Chinese Scallion Pancakes: Pancakes Gone Global

by Karen on Monday, February 28, 2011

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I’ve been looking forward to this post for a while now. Some fellow food bloggers OMG Yummy (@omgyummyblog), Chow and Chatter (@chowandchatter), Yumivore (@yumivore), and I were tweeting about our love for pancakes, when Rebecca from Chow and Chatter informed us that Pancake Day was just around the corner on March 8st. I took this with a grain of salt, assuming Pancake Day ranked along side the likes of Margarita Day and Chocolate Souffle Day. But this day does exist and has significance; it is also known as Shrove Tuesday in the UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia and Fat Tuesday in the US. Pancakes were traditionally consumed on this day as the last sweet and fatty meal before fasting for Lent.

We decided to celebrate the affair with a virtual pancake feast. Chow and Chatter is covering the British Pancake Day and OMG Yummy making pancake comfort food and Yumivore highlighting the occasion. And I’ve decided to do an unconventional pancake: scallion pancakes (cong you bing), one of my favorite Chinese snacks. And while they don’t contain eggs or sugar and aren’t made from a batter, I say they’re pancakes. I’d also classify these and these as pancakes too. Consider me a pancake liberal.

Cong you bing is a very popular Chinese unleavened flatbread that is rolled and cooked so that the crispy outside encloses layers of soft chewy dough studded with scallions. As a child I used to eat mounds of this savory bread by peeling back the entwined layers of dough, parts of which would be perfectly toasted brown. They’re delicious on their own or with eggs for breakfast, which is how I sometimes eat them.

Makes 6 scallion pancakes

– 2 cups of all purpose flour
– 1 cup of hot water
– 1 bundle of scallions, all parts thinly sliced
– kosher salt
– vegetable oil

Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and using a fork slowly pour in the hot water and mix with a fork until incorporated. Transfer onto a lightly floured surface and start kneading the dough for a few minutes. It may be sticky at first but continue to lightly flour your surface and hands if necessary. Roll into a large ball and cover with a damp cloth. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll into a log. Cut in half then cut each piece into three even pieces. Roll one ball of dough into a rectangular shape about 1/8 inch thick (or as close as you can get to a rectangle– this is not paramount so don’t worry if it isn’t perfect). Brush the entire area with some oil and sprinkle a big pinch of salt all over. Spread some of your sliced scallions all over and then lightly dust the entire area with some more flour. This will help keep your layers separated.

Roll up your dough from one end to another somewhat tightly. You’ll have a log shape at this point, and roll one end of the log to another so it spirals around like a snail. Tuck the end underneath the spiral mound.

With a lightly floured rolling pin, press down and roll the disk out again about ¼ of an inch thick, this time in a circular shape. Be careful not to over roll because you want to preserve those layers. If you roll over and over again, you may smoosh the layers together and end up with one thick and tough layer. Not good.

Heat a pan with some oil over medium high heat and cook each side for a minute or two until toasty and crunchy. Enjoy with some eggs or on its own. Happy Pancaking!




rebecca February 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm

oh my yours look so good wish we could have all meet in person to sample each others !

was fun working with you Karen

hugs Rebecca

Karen March 1, 2011 at 11:14 am

always a blast to collaborate with you!

elle marie February 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I really like savory pancakes…. have not had the chinese version, but love the Korean savory pancake.. they look quite similar.. I wonder if they are?

Karen March 1, 2011 at 11:15 am

The Korean version is actually a little different because it has eggs in it. But also savory and a little similar. I love those too!! Agh, too many amazing pancakes in the world!

Beth (OMG! Yummy) February 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Karen – what an interesting recipe with fascinating technique. I have to try this. I’ve eaten these before but not of my own hands.

I agree with Rebecca – wish we could taste everybody’s offerings – just have to plan a real meet-up one of these days. BlogHerFood perhaps???


Karen March 1, 2011 at 11:11 am

I hope we can all meet one day. Perhaps!

Belinda @zomppa February 28, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Oh, you know this is one of my favorite dishes of all time, but never seen it look quite this good!

Valerie February 28, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Ohhh I miss these so much! They look as good on here as I know they taste! Pancake Day is simply genius.

Orly @yumivore February 28, 2011 at 11:53 pm

If I could hop down to L.A. to try these right now, I would! Karen, this has been so much fun. Your photos make me wish I could eat my screen – or eat with my eyes! I agree with Beth and Rebecca, if only we could meet in person and sample each!

Karen March 1, 2011 at 11:08 am

One day, the stars will align and we can meet up in person. In the meantime let’s continue to virtually cook and share food together!

Swee San March 1, 2011 at 2:49 am

mmm Pancake Day.. gives me even more reasons to eat more pancakes !! wheee

deana@lostpastremembered March 1, 2011 at 6:02 am

I love scallion pancakes. In my new ‘hood’ there are no good Chinese places so I make my own Chinese food and love it. Scallion pancakes are a favorite of mine. I love being evil and dipping them in a little warm hoisin with fresh ginger grated into it… great recipe and tips for making them…. and the photos are fabulous!

Karen March 1, 2011 at 11:08 am

O wow, that is evil 😉 I sometimes dip mine in soy sauce too

Hannah @ Pickled Sweets March 1, 2011 at 6:26 am

mmm that’s like my favorite pancake, ever!

Jaap March 1, 2011 at 10:49 am

2 cups of flour and 1 cup of water? Are you sure that’s right because that makes a batter, not a dough.

Karen March 1, 2011 at 11:10 am

Yup, 2 cups flour 1 cup water. It’s definitely a dough, just a pretty wet one so make sure your hands and surface are dusted in flour before kneading.

Angela March 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Another suggestion to that recipe.. my mother adds a little bit of Sesame oil.

Sarah March 2, 2011 at 6:16 pm

These look really good, but I was under the impression that scallion pancakes need to have mochiko (mochi flour) to achieve that uniquely springy texture. Was I mistaken?

Karen March 2, 2011 at 7:39 pm

I’ve never seen them made with mochi flour before but, I think the dough needs the gluten (which rice flour wouldn’t have) to achieve that chewiness. Maybe a combo of the two would result in springy and chewy pancakes? You have me curious now though, will investigate!

Irvin March 3, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I LOVE LOVE LOVE scallion pancakes! Those look great. My used to make those all the time at home, but I haven’t had hers in ages. Homemade scallion pancakes are so much better than anything you can get at the restaurants, because the fresher they are, the better!

And I dip mine in soy sauce with a little hot sauce (usually sriracha) and a little sesame oil.

@Sarah. I’ve never seen a recipe using sweet rice flour for the scallion pancankes. My sense is they would get TOO chewy and springy. Mochi is basically sweet rice flour (mochiko) and water. A scallion pancake made just of that, would basically be mochi with onions in it. Way too chewy. I think the wheat flour is needed for the doughiness. But that has me thinking. I wonder if you can make these gluten free with a blend of other flours? I might have to experiment with that.

Karen March 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm

O a lil sriracha! That sounds great!

Thanks for the explanation Irvin– “doughiness” is a much better way to explain the texture of scallion pancakes. Gluten-free cong you bing? Brilliant!!

Jason March 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Great dish. I used to have a friend who would always make something similar to yours. They were out of this world. Thanks.

purabi naha June 21, 2011 at 3:44 am

How interesting! The Indian pancakes are also similar…only they are a bit more spicy. Thanks for sharing this.

Cindy April 12, 2012 at 12:06 am

Thanks for such an amazing recipe. I just made them and they turned out perfect! Thanks! 🙂

Karen April 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Wonderful! Glad you enjoyed them 🙂

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