We discovered scallion pancakes on a food tour of Chinatown, and we instantly fell in love – because what’s not to like about fried dough with some greens sprinkled in? Scallion pancakes have been popular in China for centuries, and some legends say that they were the inspiration for pizza after Marco Polo brought them back to Italy. We recently saw a recipe for this dish in Bon Appetite, so with some modifications to make a fully vegetarian version – ours is even vegan – we decided to try these out for ourselves.
Here’s what we used:
To get started, we made a very simple dough by mixing together 2 cups of flour and 3/4 cup of warm water with a wooden spoon.
Once the dough had come together, we took it out of our bowl and kneaded it on a floured surface until it was totally smooth. Then we let it rest in the bowl covered by a damp towel for about half an hour.
Once the dough was ready, we divided it into four equal pieces and rolled each piece out into a 9-inch circle. Then we brushed the surface of each piece of dough with oil.
We chopped up all our scallions very finely …
… and sprinkled about 1/4 cup of them onto the surface of each piece of dough.
Then we rolled up our dough, like this:
Once the dough was all rolled up, we curled it into a spiral …
… smooshed it flat with our hands …
… and then rolled it out again into a 7-inch circle.
Once we had filled each piece of dough with scallions and rolled them all out, we placed 1/2-3/4 cup of oil in the bottom of a medium skillet with high sides and set it over medium-high heat. When the oil had warmed up, we used kitchen tongs to gently lower one pancake in.
We let the pancake brown on the bottom, after 2-3 minutes in the oil, and then flipped it over to fry until the other side was also browned.
Once each pancake was full cooked, we let it drain on paper towels and then fried the other pancakes the same way.
While the pancakes were cooling down, we mixed up a dipping sauce by whisking together 2 tablespoons of black vinegar, 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of chili oil, and 1 teaspoon of the sesame seeds.
To serve your pancakes, slice them into triangles and then serve them with your sauce.
Not so difficult, right? Of course frying is always a little bit messy, but making the dough is pretty simple and actually kind of fun. We’ll admit that it was a little difficult, and expensive, to find all the ingredients for the dipping sauce, so you can substitute something else if you’d like. But give these a try – they make for a tasty appetizer or an alternative to bread, or just something fun and different to serve.