Dim Sumday: Scallion Pancakes
Scallion pancakes are a dim sum favorite. Savory, with a hint of onion, matched with a soy dipping sauce. But they’re also really cheap and easy to make at home. Make a paste dough, add chopped scallions (or other veggies) and fry. Today I made shallot and green chili pancakes, for all of $0.34 in vegetables, plus a little oil and some handfuls of flour.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 green chilis (jalapeno)
- 3 shallots
- Soy sauce
- Sriracha (garlic-chili) sauce
- Rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
- Sesame oil (can substitute any vegetable oil)
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. While you wait for the water to boil, seed the chilis and chop finely. Peel and chop the shallots to the similarly fine. Toss and set aside.
In a medium bowl, add the flour. With the water at a rolling boil, turn off the heat. Add a splash to the flour, about 1/3 of a cup. Mix well with a large spoon. Continue adding hot water in increments until the dough forms a ball. At some point you may have to get a hand dirty to get it to all come together, but that’s fine (though the dough can get quite warm, so be careful). Once you have your ball of dough, set it aside for 30 minutes or so.
After resting, knead your dough on a floured surface for a few minutes. Then divide into three equal portions. For each portion, first knead it a bit and then press or roll out into a thin pancake (about 1/4 inch). Take a third of your chopped veggies and sprinkle evenly over the top, then press into dough. Roll lengthwise like a jelly roll, and then roll the resulting tube into a spiral. The dough can get quite sticky, so make sure to dust your hands and work surface often with more flour. Once you have a snail-shaped roll, just press it out again into a pancake. Repeat with the other two balls of dough, and cover each one with clingfilm, wax paper, parchment or a paper towel and stack on a plate.
Grease a cookie sheet or baking pan with sesame or vegetable oil. Take one pancake and brush one side with oil. Put it oiled-side down on the cookie sheet, and then brush the top. Slide into the oven and cook for three to five minutes per side, until golden brown. Should be crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Take care not to over cook or you’ll end up with a giant cracker.
Traditionally, the pancakes are fried in a hot wok or skillet, but my method doesn’t require nearly as much oil, and while a bit drier and less chewy, aren’t nearly as greasy and have a nice crunch. For the sauce, simply comine one part chili sauce and one part vinegar to two parts soy sauce. Add a little water if this is too salty or spicy for your taste. Cut the large pancakes into handy pieces for dipping into the sauce.
You can make the pancakes ahead and store in the fridge with a damp towel over them, and then cook to order. A tasty treat alongside rice and a stir fry, and they make a great party snack that even your kosher, halal and vegan guests can enjoy. I haven’t tried freezing a batch yet, but I imagine they’d do quite well stacked between wax paper and sealed in a large freezer bag. Of course, they’re great just on their own as a snack while posting a recipe to your blog!