By Chef Linda
For some of us, it’s not a Chinese meal unless we’ve had our scallion pancakes. The pancake should be a crispy delight, laden with chopped scallions, and dipped in a salty-sour sauce. Sadly, when you order takeout, they are often an oily, soggy mess that disappoint rather than delight us. Now, you can recreate these at home and win the love and admiration of friends, family and maybe even a few enemies.
Scallion pancakes are, or should be, vegan…they are basically flour, water and scallions. This recipe uses a few simple ingredients and while yes, it does call for working with dough, it’s a fun dish to make and one that everyone can try their hand at in the process. Kids will love making…and eating it!
If you don’t have a food processor, no worries, it works just as well mixing everything by hand, but just be careful of the hot water used. The secret to creating a flaky, layered pancake as opposed to a heavy, dense discus, is in the multiple rollings. By rolling the dough into a tube, then coiling and rolling again…and repeating, you create the light, flaky layers that make this the real deal.
I served these to my family and went on and on about how simple these were to make and how I need dreamed how easy this would be. Big mistake. My son asked with hope in his heart, “Well if these are so easy to make, why can't you make them every day.” …maybe I will.
Flaky Scallion Pancakes
For the Pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup toasted sesame seed oil
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, about 2 cups, reserve one scallion for the sauce
For the Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon finely sliced scallion greens
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons real maple syrup
Grape seed, peanut or other high-heat oil for frying
Place flour and salt in bowl of food processor. With processor running, slowly drizzle in about 3/4 of boiling water. Process for 15 seconds. If dough does not come together, drizzle in a little more water and process again, until it just comes together. Do not over work the dough, it will make it tough. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead a few times to form a smooth ball. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to overnight in the fridge.
Remove dough from bowl and divide into four even pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one ball at a time into a circle about 8-inches in diameter. Using a pastry brush, paint a very thin layer of sesame oil over the top of the disk. Roll disk up like a jelly roll.
Twist the roll into a tight coil like a snake, tucking the end underneath. Flatten gently with your hand, then re-roll into an 8-inch disk.
Brush re-rolled dough with another layer or sesame oil, sprinkle with 1/2 cup scallions, and roll up like a jelly roll again. Twist into a spiral, flatten gently.
Re-roll into a 7-inch disk. Repeat steps two and three with remaining pancakes.
Combine all the sauce ingredients and set aside at room temperature.
Heat oil in an 8-inch nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering and carefully slip pancake into the hot oil. Cook, shaking the pan gently until first side is an even golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip with a spatula or tongs, and continue to cook, shaking pan gently, until second side is even golden brown, about 2 minutes longer.
Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season with coarse salt, cut into 6 wedges. Serve immediately with sauce for dipping. Repeat with remaining 3 pancakes.