The first time I tasted scallions pancakes was at a Chinese restaurant by our house in San Jose California. It came with a wonderful sauce that tasted like sweet soy sauce with some hint of fresh ginger and garlic. Wow! We couldn’t believe how flaky and tasty it was, so much that we fought over the very last piece! It soon became our favorite appetizer! It turns out that it is also a very popular Chinese street food and breakfast! I later discovered that you can buy them in the freezer section of Asian grocery stores. But it was only years later that I ventured to make them from scratch. Once you learn how to roll and flatten the pancakes you will too be making them. You can get the whole family to participate and crank them out more quickly. So now, we always have some in the freezer for a quick appetizer or to accompany a green salad! One advantage of making them from scratch is that you can add spices like fresh garlic or chilis if you like. You can even incorporate some turmeric and curry to make the perfect addition to any soup, like Dahl lentil soup, Coconut curry corn soup, or to dip in a Cream of mushroom soup. You get the idea!
These pancakes are better when pan fried at the last minute. You can keep them hot in the oven on a low setting. We usually prepare the dough ahead of time, add the scallion and stack each pancake separated with a sheet of parchment paper because uncooked pancakes will stick together. At this point you can either refrigerate them or freeze them. That’s the easiest way to get perfect scallion pancakes whenever you feel like having some!
Even though the pancakes are quite flavorful on their own because of the scallions, a light sauce that combines a little salt, sugar and some spices makes the perfect addition. You can in fact use this sauce on just about everything, tofu, tempeh, potatoes, stir-fried vegetables.
Making The dough
The trick here is to use hot water. This is what will yield the perfect dough that isn’t too rubbery or too chewy because the hot water breaks down the gluten. You are not looking for a dough that has a lot of air gaps like you would want for making sourdough bread for example. For that, you need to use cold water! You can substitute all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour if you prefer.
In order to end up with light and layered pancakes, you need to follow a few simple steps like rolling the crepe with scallions and coiling it twice or more (like you would for a cinnamon roll!) By doing this you add layers, flakiness that makes these pancakes so yummy! Don’t worry it isn’t complicated and once you do it you will notice the difference.
Before serving, cut the large pancake into smaller sliced and serve immediately. They will cool down fast but they are so good that they won’t last long. The recipe yields 4 large 8″ rounds that can make 4 large slices or 8 smaller ones. You can double the recipe so that you have an extra batch in the freezer that can be heated up quickly. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
Let’s make it!
Easy Flaky Scallion Pancakes
- Rolling Pin
- Cast iron pan
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar (regular, brown or coconut)
- 1 tsp chili paste
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil (toasted even better)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1-2 cups chopped scallion green part only
Prepare the dough
- In a large bowl combine the flour and drizzle the boiling water, a little at a time.
- Using chopsticks, gently mix the liquid and flour (so that you don't burn your fingers!) and knead by hands until you have a smooth dough ball.
- Cover with plastic and let the dough rest for 10 minutes to half an hour (or refrigerate overnight)
Make the sauce
- Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Set aside.
Make the pancakes
- Take the dough ball and cut it in half and then again so that you end up with 4 balls of equal size.
- Dust your working surface with a little flour.
- Using a rolling pin, roll one ball into an even 8" round.
- Pour some sesame oil into a shallow small bowl.
- Dip a brush into some sesame oil and lightly cover the surface of the pancake.
- Now is time to add the chopped scallions and spread them evenly.
- Roll the round as you would roll a fat cigar, then snake it like a coil and tuck the end under.
- Repeat the process with the other 3 balls.
- Take each coil and flatten it again with a rolling pin.
- Brush each pancake with more sesame oil.
- Roll each pancake into a cigar and a coil.
- Flatten each pancake one more time to 7-8" round.
- You are now ready to pan-fry.
- Prepare a plate with a sheet of paper towel.
- Put 1 Tbsp of oil into a thick bottom pan like a cast iron pan on medium heat.
- Cook one pancake at a time. for about 2 minutes for one side and another minute for the other.
- Set on the plate with a paper towel to absorb any extra oil.
- Cut into small wedges and serve immediately with the dipping sauce.