Scallion Pancakes

葱油饼 (cong you bing), or scallion pancake, is served alongside dipping sauce as an appetizer at some Chinese restaurants. It is delicious. It's made by rolling a disc of dough into a cigar, and then twisting it into a coil which is again rolled out, forming lots of flaky layers. It's then pan-fried in oil, so that the outside is really crisp while the inside is flaky, soft, and filled with salty scallion goodness. So yeah, you usually order it as an appetizer, but I could definitely eat a whole stack for dinner. Or any time of the day. They're very good wrapped around barbecued anything, as well.

It's pretty simple to do, too. It's not a quick recipe, but rolling out the dough takes up a majority of the time. You could just buy a frozen package of these from your local Asian grocery, but those store-bought pancakes won't come close to the deliciousness of home-made ones. You can even stack these between wax paper or plastic wrap and stick them in the freezer for up to a month, and just throw them into a pan when you want them.

Scallion Pancakes

2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of warm water, plus some extra
3 scallions, thinly sliced
kosher salt
vegetable oil or vegetable shortening (shortening will give you a slightly flakier pancake. mm.)

Start off by making your dough. I like to do it in a food processor because I'm lazy, but you could just as easily do it by hand. Start off by adding 1/2 cup of warm water to the flour and incorporating well. Gradually add water in teaspoon increments until the dough is pliable and easily comes off the sides of the bowl. You want the dough to be just barely sticky, but not rock-hard. Cover with a damp tea towel and let sit for 30 minutes so the dough can relax.

Next, roll the dough out with your hands into a semblance of a log, and divide into six pieces. Take one piece out and cover what you're not using. Roll it out into a round about 10" across, then brush with oil or shortening, sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and plenty of scallions (the more, the better!). Pick up one end of the round and begin rolling it into a tight little cigar.

Pinch the ends of the cigar to seal them, and then twist the dough around itself until it forms a spiral. Press this down.

Roll this out again into 8 - 10" round. Don't go too thin, otherwise all the layers will smoosh together. 1/8" thickness should do. Heat up a non-stick or cast iron pan on medium heat, and add enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the pan. Oil = crispiness, which is what we want. Don't skimp!

When the oil is hot enough so that a small piece of dough starts sizzling immediately after being added, throw in one of your pancakes. Cook for about 3 - 4 minutes a side, turning over when it's golden brown.

Drain the cooked pancake on a paper towel, and slice into wedges when you're ready to serve. These are great by themselves, but you can also mix up a little sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar and ginger if you'd like. Enjoy!

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  • Blogger Gillsnthrills says so:
    July 14, 2008 2:34 PM  

    I love getting scallion pancakes when I go to Chinatown or Flushing. Maybe I should just try to make them. That never occurred to me. top  

  • Blogger Susan says so:
    July 14, 2008 3:07 PM  

    I hope you do try them! They aren't hard to make, and they're so good hot out of the pan. top  

  • Anonymous GirlCanBake says so:
    July 14, 2008 4:40 PM  

    These look totally mouth watering! I've never made them on my won, but the thought of eating one fresh out of the pan is totally inspiring! Thank you for the lovely photo. top  

  • Anonymous Rachel says so:
    July 14, 2008 6:14 PM  

    Yum! One of my favorite things! I might just make these tonight. top  

  • Anonymous Lobster Tails says so:
    July 14, 2008 10:56 PM  

    I always see these on the menu at asian restaurants, but have never actually tried one. I'll definitely being trying this recipe though! top  

  • Blogger [eatingclub] vancouver || js says so:
    July 15, 2008 1:13 AM  

    Those scallion pancakes look so darn gorgeous. Darn it! I was pretty content going along my life not knowing how to make scallion pancakes. I figure, if I don't know how to make them, I won't have them as often. Now, I'm bookmarking this page. . . top  

  • Blogger Chantal says so:
    July 18, 2008 8:34 AM  

    yummy, i made these a moment ago, didn;t have any escallion so i garlic and basil, very delicious, can't wait to try it with escallion top  

  • Blogger Nate-n-Annie says so:
    July 28, 2008 1:45 PM  

    I haven't had these in forever!

    So there's no oil in the dough, just for frying? Sounds pretty healthy! top  

  • Blogger Susan says so:
    July 28, 2008 3:22 PM  

    girlcanbake, rachel, lobstertails, and js: I hope you get a chance to try these!

    Chantal: I'm glad you liked them, and garlic and basil sounds delicious!

    nate and annie: there is a little oil in between the layers of dough so that it remains flaky. I don't know if I would call these 'healthy', but they definitely won't kill you ;) top  

  • Blogger prdtofthe80s says so:
    July 30, 2008 2:27 PM  

    Wow I love this recipe. I always make a point of ordering these at restaurants and now I can make them at home!
    I love how you can kind of "customize" the pancake too, by adding different fillings or herbs and spices - I'm thinking of using a chili oil next time, or even some duck fat - which would be quite indulgent, but pretty delicious as well. :)
    Thank you for the recipe! top  

  • Blogger Jack says so:
    August 08, 2008 3:26 PM  

    Another delicious variety can be made by simply basting a beaten egg over the pancake while frying. If done early enough, the egg and dough will bake well together. I saw one vendor do this in China and have loved it this way since. top  

  • Blogger Deborah Dowd says so:
    August 09, 2008 6:22 PM  

    These look so good!! I tried to make them once and was disappointed, so maybe I will give it another try since yours look so good! top  

  • Anonymous Sophie says so:
    August 11, 2008 11:12 AM  

    We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email sophiekiblogger@gmail.com if interested. Thanks :) top  

  • Anonymous Anonymous says so:
    November 02, 2008 12:19 PM  

    These are absolutley delicious!
    Thank you so much! top  

  • Anonymous María Lourdes says so:
    March 13, 2009 5:52 PM  

    The pictures you use with this recipe are great! I posted on my blog a Spanish recipe for scallion pancakes (my family is Chinese) and used your photos to illustrate the recipe, crediting this site for the pictures, with a link to your homepage. I hope you don't mind, but if you do, please contact me at sarmientosdelavid(at)gmail(dot)com and I will remove them inmediately. Thanks for a wonderful website! top  

  • OpenID ricecakeconfessional says so:
    April 12, 2009 6:26 AM  

    Tried these this afternoon and paired them with a fried egg (I was craving them street style). Thanks for the easy recipe and lovely pics! They turned out pretty darn good for my first try. top