Hwajeon(화전) is a small, soft and sweet tteok(rice cake) made with rice flour, sugar and -get ready- chrysanthemums. Yes, that was not a typo, as these sweet pancakes include edible flower petals such as chrysanthemum, pear blossoms or azalea. Ever heard of the phrase too beautiful to eat? Well, here is something you can definetely use that for! The name -as you can guess- means flower cake in Sino-Korean.
Origins of this can be traced back to Goryeo Dynasty. Hwajeon was commonly eaten at a traditional custom called Hwajeon Nori (화전놀이 – flower cake play). On Samjinal(March 3rd on Lunar Calendar and a festive day in Korea that marks the arrival of Spring), women used to take glutinous rice flour and beoncheol (번철 – a thick frying pan) with them and set up a picnic. With the edible flowers they picked up on picnic sites, they prepared hwajeon.
Although azalea is the most common flower used, varieties can be made using different edible flowers of different seasons. If you don’t have real flowers, water dropwort, seogi, ssuk or jujube may be used to make decorations resembling flowers but I think if you are set out to make Hwajeon, you might as well get real edible flowers and do the original one, as it is a very original dessert.
If you are looking for a unique dessert to try and something to serve to your guests with a history behind it, you may give this one a try.
Main Ingredients: Glutinous rice flour, sugar, edible flowers.
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Photo: Christian Waeber