Saturday, January 17, 2009

Scallion Pancakes

The Chinese name for this dish is cong you bing which literally translates to onion oil pancake, and that's really all there is to it. Since the ingredient list is so short, it's perfect for this month's Weekend Cookbook Challenge which is run by Sara of I Like to Cook: 5 ingredients or less!

I love green onion pancakes (aka scallion pancakes). You can eat it alone as a snack, dipping it in a simple sauce if you'd like. You can eat it as a side instead of rice. You can wrap meat and veggies in it with some hoisin sauce - yum! Fry it up with scrambled eggs for a great breakfast. The list goes on and on. Plus it freezes really well, so you can make a ton and freeze them for convenient future usage! I even had a green onion pancake-off with a friend once. We both made them and fed them to our friends for judging, and I'm proud to say that I won :)

Another thing I love about green onion pancakes are the layers. Look at those gorgeous layers! As a kid, I loved peeling off the layers and eating them one by one, and I'm not ashamed to say that I still play with my food to this day!

Anyway, enough babbling, here's the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour
  • Hot, preferably boiling, water (approx 2:1 ratio of flour to water)
  • Oil (I like to use a combo of vegetable and sesame and will elaborate below)
  • Salt
  • Green onions (diced)

Method:

  • In a stand mixer, or by hand, mix the flour and water together and knead until a nice dough is formed. The ratio should be about 2:1 and should be a non-sticky but relatively soft dough. It's pretty forgiving, so this doesn't have to be perfect. Hot water is important however because that will give you the texture you want (or so I was told when I first learned to make it).
  • Take a small piece of dough (however big you want your pancake to be) and roll it out as thin as possible. The shape doesn't matter (as you can see below). And it's even okay if you rolled it so thin that there are holes in it.
  • Drizzle some oil and rub it in with your hands so that the entire surface is lightly covered, but there are no pools of oil in any one spot. I like to use a combo of vegetable oil and sesame oil. I find that all sesame oil is a bit too strong for my taste, but vegetable oil alone is a bit boring, but really, use what you have and what you like. In fact, lard is probably the best option if you're brave enough to use it! (I'm not)
  • Sprinkle on the green onions. Again, it's up to your personal preference how much you like.
  • Roll the dough into a long rope. It's okay if oil and onions squish out the sides.
  • Next, coil that rope into a circle.
  • Using your hands and/or rolling pin to flatten out the pancake to your desired thickness. Some people like super thick pancakes, others like thin ones. Both are perfectly acceptable. You may need to let the dough rest a bit if it's being difficult to work with.
  • In a pan, heat up a bit of oil over medium/low heat. Plop your pancake down and let it cook until golden brown, and then flip to crisp the other side. Thicker pancakes will obviously take longer (you might want to put the lid on and turn down the heat so that it doesn't burn before it's cooked through) and thin ones will take less time. Deep frying these is another delicious alternative!
  • Cut them into wedges and serve them however you like. My favorite is with a dipping sauce of half black vinegar and half soy sauce, but experiment away to find what you like!

26 comments:

Joelen said...

Yum! I hope you can submit this to the Wine & Dine blogging event this month since we're featuring Chinese inspired recipes! Details are in my blog's left sidebar :)

That Girl said...

I love making these! I use them in place of tortillas a lot, so much more flavorful.

MaryBeth said...

They look really good, I bet they are wonderful to use in place of plain tortillas.

Kiran said...

This looks very similar to some parathas that we make, looks good some great shots.

chrissy said...

you rock. thanks for posting! i'm trying these tmw!! :)

nicisme said...

Oh these look so good, I must make some soon.

Daily Spud said...

I made these for the first (and certainly not the last) time this weekend - they're a keeper for sure!

gaga said...

Aww, I just missed your deadline Joelen. :( Maybe next time...

Su-Lin said...

I love homemade scallion pancakes! I've made them before but felt a little lost when it came to a dipping sauce....do you have any ideas?

gaga said...

Hey Su-Lin. My personal favorite is pretty simple. 1 part black vinegar and one part soy. Some other additions that would be good are sesame oil, hot sauce, minced garlic, sugar, etc. But personally, I think vinegar and soy is good enough!

Sara said...

fantastic! i've always wanted to try to make these. thanks for sharing with me for weekend cookbook challenge.

Colloquial Cook said...

That looks both delicious and funny to make. I've been ogling at scallion pancake recipes for a while now, I just need a good kick in the bottom to get started!

Olga said...

I've never tried making these myself. They look so delicious, and I always like to order them when they are on the menu.

Jo said...

thank you so much for this recipe. i am so glad i found it! I always wondered how all those layers were made, and i am surprised at how simple the process is. i usually buy these at the store, frozen, but now I am going to make them fresh at home! It's so cheap, too!

Kevin said...

Those scallion pancakes look good! They are on my to try list.

Rene said...

I made these this morning for breakfast - just the way we used to eat them when we lived in Taiwan! Thanks for this!

Liz said...

Eek! I'm excited. I had similar onion cakes at the Fringe Festival and I loved them. I can't wait to try these dipped in soya sauce and sweet chili sauce. YUM! Thanks for the recipe.

Franklin said...

They look very nice! Thanks for the recipe, will try to make it as close to my mental image of my childhood stall in Taiwan as I can :)

I recommend extra old soy sauce to go with the pancakes hehe - and some stir-fried mince meat!

Hornsfan said...

So tasty looking, I've always purchased them pre-made from my local Asian Market but these look pretty easy to make so I may have to for-go the pre-made version!

T said...

hey! i found your blog through tastespotting many moons ago, and bookmarked this recipe. i couldn't believe how simple and delicious it looked!! i've finally gotten around to trying it and the pancakes are so tasty :) thanks for the recipe, it really reminds me of korean "pajun"!

Bergamot said...

This is an interesting way to make a pancake. Similar to the lachcha or pinwheel parathas I make. Will try it out, though with whole wheat flour :-)

Elenaki said...

Thank you for the recipe! Mine were with spring onions and parmigiano regiano - they are wonderful!

gaga said...

@Elenaki - Oooh, adding parmesan sounds wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Thanks for this recipe. Would you happen to know why the street food version of scallion pancakes has a dought that's kinda softer and is fluffY Thanks and more power!

gaga said...

@Anonymous - My guess is more oil or the use of lard instead of oil (and more of it). But to be honest, I'm not sure. Maybe more kneading, more resting, subbing in a bit of self-rising flour for all-purpose? Good luck and lemme know if any of those work for you!

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.