My friend Michelle originally comes from Taiwan, and she recommended this recipe for scallion pancakes by The Plant-Based Wok. Before sharing the recipe with me, she tried the recipe, and gave her approval for authenticity! This recipe for scallion pancakes is time-consuming (the dough rests in the refrigerator overnight). However, it is not difficult, and has very few ingredients. Plus you can prepare the pancakes and freeze them for easy and spontaneous preparation some other time!
The original recipe demonstration gives a number of choices for how to roll and fold the dough. I went for option two, which I have described below, and it turned out with nice crispy, flaky layers. I added the optional Szechuan pepper, hand-ground with a mortar and pestle. The fragrance is powerful even during the grinding process, and I enjoyed the unique spicy sweet flavour it added.
Tasting these pancakes reminded me of my visit to Taiwan in 2018. During that five-day trip, one of the highlights was definitely trying foods from the street markets. In fact, I made it a point to visit a number of street markets in Taipei and Jiufen, on the northeast coast. I could write a whole post just about the street food tasting! For now, I am sharing my experience of making scallion pancakes, a street food I did not have a chance to try in Taiwan, but which reminds me of the local flavours.
1 1/2 c. cake flour
2 1/2 c. plain flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 c. hot water
2/3 c water, at room temperature
1 c. chopped scallions / spring onions
1/2 c. plain flour
1/2 c. oil
1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper or five-spice powder or black pepper
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp brown sugar
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, salt and hot water. Mix with a wooden spoon then add the room temperature water. Use hands to form the dough into a ball. Then brush with oil and cover, then refrigerate overnight.
Finely chop the scallions. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the scallions with the 1/2 cup flour, ground Sichuan pepper and salt. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat then pour over the scallion mixture. Stir to form a thin paste.
Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each piece of dough into a thin rectangular shape. Use a pastry brush to spread some of the oil mixture on the surface. Roll the dough into a log, jelly-roll style from both sides so it meets in the middle to form one tube. Then coil the rolled up dough into a snail shell shape from both directions. You should end up with two small snail shells. Put one on top of the other. Pat to flatten a little bit, and then set aside.
Roll out the dough and keep a circular shape. Don’t press so hard that the layers disappear.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Brush the pan with oil and add one pancake. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Flip and cook covered for another three minutes. Use the back sides of two flat spatulas to squeeze the pancake edges together gently, to loosen up the layers. Repeat for all pancakes, then serve hot with dipping sauce.
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