Scallion Pancakes

These panfried savory pastries make a tasty snack or accompaniment to a big plate of greens from your garden. (Imagine pea shoots, bok choy, or broccoli rabe sautéed with garlic and ginger - yum!) I’ve enjoyed scallion pancakes at restaurants, but homemade is fun and lets you control the amount of oil and salt used. You can use a variety of herbs; scallions, chives, cilantro, ginger, or maybe even thinly sliced garlic scape. This version adds diced pork, but you could use ham, sausage, shrimp, or leave it vegetarian.

My friend Siu Yan's mother, Sin, was visiting from Hong Kong this summer and she generously taught me a few recipes. Sin speaks little English and I speak no Cantonese but we got along ok with gestures and her daughter’s occasional translation. I took a lot of pictures. (recipe summary at the bottom of the post)

Measure out 300g of basic white wheat flour.

Mix in 130 ml hot water and stir until crumbly.

Add the 70ml cold water and mix with your hands until the dough pulls together

If dough is really sticky, add flour. If persistently dry and crumbly, add a bit more water. Knead on a floured board or counter until the dough is soft and smooth.

Let the dough rest for 30-45 min in bowl covered with a hot damp towel. While the dough is resting, chop up scallions or other fillings.

Sin made “pork oil” ahead of time. I didn’t see how it was done, but if you don’t feel like simmering down the fat cap from a pork shoulder, just use vegetable oil. The “salty marinated pork” can be left out or substitute some other salty protein.

Set up the area with all the elements within easy reach. Extra flour will keep things from sticking.

Pinch off a golf ball sized bit of dough. Flatten it a bit to get started. Roll out the dough “thin like dumpling skin” or if you are from the southwest like me, aim for "tortilla". Roundness is not super important.

Drizzle some oil onto the dough, spread it around. Add some scallions or other herbs, a sprinkle of salt (especially important if you are not using salty meat bits), maybe some pepper, and a little bit of the meat.

The rolling process creates the flaky layers. First roll the two sides in to meet at the center.

Twist the roll, then curl both corners in to overlap at the middle, like a simple pretzel shape with no negative space.

Flatten with the palm of your hand and collect pancakes on a floured plate. You could probably flour and freeze them between layers of wax paper for easy snacks later.

Cook just under medium heat. Use a little oil in the pan and cover with a lid. When the pancake gets browned, flip to cook the other side. Sin said that the pancakes cook faster with more oil but she prefers them less greasy. Depending on your stove set up, you may be able to cook a few at once in a bigger pan.

Hoisin and Sriracha make a nice dipping sauce or you could make your own.

Scallion Pancakes

300g flour
130 ml hot water
70 ml cold water
scallion/herbs, oil, salt, meat(optional)

Mix in hot water until crumbly, then add cold water. Knead until smooth. Cover and let rest 30 mins. Roll out dough, add toppings. Pan fry in covered pan on medium heat with a just a little oil.