Bungeoppang (Carp Bread)


Article by Gil "hannaone"
© Copyright 2007-2024. All rights reserved.

Image by hannaone: Bungeo ppang at home


During my time stationed in Korea in the late 70s and 80s, I would often wander the streets of both villages and cities, seeking out and enjoying the delicious offerings of various food carts. One popular street snack that caught my attention was a pastry shaped like a crucian carp, sold by numerous vendors all over the country. These treats were typically cooked on open wood flame or charcoal burners using long molds that could produce multiple cakes at once. Whenever my young sons spotted one of these "fish carts," they would plead with me to treat them to one of these delightful sweet and savory delicacies. While many current vendors have switched to using propane, there are still some who use traditional charcoal burners, giving you a glimpse into the past. And for those who want to recreate this experience at home, there are now fish-shaped molds available for purchase so you can enjoy fresh Bungeo ppang without having to search for a vendor's stall.

Servings: 6

Recipe Type: Holiday, Korean, Recipe, Snack, Street Food

Suggested Equipment:
Bungeoppang Mold (Handheld for gas stove, or electric "waffle-maker style")
Gas stove or butane/propane tabletop stove

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon brown sugar
9 ounces milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 ounces adzuki bean paste

Add a bit of cinnamon to the batter.
Add chopped walnuts, pecans, peanuts, or pine nuts to the bean paste.
Substitute honey for the brown sugar.
Substitute 1/4 cup rice flour for 1/4 cup of the all purpose flour.
Use fresh chopped or pulped fruit for the filling
Use jams or jellies for the filling
Add savory seasonings (cumin /oregano /chili powder /etc) to the batter, and use your favorite cheese for a filling.

Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar in a bowl.
Add milk and mix well.
Pre-heat the mold over medium heat, then reduce to low.
Use a brush or lint free cloth, and lightly oil both the top and bottom sections of the mold. (For electric model, follow manufacturers instructions)

Pour the batter into one side of the fish mold until just short of half full. Fill the second to the same level.
Add about 1 tablespoon of sweet red bean paste to the center of each mold.
Carefully cover the bean paste with more batter, and finish filling the mold
Close the mold and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes over low heat.
Turn the mold over and cook another 3 or 4 minutes.

The cakes should be a rich golden brown color, but not too dark.
Open the mold and tilt over a plate. The cakes should slide off easily.

This recipe is modified slightly from Maangchi's recipe: http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/bungeoppang

While traditional Bungeoppang is great, you can change it up a little by using chopped fruits for the filling: Blueberries, cherries, strawberry, banana, raspberries, gooseberry, huckleberry, etc

Make it more savory by lowering the sugar and adding seasoning like oregano, cumin, black pepper, dried onion, garlic, etc, and using cheese or chopped cooked meats for the filling (leftover beef japchae makes an excellent filling).

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