Scallion Pancakes from Andrew, Irene, and Margaret Li's "Double Awesome Chinese Food"

Scallion Pancakes

If you’ve ever had these flaky fried discs dotted with slivers of green onions, you know they can be seriously addictive. When you have perfected the quick and easy scallion pancake recipe to the point that it only takes you an hour or less to make, it’s dangerous business. We give you this scallion pancake recipe with a warning: with great power comes great responsibility. After trying these pancakes, the mere sizzle of the pan or scent of freshly chopped scallions may cause you to relinquish control, churning out pancake after pancake and consuming every bite. Cook at your own risk . . .

Makes 4 pancakes

  • 1 recipe Hot Water Dough (recipe below), rested
  • 1⅓ cups (80 g) thinly sliced scallions
  • ¼ cup (52 g) toasted sesame oil
  • Neutral oil, such as canola, for cooking
  • Kosher salt
  • Soy Vinegar Dipping Sauce for serving

Make the pancakes

Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Take one piece and cover the rest with a damp cloth. Roll the piece into a ball, flatten it slightly, then use a rolling pin to flatten it into a circle about 8 inches in diameter. Use a brush (or your fingers) to cover the dough circle with 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil, then sprinkle with ⅓ cup of the scallions.

Roll up the circle into a snake (see photos below for a visual guide), then twist the snake into a snail-like spiral and tuck the end underneath. Flatten slightly with your hand, then use the rolling pin to roll out again into an 8-inch circle. Stop here, or, if you want more flaky layers, repeat the snake and snail steps and roll out again. Be gentle, as scallions may burst out of the dough as you continue. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 4 pancakes.

Cook the pancakes

Heat a thin layer of neutral oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Don’t skimp on the oil; ample oil is part of the charm of this dish. Carefully slide the pancake into the pan and fry on each side until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Sprinkle lightly with salt and place on a paper towel to cool. Repeat with the remaining pancakes. Cut into wedges and serve with soy vinegar dipping sauce. Try not to burn your tongue.

Hot Water Dough

We use this basic dough for our childhood favorites of scallion pancakes and dumplings. It’s a fun and forgiving dough for kids to work with, although parental sous chefs should probably be in charge of the hot water steps.

Makes enough dough for one Scallion Pancake recipe

  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 g) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 g) water, boiled and let cool for about 1 minute

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir in ¾ cup (180 g) of the hot water until a ball is formed and all the flour is incorporated. If the flour in the bottom of the bowl is not sticking to the ball, slowly drizzle in more water 1 teaspoon at a time and continue to stir.

When all the flour has come together into a ball and the dough is cool enough to handle, place on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 3 to 5 minutes. If necessary, add a sprinkle of flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or work surface. Place back in the bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and leave to rest for 30 to 60 minutes so the gluten can relax and the dough is easier to shape. When making in advance, the dough can rest in the fridge a day or two wrapped in lightly oiled plastic wrap. Bring to room temperature before using.

Reprinted with permission from Double Awesome Chinese Food: Irresistible and Totally Achievable Recipes from Our Chinese-American Kitchen by Margaret, Irene, and Andrew Li, Copyright © 2019. Published by Roost Books.

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