Chinese Scallion Pancakes
Updated: Aug 28
THIS is my Chinese kid comfort food. It's so simple, delicious to eat, and it'll make you judge-y about all the other scallion pancakes you see at dim sum. After I learned how to make these I've become very vocal about the fact that all the other scallion pancakes I've encountered are clearly inferior. My Auntie Yvonne, who is a badass Chinese professor and fellow food lover, taught me this technique for making Scallion Pancakes by feel using flour, water, oil, salt and scallions. There is no recipe. Just instincts passed on through generations. Ready to try it?
BONUS SUPER-COOL NERD EGG FACT: Since this scallion pancake recipe uses no eggs, I pause to talk about egg anomalies. Butterberry recently laid a FART egg! Also known as fairy eggs or cock eggs, these mini "oops" eggs are tiny compared to normal eggs. They are usually only yolk or only egg white, rarely a tiny complete egg. People used to think they were laid by roosters and the work of the devil. Watch the episode to watch me crack it open and find out what's inside! Read more about fart eggs / fairy eggs / cock eggs / diminutive eggs in a blog post dedicated to all things nerdy about these anomaly eggs - Fart Eggs, a Weird Egg Anomaly.
Keys to this Non-Recipe:
There is no recipe, let go and trust your instincts
More salt, oil and scallions = tastes better
You're essentially cooking it in lots of oil to lightly fry it, don't be afraid of the amount of oil
There's no right or wrong with the amounts, it's all up to your own personal preference of how much scallion, how salty and how much or little oil you like
The only way to know is to try it and see what you like, adjust and try again
These scallion pancakes are vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free and egg-free
If the fact that there is no recipe scares you, don't! Trust yourself, it's going to be okay. I'll show you how to make these using touch, feel and your instincts for flavor. "But I don't have any instincts!" you say? Well, let's hone them! The only way to learn instincts is by trying and failing so you can learn what worked and what did not.
How to Make a Scallion Pancake:
Time to Prepare: 2 hours (1 hour dough rest)
The best scallion pancake recipe made by hand with only 5 ingredients - flour, water, salt, oil and scallions. These vegan and vegetarian-friendly Chinese-style pancakes are easy to make and a great snack or appetizer. A Baking With Chickens Original Recipe.
chopped scallions (green onions)
1. Pour flour into a large bowl.
2. Drizzle in warm-hot water slowly a little at a time, mixing it into the flour with your hand by rubbing the flour your fingers.
3. When the flour has a flaky/stringy texture look and feel to it, stop adding the hot water. It will stick to your fingers but it should still be a mostly dry mixture.
4. Slowly drizzle in ice water while mixing it in firmly with your hand to form the dough. Keep adding ice water until the dough comes together and forms a ball. It should hold together but not be sticky. Your finger should be able to press the dough and not have dough stick to your hand.
5. If you add too much water, just add in a little more flour until you get the right consistency.
6. Turn the dough out onto a flat surface. Knead the dough with your hands until your hands, shoulders, back and everything hurts for much longer than you want to knead.
7. Form the dough into a smooth ball and put the dough back into the bowl. Cover it with a slightly damp cloth.
8. Set dough aside in a warm area to rest for about an hour. If it's cold in your kitchen, put it on top of the stove and turn on the oven to keep the area warm.
9. After the dough rests, you'll see that your dough surface has a smooth texture. Take it out and knead again for another 5-10 minutes.
10. Your dough should be soft and smooth now, not sticky to the touch. Rip off a golf-ball to fist-sized chunk of dough, and roll it with a rolling pin on a flat surface until very thin. Thinner the better, but not so thin that you're not able to handle or roll the edges of the dough.
11. Drizzle oil on the dough, use your hands to cover the entire surface in oil.
12. Sprinkle scallions and salt evenly on top of the dough. Don't be stingy, it will taste better with more scallions, and more salt. The surface should be dotted with 60-70% scallion.
13. Starting from the long edge of the dough, roll the edges along with the scallion pieces until you have one big long rolled piece of dough.
14. Pick up the rolled dough and tie into a knot, tuck in the end pieces under itself.
15. Flatten the knotted dough ball with your hand on a flat surface, roll it out with your rolling pin until it's thin and pancake-sized.
16. On the stove, in a pan on medium heat, pour in a drizzle of oil.
17. Cook the scallion pancake until golden brown on both sides. If your scallions and the pancake is burning, lower the heat to medium low. You want to be low enough to cook the dough all the way through without burning.
18. Remove from pan, slice and eat. See if you can see the layers, count them!
19. You can make a dipping sauce with soy sauce, ginger, vinegar and chili oil if you'd like.
If you're freaking out about not having a recipe with exact measurements, you can reference this recipe from Serious Eats to get an idea of amounts.
Can I knead or mix using a food processor, dough hook or bread machine?
Sure, you could to save your hands and wrists. But there's something about feeling the dough with your hands that makes a big difference in texture. When you make something with your hands, you're putting your love into the food.
What if my dough is too wet?
Add more flour and mix until the consistency feels right.
How do I know if I've kneaded the dough long enough?
The dough will start to become more soft, pliable and smoother. The smoother the better so the gluten relaxes.
Can I freeze the scallion pancake dough?
These are great frozen and reheated in a pan or toaster oven. Cook the scallion pancakes first in the pan until golden brown, cool, then wrap in an air-tight container and freeze.
I do not recommend freezing the uncooked dough. It gets gummy when it defrosts.
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