I know, I know… by now you’re not shocked that I’m coming to you excited about pancakes again, but hear me out - my latest adventure in pancakes took a savory turn and it’s my favorite chapter of my pancake saga, so far!
There are a variety of delicious savory pancakes in cultures all around the world, and as far as I’m concerned, they don’t get the attention that they deserve. Crepes are often filled with ham and cheese in France. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake made with cabbage. In India, there are Uttapam made with a fermented rice and black lentil batter. In Korea, they make Kimchijeon – Kimchi Pancakes. In Ethiopia, they have Injera – a spongy bread, and in Venezula and Columbia, they have Cachapas – corn pancakes stuffed with melted cheese.
While all of these “pancakes” sound delicious, my favorite savory pancake of all is of Chinese origin. It’s called Cong You Bing, or Scallion Pancakes. These are deliciously crispy, chewy, flaky, unleavened, pan-fried pancakes and they use just a few ingredients that you likely already have on hand! I have ordered these for years from Chinese restaurants when getting take out, or enjoying dim sum, but I recently got curious about how they are actually made. Interestingly, the process for the pancakes is similar to laminating dough, which helps create those signature flaky layers. They are perfect as a snack, or as a part of meal, and typically are accompanied by a soy dipping sauce. I highly recommend you try your hand at these – but make a double batch if you plan on sharing!
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup water
1/3 cup sesame oil
2 cups thinly sliced scallions (I use the green and the white- the white has more onion flavor and the green makes these beautiful!)
TCB Kosher Salt #2, to taste
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon slice scallions (the white part)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
Chili paste or sriracha, to taste
1. Boil 1 cup of water.
2. In a food processor, add 2 cups of flour (the 1/4 cup is to help knead and roll the pancakes out). Turn the processor on and add in 3/4 cup of boiling water. Run for 20-30 seconds. If the mixture forms a ball along the side of the bowl, you are good to go. If a dough hasn’t yet formed, add more of the water until the dough forms, about 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Turn the dough out only a lightly floured board or counter and knead a few turns until you have a smooth ball.
4. Let the dough rest in a covered bowl for an hour.
5. In the meantime, prepare the dipping sauce by mixing all of the ingredients in a small bowl. (Pro tip: use the tip of a spoon to peel your ginger!)
6. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.
7. Roll each piece into an 8-inch circle (be mindful of the pan you are using to fry them as they’ll need to fit!). Clearly, I went with the rustic look – no need for a perfect circle!
8. Brush each circle, to the edge, lightly with sesame oil.
9. Roll each circle up like a cigar, seam side down.
10. Curl each cigar into a pinwheel, tucking the end under if it won’t stay.
11. Re-roll each pinwheel into an 8 inch circle.
12. Brush each circle lightly with sesame oil and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of scallions on each.
13. Roll each scallion-topped circle into a cigar again, seam side down (again, just like you did before!).
14. Curl each scallion-filled cigar into a pinwheel, tucking the end under if it won’t stay (just like you did before!)
15. Re-roll each scallion-filled pinwheel into an 8 inch circle. It’s okay if some scallions poke through!
16. Heat a cast iron skillet (or non-stick pan) with 1/4 -1/3 cup of vegetable oil on medium heat.
17. Once the oil is hot, begin frying each 8 inch pancake, one at a time. You’ll fry each side for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown.
18. Once browned on both sides, sprinkle with salt (fried foods should be salted when they are hot out of oil) and let the pancakes drain on a paper towel or cooling rack.
19. Slice each pancake into 6-8 wedges and serve with the soy dipping sauce.
I hope that you are inspired to try these Scallion Pancakes out; they are certainly addicting! While they do have a few steps, it goes pretty quickly, and is even something that kids can get involved with!
If you’re looking for sesame oil, soy sauce, or rice vinegar, we offer these (and lots more!) as a part of our curbside pickup on Tuesdays and Thursdays at our Lincoln Square location. I’m excited to try my hand at other savory pancakes as I’ve got lots of herbs growing on my city oasis (okay, it’s my deck).
Speaking of trying new things, we have so many new options as we navigate the new normal of offering virtual classes. On June 24 , we’re offering a virtual Spinach and Mushroom Crepe demonstration, a great opportunity if you’re wanting to continue to explore savory pancakes. You can also skip the takeout and gather your family to make Beef and Broccoli Lo Mein on Monday, June 22 (the Scallion Pancakes would be a perfect appetizer!) during our virtual Family Night Cook Along. We hope to “see” you soon!