The recipe comes from a Chinese cooking class that my husband and I recently attended. The version I offer here uses half whole grain flour instead of the all-purpose flour used in class, and in my version, the nutty-wheaty taste and texture of the flour has a presence that was missing in the class version. If you prefer a lighter, more authentic taste, I suggest you substitute 2-1/8 cups unbleached white or all purpose flour for the flour mix I list. The pancakes tasted great, so if you're used to whole grains, go with this version.
The scallion pancakes the teacher demonstrated were really delicious, and though a bit oily, they were much less greasy than the ones we had at a Chinese restaurant in Seattle, which were probably deep fried. But, I think the pancakes are meant to be a little oily. My first attempt was so oil-phobic that they lost some of their essential character. The amount of oil is so small, I think it would be better to just use the oil and enjoy the taste.
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (stir before measuring) (see above story)
- 1 cup unbleached white flour (stir before measuring)
- 4 ounces boiling water
- about 2 ounces cold water
- 4–6 scallions, white and green parts—slice each scallion lengthwise, then mince finely
- toasted sesame oil
- salt to taste
- oil for the pan (peanut is traditional) and oil to brush or spray directly onto the pancakes
2. Make a well in the center and add the boiling water. Flip and scrape the flour around with a dough scraper or spatula to incorporate the flour and water. (Be very careful about not using your hands here, as the water and forming dough will be burning hot. It will quickly become cool enough to handle and you can start using your hands at that point.)
4. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest 20 minutes. Or more. After its rest, cut the dough into 2 sections and wrap 1 of them in the damp towel. Roll the other into a rectangle that is about 1/8" – 3/16" thick, and about 6" x 9". Brush toasted sesame oil (or spread with your fingers) all over the dough. Use 1 teaspoon. Cover with minced scallions and sprinkle with salt (1/4 teaspoon).
5. Roll into a log shape starting with the long end. Then coil the log into a spiral, tucking the last end underneath.
6. Pat the coil into a flattened round, and then roll into a round pancake about 1/8" thick, with your rolling pin. Be gentle, as the dough may have a tendency to rip around the scallions and oil. Try to roll to the edge rather than over it, as much as you can. If you roll over the edge, the pancake may break and some of the oil will ooze out. This is probably unavoidable to some extent, and is OK.
9. Drain on a paper towel if desired. Cut into 8 or 12 triangles (like pizza) and eat immediately. Repeat with the other dough section.
Note: I made these pancakes so many times to get the recipe right, that just the thought of eating anymore is making me weak. I learned a few things, though. The first dough I made (not included here) was a little tough. It was a larger recipe and more than we could handle in one day, so I stored the leftover dough in the refrigerator overnight. When I made a pancake the next day, it was much lighter and more tender. Really good, actually. So, you could probably make the dough a day ahead and roll and fry them when needed. I used a mix of white whole wheat and unbleached flour but decided to switch to whole wheat pastry flour for the second batch. I think I made the first batch too stiff, so I added a little more water to the second batch, and it worked much better; not enough to require adding flour for kneading, but enough to produce a softer dough.