Scallion Pancakes #BreadBakers

Pregnancy will do strange things to a person. (And right about now, I'm picturing everyone who knows me going "Wha...? Wait! You're not… You can't be…" Simmer down, people. I'm not and I can't be—unless I'm some kind of medical miracle. I just needed an intro here, k?) I mean, aside from the general weirdness of hosting a potential little human bean inside you a la "Alien," I'm thinking specifically about the pregnancy/food connection. Inexplicable cravings for things you'd never otherwise touch (thankfully, I had no cravings that I can recall). Sudden aversions to things you used to love and to THAT I can relate because it hit me hard in one instance—Chinese food. I LOVED Chinese food. Takeout places were legion where we lived (the giant ethnic melting pot of Queens, NY) and we tried them all. We were regulars at New York's Chinatown, too just a quick subway ride away. (Wo Hop for the win!) But pretty much the second I found out I was pregnant, all bets were off. The smell, the taste, the very thought of Chinese food brought on an epic queasiness that still makes me shudder 25 years later. And now that I think of it, I've never really gotten the love back. An entire cuisine condemned by the raging hormones of pregnancy. But there was one exception to the Chinese food ban that for some inexplicable reason didn't make me want to hurl. Scallion pancakes. 

I loved them then, I love them now. Some people say that the mark of a good chef is one's ability to make an omelet. I say the mark of good Chinese (or Chinese-American, since it's really become a cuisine unto itself) restaurant is the quality of its scallion pancakes. It seems like it should be an easy thing but so many places get it inexplicably WRONG—at least in my humble, non-Chinese opinion. Crispy and chewy at the same time, layer upon thin layer of flaky, savory goodness…a scallion pancake is a thing of beauty.

They're also very easy—and quick—to make at home, no need to wait for delivery. The dough is very simple, just flour and boiling water. (Can we talk about the awesomeness of hot water dough? I love the feel of it, silky smooth and elastic. It's a dream to work with.) And there's no need to wait while the dough proofs—there's just a short rest before rolling and you can use the time to prep the rest of the ingredients—or to preheat the oven because these are cooked on a griddle. That's the kind of (near) instant gratification that warms the cockles of my impatient little heart. You neeeeeed these, you really do. Pregnant or not.

These pancakes are my contribution to this month's #BreadBakers theme: Griddle Breads. Don't forget to check out the links below to see what the other BreadBakers came up with—they're an incredibly creative bunch. And thanks Ansh for hosting!

Scallion Pancakes

Ingredients

Pancakes

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • toasted sesame oil (for brushing the dough)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced scallions (green part only)
  • 1/4 (or more as needed) vegetable oil (for cooking the pancakes)
  • kosher or flaked sea salt (optional, for sprinkling)

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ginger root, finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Directions

  1. Add the flour to the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Turn the machine on and slowly add about 3/4 of the water and continue to process until the dough comes together and rides the blade. Add more water a little at a time if needed.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead to form a smooth ball. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for about 30 minutes.
  4. While the dough is resting prepared the dipping sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  5. Once the dough has rested, divide it into four pieces. Form each piece (keep the ones you're not working with covered) into a ball, then on a lightly floured surface, flatten slightly and roll into a circle at 8" across. 
  6. Brush the surface of the circle with a thin coating of sesame oil, then roll up the circle jelly-roll style, twist the roll into a coil, flatten and roll out again into an 8" circle.
  7. Brush again with sesame oil and sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the sliced scallions evenly over the top. Roll up into a jelly roll again, then into a spiral, flatten and roll out into a 7" circle. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.
  8. Heat the oil in a cast-iron griddle or non-stick pan over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, carefully add one pancake at a time and cook for about 2 minutes until the pancake is golden brown, shaking the pan to ensure even cooking. Flip the pancakes and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, sprinkle with salt if desired and cover while you cook the remaining pancakes. Cut into six wedges and serve (the sooner the better to retain crispness).

From the Food Lab at Serious Eats

Notes

I always had trouble rolling things into a circle. Mine always looked like oblongs until I found out I was doing it wrong. To keep the circle shape, slightly flatten the ball of dough, then roll from the center to the edge (but not OVER the edge), then give the round a quarter turn, roll from the center to the edge again, lather, rinse, repeat. Lightly flour the surface if needed to keep the dough from sticking. I get perfect circles every time.

When rolling and coiling the pancakes, the tighter the better. Don't go nuts, but the tighter the roll, the more flaky layers you'll get.

A tortilla warmer is great for keeping pancakes warm while you cook. Another use for a single-use gadget. Alton Brown would be proud.

#BreadBakers: Hot Off the Griddle

This month's BreadBakers' theme is Griddle Breads—roti, crumpets, English muffins…any breads made on a griddle—hosted by Anshie at Spice Roots. Here's what our creative bakers came up with.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

BreadBakers
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