April 22, 2021

Korean Fish Bread or Bungeoppang 붕어빵

 

A few months into the pandemic and I became hooked on K-drama (Korean drama). I mean seriously HOOKED!  It all started by binge watching Crash Landing On You on Netflix.  It's gotten to the point where all I'm watching these days is Korean television, be it a drama or reality show.  I even enrolled in a virtual Korean language course at the beginning of the year in an attempt to understand the shows without the aid of subtitles...hahaha...ㅋㅋㅋ!  

One common element you'll notice in any K-drama is the omnipresence of food.  From ramen to tteokbokki, gimbap to jjajangmyeon, the delicious looking food could really be its own character. Previously, my foray into Korean cuisine was limited to the bbq, but watching the dramas has introduced me to so much more.   My cravings for Korean food has increased exponentially in the last year because of it.
 
 
A decade ago I had visited Seoul and I still remember the amazing selection of street food that was offered. In particular, I distinctly recall Korean Fish Bread or Bungeoppang 붕어빵 being sold everywhere.  Despite it's name Korean Fish Bread is really a filled waffle based on Japanese taiyaki.   The ones I had seen back then were filled with sweetened red bean paste, but nowadays there are so many options to choose from, e.g., custard, chocolate or savory like cheese, pizza, etc. 
 

I wanted to recreate the bungeoppang at home and it started with getting the right equipment, a fish shaped waffle iron.  Luckily I was able to find a relatively inexpensive one quite easily on Amazon.  The next challenge was finding the right batter recipe.   I tried multiple homemade batter recipes (documented on my Instagram highlights) and none of them delivered what I was looking for: a fluffy interior and a crunchy, golden brown exterior.  The taiyaki sold at SomiSomi is the gold standard I was after.  Ironically, the batter that came closest (so far) to producing the results I wanted was a pre-made hotcake mix from the Japanese brand Morinaga.  Go figure?  Obviously I would prefer a from scratch batter but when none is to be had I'll happily go the mix route.  To make things easy for myself I used a store bought sweetened red bean paste for the filling    I'll continue searching for a homemade bread recipe but for now I can buy the mix and enjoy 붕어빵 anytime I want.

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