After posting the Thai coconut custard pancake recipe, I’m in an Asian pancake mood. Among all savory pancakes I’ve tried around Asia, my favorite is still the Chinese scallion pancake.
The Chinese name is con you bing. It is a rolled unleavened bread cooked in hot oil in a frying pan. Crispy in spots and slightly chewy inside, it is also a popular street food in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. Unlike Western pancakes that are made with batter, Chinese scallion pancakes are made with dough.
Flour is placed in a bowl, a well is created at the center and into the well goes water and sesame seed oil. Whether the water should be boiling, warm or cold, or a combination, is a matter of preference. The temperature of the water will affect the texture of the pancake after frying.
So, the water and oil is stirred into the flour until the mixture starts to come together.
The still loose though is dumped on the work surface and kneaded until it forms into a ball. Alternatively, knead in a stand mixer using a dough hook.
After the dough has rested, it is rolled into a log and the log is cut into smaller pieces. Each piece becomes a pancake.
A piece of dough is rolled thin and sliced scallions are spread on the surface. The dough is then rolled to seal in the scallions and to form the base of the layers.
The rolled dough is wound into a coil and the coil is flattened with a rolling pin to a thickness of about a quarter of an inch.
The pancakes are fried in hot oil, on both sides, until golden and crisp.
Chinese scallion pancakes are typically cut into triangles or wedges before serving.
Chinese Scallion Pancakes
- Stir the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the sesame seed oil and a cup of newly-boiled water. Mix until everything comes together to form a ball.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand for about fifteen minutes (or 10 minutes in a stand mixer using a dough hook). The dough should be soft but not sticky.
- Shape the dough into a ball, place in a bowl, cover with a damp towel and let the dough rest for half an hour.
- Roll out the dough into a log and cut ten equal pieces.
- Take one piece and, with a rolling pin, form into a flat thin circle about seven inches in diameter.
- Spread a tablespoonful or two of sliced scallions on the flattened dough.
- Starting at the edge nearest you, roll the dough outward to form a “cigar”, pressing lightly to make the dough longer and thinner.
- Lift one end of the rolled dough and swirl to form a coil.
- Flatten the coil with a rolling pin to a thickness of about a quarter inch.
- Repeat until all the dough pieces have been filled, rolled, coiled and flattened.
- Heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of about a quarter inch.
- Over MEDIUM heat, fry the pancakes, two or three at a time, until golden brown in spots.
- Flip halfway through the cooking to brown the other side as well.
- Important: add more oil to the pan before frying the next batch of pancakes.
- Drain on paper towels.
- Cut the scallion pancakes into wedges and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
If you cooked this dish (or made this drink) and you want to share your masterpiece, please use your own photos and write the cooking steps in your own words.