Citizens, many of you perhaps assume China is a country where rice is the primary starch. While certainly true in the South, Northern Chinese raise wheat, not rice and this delicious fried scallion bread (usually referred to as a “pancake”) reigns supreme!
As noted on sites.psu.edu/jerryliuenglish15:
There is a legend behind the scallion pancake in which Marco Polo borrowed the dough he found in China and that pizza evolved from the scallion pancake in this way. Italians altered the method of making pizza indefinitely, but there are many different stories of possible legends of how pizza originated. Some believe that Marco Polo missed Cong You Bing so much that he made chefs in Italy to make their own variation to the scallion pancake.
Cong You Bing’s origin dates back so long ago that many Chinese historians cannot fully agree on where it was created. Many believe Cong You Bing originated in Shanghai, where many Indians had once lived. This makes sense due to the scallion pancake’s similarity to Indian naan bread.
My version of this toothsome treat uses melted chicken fat and a touch of sesame oil for frying to add real savor – you can use just corn oil if you so prefer. I also added a touch of ground Sichuan peppercorns, but this is totally optional, Citizens! I first learned how to make these amazing breads from my Chinese cooking mentor, the late Dr. Barbara Tropp, Chinese historian and gastronome extraordinaire! I am forever indebted to her tutelage on the correct approach to Chinese cuisine!
If you’re interested in reading her cookbooks, you can either buy copies of the still in-print versions at Amazon or visit ckbk.com and subscribe there to read them (and thousands of others!)
Regardless, I think you will find my version to be the most flavorsome you’ve ever tried!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
The Hirshon Scallion Pancake – 葱油饼
- Total Time: 0 hours
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons corn oil, plus more for frying
- 1 1/4 cups boiling water
- Sesame oil mixed with melted chicken fat for brushing
- Kosher salt for sprinkling
- Fresh-ground Sichuan Peppercorn (optional)
- 3 bunches scallions (green onions), white and light green parts, minced
- Measure the flour by scooping it into a measuring cup, then leveling it off. Mix the flours and salt together in a bowl or food processor. Add the oil and then stir in the water gradually to form a cohesive dough. Knead into a ball – or, if using a food processor, process until the mixture comes together into a ball – then turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead two minutes by hand. Cover with a moist dish towel and let rest for half an hour.
- Roll the dough into the shape of a snake and cut this into 12 segments, rolling each of these into a ball. Cover them with a moist towel until needed.
- Take one ball, roll it out into a circle, brush it thinly with sesame oil/chicken fat mixture, and sprinkle it liberally with scallions and a touch of kosher salt as well as a tiny pinch of freshly-ground Sichuan peppercorn (optional).
- Carefully roll the circle up into a cigar shape as if making a jelly roll. This distributes the scallions evenly throughout and creates layers of dough in which air bubbles are trapped. These will expand from the heat of frying and leaven the pancake.
- Coil the cigar into the shape of a cinnamon roll, with the seam on the inside.
- Repeat steps 3 to 5 for each of the remaining balls of dough. Cover these coils with a moist dish towel and let rest for half an hour.
- Roll each pancake flat. They should be about 5 inches wide and ¼-inch thick. But be careful not to roll too hard. If you lose those air bubbles, you’ll get scallion hockey pucks.
- Heat ⅛ inch of corn oil (to which you’ve added a goodly amount of melted chicken fat and a touch of sesame oil) over a medium flame in a 12-inch skillet (nonstick works great). When the oil is hot, fry the pancakes three or four at a time (don’t crowd them), giving them 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve and eat immediately.
- Prep Time: 0 hours
- Cook Time: 0 hours
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 710.6 kcal
- Sugar: 2.31 g
- Sodium: 600.18 mg
- Fat: 31.34 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.38 g
- Carbohydrates: 94.72 g
- Fiber: 4.7 g
- Protein: 12.12 g
- Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
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