I have long wanted to learn how to make scallion pancakes. Looking at the recipes and how many steps it takes to make these pancakes, it felt too overwhelming. I am a pretty good cook (ask Mr Sweetie and my team mates who are the recipients of my cooking! Ha! Ha!) However, I cook comfort food by feel. I thought that making scallion pancakes will be too complicated and I will never have the time to learn how to make them.
Having to work remotely from home, in between virtual meetings (or even during!), emails, phone calls, problem-solving, etc, I also get to play. (Or let us call it self-care as we are constantly being reminded and encouraged as what we should be doing nowadays!) I finally had the time to learn, teach myself and practice making these savory panckes. I can proudly say that I have recently acquired a new skill. And that is how to make perfectly flaky, crispy and slightly chewy scallion pancakes!
I watched four Youtube videos of people showing how to make scallion pancakes step by step. As I am writing this, I have just made these pancakes for the third time! And I cannot contain my joy that I think I have finally perfected it! I do not even need to watch the videos as I have done the first time. I now can make cong you bing aka scallion pancake from memory! And they are delicious and highly addicting. (Which is why I keep on making them!)
Scallion pancake is a savory unleavened flatbread filled with oil and minced scallions. The dough is pan-fried which makes it flaky, with crispy edges yet also has a slightly chewy texture.
I have tried scallion pancakes from San Francisco or Oakland Chinatown. Honestly, unless you eat them freshly fried out of the pan, it is not the best which is why I think I prefer my home cooked ones better.
I also realized that these pancakes are not difficult to make. After you get the steps down, they are easy. I also find kneading the dough so meditative and therapeutic.
I watched videos, read recipes and took the common ingredients, measurements and procedures from these recipes and combined them. And here is mine as inspired by all the chefs and people who shared their knowledge. Thank you very much! I will include the links of YouTube videos I have learned from at the end of this post.
- 1 cup measuring cup
- Mat or clean surface to knead the dough
- Rolling pin
- Cast iron skillet (not required but best for frying the pancakes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for brushing
- Coarse sea salt (optional)
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Combine 2 cups flour and 1 tsp. salt in a large bowl.
- Mix in 3/4 cup boiling water with a spatula until a dough forms.
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking, until dough is elastic and smooth, about 8-10 minutes.
- Cover with wet paper towel. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Divide dough into 2 pieces. Working with one at a time, roll out on a lightly floured work surface into a thin rectangle shape using a rolling pin.
- Brush a generous amount of sesame oil or vegetable oil on dough until covered and top with about ¼ cup scallions. Season with coarse sea salt for texture.
- Roll dough like a jelly roll into a thin cylinder.
- Then, starting at one end, roll the dough up tightly and shape into a cinnamon roll. Repeat with remaining dough. Brush with oil on top. Let rest at room temperature 5-10 minutes.
- Working with the first roll, roll out on a lightly floured surface by flattening one with your palm. Continue to flatten using a rolling pin until 5-6 inches in diameter. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-low. Fry pancake for 2-3 minutes per side. Turn frequently to prevent scallions from burning, until golden brown and crisp on both sides and cooked through. Total frying time each pancake is about 8 -10 minutes. Repeat with the second pancake. Cool down for few minutes before cutting into wedges.
- Serve with dipping sauce.
- Combine vinegar, soy sauce, chili oil, sesame oil, sugar, and red pepper flakes in a small bow. Serve as dipping sauce for pancakes.
- Most traditional recipes use sesame oil as filling. I ran out of sesame oil when I made the pancakes the third time. I used garlic olive oil instead. Oh my! Garlic EVOO took the pancakes to a totally new level. Delicious!
- You know that you have made flaky pancakes if after you fry them, you can hear them crackling after you cut or tear into them. You will see layers as well. They should also not be greasy or oily. Eat them right away while they are still hot!
- The dough can be saved to be fried later. However, I will not tell you how to on this post because I do not need to! I pretty much eat them all day with no leftovers for the next day!
- As for the sauce, the trick it to taste it. (This is also the secret to making a perfect Filipino Chicken Adobo but that is for the another blog post!)
There are so many recipes and videos on how to make Scallion Pancakes. Here are the ones I learned from:
- MAMA *The best one as taught by Grandma. Can’t beat grandma’s traditional recipe and cooking! With English subtitles.
- YuCanCook *This is my 2nd favorite tutorial video
- Food Wishes
- Angel Wong’s Kitchen *I learned from her video first.