The first time I tried these flaky, fried patties, I was very, very far from Asia indeed. I was, in fact, at home and near Minneapolis, MN on a shopping trip with my family.
I can’t remember much about the place, except for the scallion pancakes and the helpful waiter. I do know that everything was served family style, much the same as it is in China, and that we ate way too much, only to decide that the family should try bubble tea as long as we were in the general vicinity of a place that might serve such exotic elixirs.
Keeping in mind this was slightly before the explosion of smart phones, our waiter proved to be quite helpful and got us a couple of directions for our little afternoon of Chinese gustatory pleasures.
Anyway, last week I had a scallion pancake. This week I had a soup with the flatbread. And then my sister mentioned the site of my discovery of this savory appetizer and I couldn’t stop myself any more…how could I be surrounded (I wanted to highlight the word round and wink at you all virtually, but it’s not fair to make someone virtually groan at a bad pun…) by something so delicious and not know how to make it myself!
It turns out these are fairly easy to whip up…as far as bread goes, and even further as far as laminated bread goes!
So basically, you roll these out tortilla style. Slather them in a bit of sesame oil, roll them up, coil your newly made rope, smash, roll out and repeat once more. Then you oil the flattened dough one more time and sprinkle with green onions, roll, coil, flatten…and FRY! As the final step, you tear apart this flaky bread and dip it into a sweet and sour sauce and lick your fingers clean when your pancake has disappeared!
Back to our pancakes-before you are eating them: I recommend using a floured oven tray and prepping the pancakes before you fry them. Working in a two-man team will make things go a bit faster, and even give the roller the extra time needed to make a little dipping sauce.
I used the instructions of two different scallion recipes to make a slight adaptation of my own. You can check out Serious Eats’ scallion pancake tutorial or head on over to Food 52 for a slightly more complicated take on things. In fact, the only thing I used from Food 52’s recipe was the idea of adding flour to the sesame oil to try to give it something to cling to in an effort to keep oil from oozing out the sides as you flatten.
I have a little secret: I am going to have to make these again. You have to add sesame oil to the flat pancake each time you’ve rolled it out. It’s exactly like croissant dough. The fat helps separate the layers of dough, which create the layers. The pictures you are seeing today are a little less flaky than yours will be…and mine were still pretty darn flaky! Just remember to OIL and roll, coil, and flatten twice before adding the scallions and doing it one more time.
I think this would be a great appetizer with a little white wine or a glass of beer the next time you have guests, but today we just ate them as an accompaniment to my cream of mushroom soup, which I will post for you by the end of the week!
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup boiling water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ½ cups scallions
- ¼ cup sesame oil+1 tablespoon flour+pinch of salt
- ¼ cup of oil+more as needed for frying
- Dipping Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons ginger syrup (or sugar)
- 1 tablespoon scallion greens
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Make the dough by adding the boiling water to the flour and salt. Kneed it for five minutes or until smooth. Cover and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven, just warm enough to keep the finished pancakes warm while you work.
- Mix the oil and tablespoon of flour together and set it near your work station.
- Make the dipping sauce while you wait. Combine all of the ingredients on the list: soy sauce, vinegar, oil, sugar/ginger syrup, cayenne, sesame seeds, and scallion bits.
- Then, divide the dough into 6-8 balls. Generously flour the table and then roll out a circle, the same way you would tortilla dough. Brush a little sesame oil onto the circle and roll it up like a jelly roll. Then, take the rope and coil it.
- Press it flat with the palm or your hand and roll it out once more. Oil, roll, coil, flatten, roll out.
- Then, oil the surface once more and sprinkle it with green onions. Roll, coil, and flatten into a pancake shape. It will be a bit thicker than your previous two times.
- Place the pancake on a floured surface that you will easily be able to move to the frying pan or wok.
- Repeat until you cannot fit anymore onto your tray and heat ¼ cup of oil in a wok or frying pan. Fry each pancake and salt to your liking. If you run out of oil, add in 1-2 tablespoons at a time and let the oil get hot before frying another pancake. Place warm pancakes onto a plate in a warm oven for up to 30 minutes.
- Cut the pancakes into 8 small pieces and serve in a bowl with the dipping sauce placed off to the side or give each person a pancake and serve in accompaniment with a soup or salad.