Crispy outside, soft inside and bursting with fragrant scallions are the hallmark of our homemade scallion pancakes. Every year I crave the homemade pan-fried scallion pancakes and I’m never satisfied with supermarket or store bought ones. They’re always either too oily (store bought) or require a treasure map to find the scallions (supermarket).
In our home, Ken is the scallion pancake master. But this year I watched a couple youtube videos and suggested a few tweaks to help make the pancakes more flaky and layered. There are very few ingredients in the whole recipe. It just requires some time and patience – mostly while waiting for the dough to rest and relax.
There are only two ingredients in the dough – flour and water – so it’s surprisingly easy to make. This dough version is made with warm water. Hot water makes a softer dough and cold water makes a chewier dough. I previously made hot-water dough, but the it’s harder to knead hot dough so I opted for warm water this year and I’m happy to report it works just as well.
Stir the flour while slowing pouring in the warm water. After incorporating all the water, it will become a dough ball that is quite sticky. But don’t worry, just sprinkle in enough flour to knead a few times and form a dough ball. It doesn’t need extensive kneading since we don’t need an elastic dough. The dough just needs to be uniform and form into a ball. Once the dough rests for 30 minutes, it will relax into a nice only-slightly-tacky ball.
While the dough rests, time to prep the star of the show – scallions! Lots and lots of scallions! I like to slice the thicker white end of the scallions in half so they’re more uniform in shape with the green parts.
More scallions the merrier! I chopped up a pile of 9 stalks of scallions for the 4 pancakes and it was finger licking delicious.
After resting, the dough ball becomes wonderfully soft and smooth. The resting step is really important to relax the gluten and will let the dough become easier to work with.
We floured the surface to prevent the dough from sticking to it. However, I remembered afterwards that we could have just oiled the surface a little and the dough won’t stick either.
After forming the dough into a long log, cut it into even single-scallion-pancake portions. We cut the dough into 4 balls for thicker and chewier pancakes. Next time I’ll try cutting into 6 pancakes for thinner and crisper ones.
After evenly rolling out and salting the dough, Ken poured oil into the middle of the dough then folded the edges to distribute the oil. The pour and fold method works better than our previous method of first mixing the oil with the scallions. This time the scallions didn’t keep bursting out of the pancake when we rolled them into scallion pancakes.
Then of course, sprinkle on a handful of scallions!
Starting from the edge, roll the dough over the scallions into a long log. Then comes a step I learned from youtube – elongate the log into a thinner and longer log, then twist it into a rope. This is supposed to help it become flakier.
Roll the dough-rope inwards into a cute spiral and press down slightly to help it hold together.
Now comes a crucial step – more resting! Before rolling out each dough-spiral into a pancake, it needs to rest for another 30 minutes. To become flaky pancakes, the dough needs to relax and de-stress itself into a delicious ball of scallion goodness.
Once the dough is relaxed, roll it out into scallion pancakes. At this point, the dough can be frozen or cooked right away. None of our dough has ever made it into the freezer yet – they’re so crispy and fragrant right off the stove it’s hard to stop eating!
To cook the scallion pancakes, lightly spray the hot cooking pan with some oil and add the pancake. Then cover and cook for 1 minute. Flip, cover and cook for another minute.
Voila!! Scallion pancakes well worth the wait.
Note: another way to separate the layers is to add in 酥油 (blended flour and oil) instead of just pouring in oil. To make the 酥油 flour-oil-blend, mix 2Tbsp of olive oil， 2 Tbsp of pork fat (猪油), 1.5 tsp salt and 1/2 cup of flour together。Spread the flour-oil-blend onto the rolled out pancake dough, then top with scallions.
Scallion Pancakes (蔥油餅)
makes 4 large and thick pancakes
- 3 cups of flour
- 1.5 cups of warm water
- 9 stalks of scallion, chopped
- oil, canola or olive
- Mix flour with warm water and knead a few times. Form into a ball. Place dough ball in bowl and cover with damp paper towels. Let rest for 30 minutes.
- Lightly oil the dough surface and knead a few times. Form back into a ball. Place dough ball back into bowl, cover with damp paper towel and let rest for another 20 minutes.
- Lightly oil a working surface. Take out the dough ball and form into a log.
- Cut the dough log into single pancake portions, 4 to 6 portions.
- Roll out the dough portion into a thin rectangle.
- Sprinkle salt over the dough-rectangle and pour a bit of oil into the center of the rectangle. Then fold over the edges of the dough to spread the oil over the surface. Add a handful of scallions on top of the oiled-dough surface.
- Lift the long edge of the dough-rectangle and fold a bit over the scallions. Repeat the folding until it becomes a scallion-dough-log. Then elongate the dough log a bit, then hold one end and twist the other end until the dough-log becomes a dough-rope.
- Take one end of the dough-rope and start coiling it into a spiral with two layers. Press the top end down a bit so it sticks.
- After all the scallion-dough-spirals are formed, cover them in the bowl with damp paper towel or place in plastic bags and rest them for 30 minutes.
- Roll out each dough spiral into a scallion pancake.
- Lightly oil a heated pan then add the scallion pancake. Place a lid over the pan and cook for 1 minute. Then open the lid, flip the pancake, re-lid the pan and cook for 1 more minute.
- Voila! Crispy outside, soft inside and bursting with scallion pancakes – done!