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How to Make Scallion Pancakes
Scallion pancakes are traditionally consumed at lunch or brunch, and are a staple of many Chinese restaurants. These pancakes are not like western breakfast pancakes; they're closer to flatbread or pita. They're not sweet, but savoury, salty, and a little oily (scallion pancakes are delicious, but you won't want to eat them too often!).
Versions of scallion pancakes vary, depending on regional differences and personal preference. I've had scallion pancakes that are as thin as crepes, and others that are as hefty as latkes. Some are shallow-fried in a little oil; others are deep-fried. I've had a West Indian version that wasn't made from rolled dough (which is how I make them), but poured from a batter.
I prefer to roll my pancakes out very thinly, so that the edges are very crispy, but you can make them as thick or thin as you want.
- 3 stalks of scallions, chopped
- 1 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup of cold water
- sesame oil (optional)
- additional flour and water as required
- sesame oil
- sodium-reduced light soy sauce
- minced garlic
This recipe makes four to five scallion pancakes, depending on the thickness.
To make the dipping sauce:
- Mix equal parts soy sauce and sesame oil. (If you do not use sodium-reduced soy sauce, you might want to use less than one part.)
- Add the minced garlic. Let the sauce sit while you prepare the pancakes.
To make the pancakes:
- Combine the water and the flour in a bowl, and mix until smooth. If necessary, add more flour or more water. The dough should not be wet, nor should it be too dry and hard.
- Divide the dough into four or five equal parts. (Four parts makes 6-inch pancakes that are the thickness of thick crepes; five parts makes 6-inch pancakes that are about as thin as tortillas).
- Place one piece of dough on a floured surface and keep the remaining portions covered.
- Roll out the dough into a three- or four-inch circle, flouring the rolling pin as needed.
- Sprinkle a little salt and two or three teaspoons of scallions on top of the pancake. You may also brush it lightly with sesame oil before adding the scallions (Fig. 2).
- Roll up the pancake (Fig. 3).
- Take one end of the rolled up pancake and roll it along its length. Then, place it on its side (Fig. 4).
- Flatten the rolled-up pancake slightly with your hand, and then roll it out with the rolling pin, to about 6 inches.
- Very lightly flour both sides of the pancake, place it on a plate, and cover with an inverted plate.
- Roll out the other pancakes, following steps 3 to 8. The pancakes should look like Fig. 5. Don't worry if they're not perfectly round.
- Heat a bit of canola oil over medium-high heat.
- Brush off any excess flour, and then fry the first pancake until both sides have golden-brown spots.
- Cook the remaining pancakes. When needed, add more oil to the pan. You may notice, during cooking, that some parts of the pancakes puff up. This is normal.
- Cut the pancakes into quarters and serve with dipping sauce.
- Sprinkle a little more salt over the pancakes just before serving.
- Substitute a bit of the scallions with chopped cilantro.
- Add sesame seeds to the dough before rolling.
- Some recipes use butter. I don't recommend it, as it is not authentic.
- Use any dipping sauce you want. Hot sauce is good.
- Pancakes should be eaten right away. If they sit too long, they become limp and soggy.
- Eat the wedges with chopsticks or your hands. :)