Scallion pancakes (蔥油餅) is one of the most popular street snacks in East Asia. They’re crispy pan-fried pancakes made from plain unleavened dough rolled together with fresh scallions and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. Serve them with a warm glass of soy milk for a simple, handy, and delicious breakfast. They are also great to serve with saucy dishes such as mapo tofu, stewed spicy eggplant, or dipped in Guilin chili sauce and black vinegar as a snack.
Traditionally, they’re made with lard, which really brings out the flavour of the pancake, and in my recipe, I used vegetable oil in the roux. It might be comparatively less fragrant, but the roux gives an irresistible crispiness to the pancakes.
50g all purpose or bread flour
80ml light olive oil or vegetable oil (such as sunflower)
1 tsp fine sea salt
600g bread flour
350ml warm water (65C)
1 tsp fine sea salt
200g finely chopped scallions, about 20 stalks (green parts only)
About 6 tbsp vegetable oil or light olive oil for frying
4 teaspoon sesame seeds to top pancakes (optional)
- Medium to large size food grade plastic bag or ziplock, cut open 2 sides but one, so you have the bag that you can open like a book
- Parchment papers to stack pancakes together to avoid sticking
Put 50g flour with a teaspoon of fine sea salt in a medium heatproof bowl. Heat 80ml vegetable oil in a small saucepan on medium high heat, just before it starts to smoke, remove from heat and carefully pour into the bowl together with salt and flour, mix with a fork or chopsticks until a smooth paste is formed, set aside to cool.
For the dough
Mix together flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and add warm water. Use a wooden spatula to mix until no dry bits remaining and a rough dough is formed. Remove dough from bowl and use your hands to knead it for about 3-5 minutes until soft and elastic. Use a clean, damp cloth or silicon lid to cover dough and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
Remove cloth/silicon lid and lightly knead dough a few times until smooth. Divide dough into 8 equal portions, cover remaining 7 dough with a damp cloth while you are preparing, using a rolling pin, roll out each piece into a round shape, about ¼ cm thick (or similar to the thickness of crepe, the dough is thin but it’s pliable). Smear a thin layer of roux all over, saving 2 cm space from edge, sprinkle chopped scallions evenly onto the pancakes.
Gently roll the pancake into a sausage shape. Slightly fold the two ends of the sausage and seal, then coil it into a spiral (think a top view of a cinnamon bun or snail). The ends should be sticky enough to hold the pancake in a round shape. Put the spiral between the two sides of the plastic, sprinkle ½ teaspoon sesame seeds onto the top of pancake, and use your heel of palm to press on it slightly to flatten the pancake between the two sides of plastic, then use a rolling pin to roll and flatten the pancake until just under 1cm thick (It is okay to have some scallions got pressed out on the sides).
Repeat the remaining dough and stack each pancakes between parchment papers. You may store the uncooked pancakes, with parchment paper in a ziplock, freeze up to 1 month.
Heat about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Cook pancakes one at a time, about 2 minutes per side or until crispy and golden brown. Then flip to the other side and fry for another 2 minutes. Repeat for remaining pancakes. Keep cooked pancakes in an oven at 100C until you are ready to serve them. Serve warm.