only by your imagination and the contents of your pantry, such as yujacha (유자차), Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread or peanut butter.

Pul-bbang is sold on the street in most major Korean cities. But they’re a bit more difficult to find than their more famous cousins, boong-uh-bbang (붕어빵),which are a red bean–stuffed bread shaped like a fish. Pul-bbang sell for 1,000 to 2,000 won per seven dumplings.

Pul-bbang

I made the pul-bbang batter from rice flour, which is typical of what one would find in Korea. Rice flour is gluten-free. The mix can be dairy-free if you use rice or almond milk. This recipe make approximately 20 pul-bbang.

1 cup Rice Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Eggs, beaten
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 cup 2% Milk, or you can substitute rice milk or almond milk

The basic recipe for pouring pul-bbang is:

2 tablespoons batter
1/2 teaspoon filling (red bean paste or other filling you’d like)

1. Set the pan on medium heat. You don’t want the pan too hot, otherwise the first side will cook too quickly and the pul-bbang won’t have a nice, round shape. They’ll be round on one side and flat on the other.

2. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of batter into each well of the pan.

I used a two spoon technique to scrape and drop the red bean paste into the batter. (Photo by Jeff Quackenbush)

3. After you have filled all the wells with batter, immediately start placing the 1/2 teaspoon of  the filling of your choice in the middle.

4. Add another tablespoon or so of batter to the top to cover the filling. Let the dumplings cook for a couple of minutes.

The rounded, wooden, Chinese style chopsticks work perfectly to flip the pul-bbang over. (Photo by Jeff Quackenbush)

5. Turn each dumpling over after you notice bubbles in the batter and slight pulling away on the edges. Toothpicks or wooden chopsticks are best for this task. Flip them “early,” so they are gold-colored on the underside, rather than golden brown.

6. Cook for a few minutes more on the other side. From there, you can flip them alternating until they are golden brown on both sides.

This is what the finished product looked like before my husband/photographer tasted a sample of the finished product. (Photo by Jeff Quackenbush)

Pul-bbang don’t taste as good cold, so make and eat them fresh.

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5 thoughts on “Pul-bbang Korean pancake dumplings”

  1. I had the chance to dry a similar food while in Taiwan called mochi. It also has red bean paste as a filling and it tastes heavenly. Reading about takoyaki brought memories of college life where I used to eat it even for lunch and dinner especially when on a tight budget.

    Reply
  2. Despite the shape, the fish-shaped taiyaki or the hockey-puck-shaped dorayaki may be more analogous to pul-bbang than takoyaki (since the batter is pancake-like and the basic filling is red bean, though there are other fillings such as custard and chocolate). 🙂 Or if the filling of pul-bbang between the crust and the red bean paste is gooey, maybe it’s a cross between taiyaki and takoyaki. Interesting. 🙂

    Taiyaki are popular in Taiwan, too.

    Reply
  3. Help!! I have a friend who told me of a dish from Seoul Korea, he described it as a sponge cake, like a twinky, and it had boiled egg stuffed inside. If anyone knows of this, would you please give me the name and if you know the recipe that would be great. Thank you!

    Reply
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