Scallion Pancakes

(Cong You Bing)
adapted from: The Best International Recipe
makes 4 pancakes, serving 4-6

My favorite staples of Chinese cuisine can all be found in the appetizer portion of the menu. Egg rolls, pot stickers, and scallion pancakes. In case you have not had the good fortune to try the latter, a scallion pancake is a savory un-leavened flatbread folded with oil and minced green onions, and often served with a dipping sauce. The exterior should be crisp and golden brown, and the center soft and chewy. These are delicious as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to Asian soups or entrees.

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for the work surface
1 tsp salt
½ cup water, at room temperature, plus extra if needed
¼ cup vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
2-3 tsp toasted sesame oil
½ cup scallions, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
*scallion dipping sauce

Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the water in a stream and mix with a dinner fork until combined. (Add a tiny bit more water a little at a time if there are still floury bits at the bottom of the bowl, until the dough comes together.) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 3-5 minutes, until smooth and satiny, adding extra flour as needed to prevent sticking. Put the dough in a clean bowl, brush with a thin layer of vegetable oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and keep covered with plastic wrap. Roll one piece at a time on a lightly floured work surface into a 7″ circle. Brush lightly with sesame oil, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of scallions and 1 ½ tsp of cilantro.

Roll the dough into a cylinder, then coil the cylinder into a round tucking the tail end underneath. Then roll into a 5-6″ pancake, about 1/4″ thick. Set aside and cover with plastic wrap, and repeat process with the remaining dough pieces.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a non stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Swirl the oil to coat the skillet, then add a dough round and cook until golden brown on each side, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil, and repeat with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and 3 dough rounds. Slice the pancakes into wedges and serve with the scallion dipping sauce.

 

Scallion Dipping Sauce
(Zhan Jiang)
makes ¾ cup

Mirin is a Japanese sweet cooking wine found in most supermarkets.(Kikkoman is a popular brand) If you can’t find it, substitute 2 tablespoons dry white wine mixed with 1 tsp sugar.

¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons water
1 scallion, sliced thin on an angle
¾ tsp toasted sesame oil
½ tsp minced ginger
sugar, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a serving bowl and serve with scallion pancakes. (The sauce can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 6 hours.)

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