Make, Jane, make!: Chinese Scallion (Green Onion) Pancakes


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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chinese Scallion (Green Onion) Pancakes

I crave this simple green onion pancake every once in a while and although they are easily obtainable at many Chinese restaurants and found in the frozen section of a lot of Chinese grocery stores, sometimes I want them when I want them :)

They are a fun morning or afternoon project that results in a freshly fried snack. What more needs to be said? They are also a great way to use up a bunch of scallions that you may have forgotten about in the back of the fridge.


Scallion Pancakes (Yield: approx 8 large or 12 medium pancakes)

3 cups flour (white or a mix of whole wheat and white)
about 1 cup boiling water
1 bunch scallions, chopped
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
sesame oil

Place the flour into a large bowl and, while stirring, slowly add the boiling water.

If, like me, you add too much and the dough gets a little too wet like this....

... just add a little more flour. You want the dough to come together and be soft enough to knead, but not so soft that it sticks to everything.

Knead it until it starts looking nice and uniform.

And when it's ready, pop it into a bowl and cover it with a damp, clean cloth to rest for about a half hour. This will relax the dough and make it a little less elastic-y and a little easier to roll out.

While the dough is resting, chop up your onions. I like to slice the whites of the onions vertically before chopping to reduce the amount of rolling and flying about that those little onion pieces do.

Place them into a bowl and combine with your salt and pepper. Mix it around and set aside until your dough is ready.

Get some sesame oil into a bowl with a small spoon or a brush for spreading.

Not the best or tastiest brand of sesame oil... but beggars can't be choosers when they're shopping at No Frills.

When you're ready to roll :) - flour your work surface liberally (because it's likely to get quite sticky with the oil and onions popping out everywhere) and pinch off a piece of dough. If you want to be really exact then you can roll your dough into a long cylinder and cut the cylinder up into 8 to 12 evenly sized pieces. Roll out your little piece of dough into a large thin circle and spread on some sesame oil.

Sprinkle a spoonful of onions over the surface and spread them around.

Roll up your pancake, like a scroll.

Pinch the ends of the tube closed (in a vain attempt to keep the oil and onions inside) and give the whole tube a quick squeeze along its length to seal the edges.

Now roll your tube up like a snail and tuck the ends under.

Flatten down your snail a bit with the palm of your hand and roll it out into a thin or thick pancake. The thinner your pancake and the hotter your pan, the more flaky and airy your pancakes will be. A thicker pancake gives you a crispy outer shell with some flakiness and a softer, chewier inside (kinda like the bottom crust of an apple pie).

And that's how you get all those layers of pancake and onion in such a small thin package. btw, I've never been able to roll out my pancakes without some bursting of seams and subsequent mess making. Which is why I usually roll these out on a cutting board - easier clean-up.

Fry them up in a hot pan with a bit of oil or dip them in some beaten egg before frying. Eat them plain or with some chili, soy, vinegar dipping sauce. Or put them in the freezer and fry them from frozen when you feel like a snack.

These were thicker pancakes which results in a denser, chewier pancake.

Hope you try making these from scratch sometime and tell me how it goes!

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