One of my favorite things to order at our local Chinese restaurant is the scallion pancake. Flaky, greasy, salty, delicious. I had a review copy of the Double Awesome Chinese Food cookbook and out of all the recipes, could not pass up the chance to try my hand at scallion pancakes. The recipe is below, but in the cookbook, there are very helpful step by step photos for the recipes.
This is my second attempt making scallion pancakes. The first attempt was cong you bing back in 2012, which I definitely did not master. These are much thinner and flakier and closer to how they should be, but still not quite there. Someday I hope to visit China and take our friend's Old-Shanghai Breakfast Food Tour and taste the real deal.
1 recipe Hot Water Dough (see below), rested
1/4 cup (52 g) toasted sesame oil
1 1/3 cups (80 g) thinly sliced scallions
neutral oil, such as canola, for cooking
soy vinegar dipping sauce (I used just straight soy sauce!)
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 tbsp of the sesmae oil, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the scallions.
Roll up the circle into a snake, 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. 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.
Hot Water Dough
2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp (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 3/4 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, 3-5 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.
*Jenny's notes - the instructions say you can repeat the snail roll out for even more flaky layers, but my pancakes were flakiest if I only did it one time. (My dough was a bit dry though.) I tried medium-high heat for 3 minutes but on my electric stovetop, this was too hot and too long. I ended up on medium heat for 1-1.5 minutes per side.
I received a review copy of this cookbook from the publisher through NetGalley. It came out February 5, 2019.
Other recipes I am interested in trying:
-Dan Dan Noodles with Crispy Pork Belly and Brussels Sprouts
-Carrot Coconut Soup
-Hot and Sour Borscht
-Harvest Moon Curry