Hello, friends! I hope you are safe and sound, wherever you are. The nasty hurricane came along and the entire city seemed to have been put on hold until further notice. Suddenly, I have hours and hours to cozy up on the couch, catch up on TV shows, resist online shopping, cook up a few dishes, and watch baby panda videos on YouTube. And blog about food, obviously!
The first time I tried the recipe for these scallion pancakes, I glanced over the instructions, stubbornly ignored them, and plowed ahead with some improvisations. It was a total disaster (it’s my guess that thick, tough pieces of cardboard do not count as pancakes…)! Having made them a few times now, I realize that the secret to getting a perfectly flaky scallion pancake lies in the folding technique. The usual recipes call for one fold, but I always do it twice to increase the flakiness. Slightly time consuming, yes, but definitely worth the extra effort!
Flaky Chinese Scallion Pancakes
(makes 6 pancakes)
1 cup scallion, white and green parts, finely chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp dark sesame oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup hot water
Salt and white pepper to taste
In a small saucepan, heat vegetable oil until sizzling hot, and fry the scallions for about 1 minute. Reserve the scallions and let the oil come to room temperature. Combine the vegetable oil with sesame oil. Set aside.
Mix flour with water until a dough ball is formed. Knead for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is smooth and very elastic. Shape into a disk, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and roll into balls. On a lightly-floured work surface, roll a ball into a thin circle (about 1/16″ thick). Brush the flattened dough with the reserved oil mixture, and sprinkle evenly with scallions, salt, and pepper.
Starting on one end, roll the dough up tightly, creating one long snake of rolled-up dough. Then coil the snake into a round dough bundle. With the palm of your hand, press the roll from the top to flatten it slightly, then using a rolling pin, flatten into a circle (about 1/4″ thick).
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Heat vegetable oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Depending on the pan’s size, add 1 to 2 pancakes and cook until golden brown on both sides, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Slice each pancake into wedges, and serve immediately with soy sauce or dipping sauce (see recipe below).
*The instructions here are for one fold. If you want to do two folds (see pictures above), you just have to repeat the flatten-brush oil-roll up step once more, but add the scallions, salt, and pepper the second time you flatten and roll up the dough. Hope that makes sense!
Soy Sauce and Vinegar Dipping Sauce
(makes ½ cup)
¼ cup Chinese Jinjiang vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
In a bowl, stir to combine all of the ingredients. Use immediately or store in a covered container in the refrigerator; it will keep for up to 3 weeks.
*Jinjiang vinegar is an aged, black vinegar. If you can’t find it in the grocery store, feel free to substitute with balsamic vinegar; the tastes are very similar.
* This sauce also goes well with steamed dumplings and potstickers.