Monday, March 25, 2013

Chinese-Style Crispy Scallion Pancakes

Last year, I did a post on Korean-style scallion pancakes which are delicious and have their place for sure, but aren't quite the same thing as Chinese-style scallion pancakes. The scallion pancakes you get when you go out for Chinese are crispy, almost flaky, and I want to use the word "greasier" but give it a positive connotation - maybe the better way to describe it is to say it almost tastes like it was deep fried? Anyway, Chinese-style scallion pancakes are fun to make - probably a great activity to involve children in (with supervision).

Ingredients [makes 2 large pancakes]
1 cup flour
½ cup boiling water
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sesame oil
½ cup chopped scallion greens (save the whites for something else)

+ soy sauce and rice wine vinegar for a dipping sauce
Start by combining salt and flour in a food processor. Set the food processor to mix on a low speed and slowly drizzle in the hot water until a ball of dough forms. You might need a little more or a little less water depending on the humidity of the day. If your food processor doesn't have a feed (the lid is solid and you can't pour things in while it's running) then add the water little by little, pulsing in between, until the dough forms. If you don't have a food processor at all, you can definitely mix the dough in a bowl with a fork. Just be careful, since the dough will be hot.

Once the dough forms, gently knead it for a few minutes. Then, form it into a ball, wrap it in some plastic, and set aside and let it rest for 30 minutes. By the way, if you're curious as to why this recipe calls for boiling water - flour can absorb more water if it's warm and it partially cooks the flour as well, which means it'll be a little more moist and you can cook it at a higher temperature to get the edges crispy without leaving the insides tasting raw. Also, the hot water breaks down the gluten (proteins) better which means the dough is much easier to roll out, which is something you might notice when rolling out this dough compared to if you've ever tried to roll out pizza dough.
While the dough rests, chop up some scallions.
Once the dough has rested, flour your working surface and divide it in two. Form the first piece into a disk shape then roll it out to about 1/8" thick. Brush the surface of the dough v. lightly with some sesame oil. Then roll up the dough tightly into a tube and then roll the tube up into something that resembles a snail shell or swirl. Flatten the "snail shell" and roll out again and repeat the steps two more times. What this is doing is creating layers of dough separated by sesame oil, which will help the pancakes be flaky.
Once the dough has been rolled out, oiled, and rolled up thrice, it's time for the scallions. Roll out the dough one more time, brush with more sesame oil, and sprinkle on some scallions. Roll up the dough again, pat down, and roll out. Be careful, as the scallion bits might poke through the delicate dough.
Heat up a pan (I used a cast iron skillet) and add a bit of sesame oil. Fry the pancakes on each side for a few minutes each until golden brown and crisp.
Serve warm with soy sauce & rice wine vinegar (2:1 ratio).

I like to cut mine with a pizza cutter because why not?
Yum!

Here's the recipe page:

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