Green Onion Pancakes
This recipe is featured in Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts
Green onion or scallion pancakes are popular in China and show how Chinese ingenuity can take a few simple ingredients and transform them into a tasty snack which can also be eaten with meals. I first had green onion pancakes as dim sum. I loved them so much that I now make them at home for a snack or as an appetizer before dinner. I like to fry these in a cast iron skillet to get a lovely golden and crisp pancake. As green onion pancakes are served throughout China, there are regional differences from thin and flat to thick ones. There are even some leavened with yeast, but this recipe relies only on steam for a slight puff, and oiling of the dough before the rolling process to produce flaky layers.
For the dough:
- 500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 176 ml (¾ cup) hot tap water, or as needed
For the filling:
- 2-3 green onions (scallions), chopped
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) vegetable oil
- 10 ml (2 teaspoons) pure sesame oil
- 2 ml (½ teaspoon) salt
- 2 ml (½ teaspoon) ground white pepper
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Liquid measuring cup
- Medium bowl
- Cutting board
- Chef knife
- 3 small bowls or custard cups
- Pastry brush
- Rolling pin
- Cast iron skillet or heavy skillet
- Cooking spatula or egg lifter
- Kitchen shears
1. In a medium bowl, make a well in the flour and add the hot water all at once. Mix with a fork (more hot water may need to be added) until a soft dough is formed. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth ball. Place the bowl upside down over the ball of dough and let rest for 20 – 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, wash the green onions and cut off the root ends. Chop the green onions and set aside. In a small dish combine the vegetable oil and sesame oil. In another dish, combine the salt and white pepper.
3. After resting the dough, roll the dough into a log and divide it into 4 equal pieces. Work with one piece at a time and keep remaining pieces of dough under the bowl to prevent dough from drying out. Roll out 1/4 portion of the dough with a rolling pin into a thin rectangle that is the size of 2 hands. Using a pastry brush, brush the sesame oil mixture onto the dough’s surface leaving a strip along the long side with no oil.
4. Sprinkle 1/4 of the salt pepper mixture evenly over the oiled surface followed by 1/4 of the chopped green onions. Tightly roll the dough towards the edge with no oil. Pinch to seal the edge of the roll. Then roll a log of dough to form a uniform cylinder while gently stretching the log to make it slightly longer. Coil the log like a cinnamon bun and pinch the end of the coil in place. Using a rolling pin, flatten the coil until it is about 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick and in a pancake shape. Repeat for the remaining pieces of dough and filling.
5. Using a cast iron frying pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until the oil is hot enough to bubble around the end of a chopstick or wooden spoon. Add one pancake and fry until golden at medium heat (about 3 minutes). Flip the pancake and cook the other side until nicely golden and dough is translucent. Repeat until all the pancakes are cooked. Use kitchen shears or a chef’s knife to cut each pancake into quarters. Serve warm. If you wish, serve with a dipping sauce made with equal parts of soy sauce and rice vinegar.