Cooking: Scallion pancakes


I was scrolling through my social media, and someone posted their recipe for mandarin scallion pancakes. I had all the ingredients on hand, so I decided to try it.

I should mention, I think “pancakes” is a poor translation. In the english speaking world pancakes usually implies something specific (typically a sweet leavened bread cooked in a pan, typically served for breakfast). Scallion “pancakes” are savory, rather than sweet, they are unleavened, and they are not for breakfast. A better translation would be scallion flatbread, but that said, it is the commonly accepted term, so I’ll stick with it.

Scallion pancakes are sometimes consumed as a street food style snack, or as a side dish during a larger meal.

I’ve observed two varieties. There’s a thicker variant (cooked as a thick disk about 1 cm thick, and deep fried in oil before being sliced and served) and a thinner variant (depicted in the recipe that follows).

You’ll need

  • 2 c all purpose flour
  • 3/4 c hot water
  • 1/4 c cold water
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 6 tbs cooking oil (peanut oil is traditional, but if that’s not available, canola oil)
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2-3 fresh scallions
  • frying pan
  • kitchen brush
  • mixing bowl
  • small bowl or dish

start by measuring the 1 cup of flour into a mixing bowl, and add the tsp of salt

mix those together and add the 3/4 cup of boiling hot water.

mix them together to form a shaggy dough

add the 1/4 c of cold water and mix

form the dough into a ball and knead for 3-4 minutes

let the dough rest, covered with a warm towel for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the other ingredients.

start by slicing the scallion finely.

combine the vegetable oil and sesame oil into a small bowl or dish

brush a working surface with a little of the oil mixture

flatten and roll out the dough on the oiled working surface

brush the top surface of the rolled out dough with more of the oil mixture

add the minced scallions, scattering them over the flattened dough

roll the dough up

coil the dough roll together

and flatten the coiled dough

and roll it flat again. This creates a layered texture within the dough.

because my frying pan is too small to cook this large pancake at once, I split my dough to cook it in two batches

heat the pan to medium high, and brush the surface with more of the oil mixture.

once the pan is up to temperature, fry the pancake dough

while it’s frying on bottom, brush oil on the top half

flip the pancake and fry on the other side.

once its lightly charred, remove from the heat

slice and serve

this can be served as-is, or with a dipping sauce made from rice vinegar, soy, and chili oil

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