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I decided to make scallion pancakes for breakfast… why? Well, I’ll be kneading dough for my pies later and I have some scallions available- so, why not?!
A sadly less-than-common inclusion on dimsum and appetizer menus, scallion pancakes are deceptively simple, especially considering how excellent they can be. Unleavened dough is filled with green onion and brushed with sesame oil, and is quickly pan-fried. Tender, flavorful, and fast, they appeal to all but the very pickiest of diners. They’re often cut in wedges and served with a soy-based dipping sauce with chili sauce.
The method involved in creating scallion pancakes also provides a clue to their roots, as they are made in a very similar fashion to parathas, those flaky Indian flatbreads. Taking the ingredients and method into account, it seems most likely that they originated in Shanghai, a Northeastern city that boasted a large population of foreigners (who brought a demand for their familiar wheat flour), notably a sizeable percentage from India. But whatever the pedigree, there’s no denying the broad appeal of these savory delights. Similar breads have become part of the culinary tradition of other parts of Asia, such as Japan’s negiyaki, or Korea’s pajeon.
When you finally do get take a bite of your freshly-made pancakes, you taste the funky, unmistakable essence of sesame oil, but it sits calmly in the background, letting the sweet pungency of the green onions take center stage. The scallion bits that tried to escape the clutches of the dough are chided for their efforts by being charred in the cooking process, and they lend a pleasant smoky flavor.
The crunchy exterior gives way to a chewy and soft interior that pulls apart in layers. The middle remains slightly undercooked if (in my opinion) you’ve done it properly. Personally, I have a weak spot for under-done baked goods, and the doughy interior of these pancakes panders admirably to that love. Feel free to cook these at a lower temperature for a longer time, if you prefer your bread well done.
The recipe may seem long and involved, but it’s really quite easy, and goes quickly once you get the hang of it. Scallion pancakes are often pan-fried in a shallow pool of oil, but I’ve reduced the amount of oil used to just a thin coating; It makes them less greasy. Again, if you prefer yours cooked in more oil, don’t let me stop you.
Just make sure to let them cool off a bit before giving into temptation and digging in; your tongue will thank you.
*** tip: Making suitable dough is the key process for yummy scallion pancake at home. The dough for making scallion pancakes should be softer than the dough for pizza. And the water used for making the dough should be hot water with a temperature over 80℃.
300g all-purpose flour
150g hot water (20ml more if needed,see note 1)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 scallion thinly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon five spice powders
1. Dissolve salt in hot water.
2. Prepare a large mixing bowl. Stir water slowly to flour. And wait to cool down and then knead to get smooth dough. Continue kneading around 3~5 minutes. Place the dough aside to rest for at least 10 minutes to 20 minutes.
3. Knead the dough for around 2 minutes and roll out to a large circle.
4. Brush some cooking oil on the surface circle and then sprinkle chopped scallions and five spicy powders.
5. Roll up the circle into a cylinder. And further roll into the shape of a snail. Roll the snail out to another thin circle.
6. Brush some cooking oil on the pan and move the circle into the pan. Use middle fire to pan-fry until the surface becomes brown around 2-3 minutes. And turn over to fry for another 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spatula to press the circle from time and time especially the central part to ensure the circle is evenly fried.
7. Remove the circle out and cut into wedges.
**For a softer texture, add slightly more water.
**If you need to add the amount, during the process of making the circle, do cover the rest of dough with a wet cloth so that the dough will not be too dry.