I will never forget my first taste of scallion pancakes as a student in Taipei. I bought them at a small stand next to the university where I was studying Mandarin. The aroma of fried scallions hit me first, causing my mouth to water. Freshly fried, the pancakes were crisp and slightly chewy. Serve these as a snack or a side dish with stir-fried meat, vegetables, or seafood.
- 3 cups cake flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons corn oil
- 1¾ cups boiling water
- ¼ cup or more all-purpose flour, if necessary, for kneading
- ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
- ¾ cup minced scallion greens
- ¾ cup canola or corn oil
Stir the flours and salt in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. Add the corn oil and the boiling water, and stir until a rough dough forms. If the dough is too soft, knead in about ¼ cup more flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth, kneading in more all-purpose flour as necessary. Cover with a cloth or wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes, or longer if possible.
On a very lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a long snakelike roll about 1 inch in diameter. Cut the roll into 24 pieces. Keep the unused dough covered with a damp towel as you work.
With a rolling pin, roll out one piece of dough, cut side down on the work surface, into a 5-inch circle. Brush the top with a little sesame oil and sprinkle with some of the minced scallion greens. Roll up the circle like a jelly roll and pinch the ends to seal. Flatten the roll slightly with the rolling pin, and coil it into a snail shape, with the seam on the inside. Pinch the end to secure it and set aside on a lightly floured surface. Prepare the remaining pancakes, and let them rest for 30 minutes uncovered.
Reflour the work surface and roll each coiled pancake out to a 4-inch circle. Place them on a lightly floured tray. Let them rest for 30 minutes uncovered, or longer if possible. Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Heat a large, heavy skillet, add the oil, and heat to 350°F. Put a few of the pancakes in the pan, not touching, and fry over medium heat, turning once, until golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a spatula and drain briefly in a colander, then transfer to absorbent paper. Arrange the cooked pancakes on a cookie sheet and keep them warm in the oven while you fry the remaining pancakes, reheating the oil between batches. Serve immediately or keep them warm in the oven.
Serving size is 1 pancake.