Scallion Pancakes

Over the years, I’ve eaten my share of scallion pancakes.  And then there’re my friends John and Kevin who’ve joined me in chowing down on large orders of these addictive items.   When I first learned to make this from my grandmother, she taught me to rollout the dough, brush it with oil, spread a nice layer of scallions.  At that point, I would fold the dough in half, roll it out, add more scallions and repeat the process 6 times before cooking them.  Chef Ming Tsai has a nice way of making them with the recipe presentation over at (and for now, let’s just skip the salsa). In fact, it was an agreed to item for my wedding reception dinner at his (now closed) Blue Ginger, Thanksgiving weekend 2010….and yes my friends John and Kevin were there to help dig into the pancakes (laughter).  The scallion pancakes recipe can also be found at Simply Ming (p. 240, 241)

salt and flour for the scallion pancake

The hot water dough (microbatch) for the scallion pancakes was:

dry ingredients whisked to distribute evenly

1/2 c + 1 T water (boiling hot)
1 c all-purpose flour
1/8t salt

so this was about a cup of boiling hot water which I transferred to a measuring cup

Into a large stainless steel bowl, I mixed the flour and salt. Then I slowly added the boiling water bit by bit, mixing with chopsticks until a ball formed

dough formed

and when the dough wasn’t  too hot to handle (it’s possible not all the water may be used – but for my microbatch, I had to add 1 more tablespoon!) I had to try to bring the dough into a ball shape.  Once the ball of dough is formed, I turned the dough out onto a floured board and kneaded the dough on the floured board until it became smooth and elastic (the instructions said it might take as much as 20  minutes – this took about 15 minutes for me).  I reformed the dough into a ball, returned it to the bowl, and coveedr it with a damp cloth. Now the dough had to rest for an hour.

To actually make the pancakes, I would need:

scallions for the filling

1 or 2  scallions, thinly sliced/minced – enough to make 4 packed tablespoons
¼ cup grapeseed oil

4 T of minced scallions
(it would turn out to be 2 T per pancake)

So the pancake making process would begin by turning my rested dough onto a floured board.  I would then have to roll the ball of

ready to roll out the dough

dough into a ‘log’.  I would then have to cut log in half. Roll out one of the logs very thinly (1/8″ thick) into a large rectangle. At that

rolled into a long and then split into two parts

point, I could brush my flattened dough with the a bit of grapeseed oil and then season it with salt and pepper and cover lightly

Getting ready to assemble a pancake by rolling out a log like a sheet of nori and then brushing it grapeseed oil

with the scallions.  In the original recipe Chef Tsai brushes a mix of grapeseed (or canola) oil with sesame seed oil; but in this case I wanted to make it a little more like the original without the sesame seed and black pepper.

scattering on 2 T minced scallions after lightly salting the oiled dough

What makes Chef Tsai’s technique interesting is that he now rolls the rectangle away from him, much like rolling a maki roll (or jelly

making a tight roll, rolling the filled dough away from me

roll as the metaphor fits) but then finishes my twisting the end of the ‘maki’ 4 or 5 times and then coiling the ‘maki roll’. The process

twisting the ‘maki’

ends by connecting the outer end underneath the pancake to secure it and rolling the coil FLAT about 1/4″ thick.

Coiling the scallion pancake roll


scallion pancake in its final form


transferred until cooking time (another pancake would be assembled and stacked on top of this one – didn’t want them to stick together)

Cooking the pancake is a matter of getting my wok heated at 50% max power, adding oil (swirled to coat the wok cooking surface)

cooking on medium heat about 3m a side (with some help from my wife)

and cooking each side about 3 minutes until golden brown.

While my wife was helping out with cooking the pancake (someone had to take the pictures); I turned my attention to making Chef

dim sum dipping sauce assembled together

Ming Tsai’s dim sum dipping sauce.  And while I didn’t have sambal handy in the kitchen, a microbatch sauce would be:

  • 3/4 t chili garlic sauce
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1/4 t sesame oil

The microbatch recipe made 2 6″ pancakes. Once everything was done, the pancake was cut into 8 wedges and plated with the dim sum dipping sauce.  Of course, my wife was

Dinner appetizer: Ming Tsai Scallion Pancakes.


too excited to have freshly made scallion pancake that she filched two wedges and proclaimed how tasty they were.   Really, that said it all.  Ok John, Kevin – come and get it!

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