Before I get to talking about how amazing these green onion / scallion pancakes are, I’d like to take a shot at collecting many thoughts from the past month– thoughts that need to be shared “out-loud” with you. They’re updates on life, a behind-the-scenes project, and much more. I’ll do my best not to leave anything out, but if I do, I’ll most likely remember for my next post.
So, before anything, I’d like to share one of the behind-the-scenes projects I’ve been helping work on with Anita and Stephanie, two very talented folks that you may already know. It’s an idea that Anita and Stephanie created over dessert one day– Sated Magazine. A lot of hard work and love has been poured into the beautiful design, photography, and writings for the magazine. The first issue is about one of my favorite subjects– dark chocolate!
Now, I’m bouncing around a bit, but my excitement has gotten the best of me! Sated Magazine is, as Stephanie wonderfully puts it, “a gastronomy publication” dedicated to sharing beautiful photos, great recipes, informative articles, and our obsessions with food. I cannot share more than I have about the first issue, as we’d all like to leave you a bit surprised, but I can say this much: the big launch for the magazine is soon, and we’d love if you could start following the Sated Magazine Blog, the official Sated Magazine Twitter feed, and of course, be sure to sign-up for the Sated Magazine Mailing List. Once we have copies hot-off-the-press, we’ll be sure to let you know, so you can order yourself (and your friends) some copies!
The last time we spoke, I mentioned that I’d be taking a trip to San Francisco; I’d like to thank all of you who wrote in and sent me great lists of places to dine at and visit! The trip was wonderfully productive and inspiring. I met with so many great folks: Julie, Irvin & A.J., Kimberley, Heidi, Stephanie, Prerna, Anita, Sabrina, Greg, Pamela, Shauna, and of course– the great folks at Chronicle Books and Driscoll’s Berries! I dined at many great places, and I found myself at The Ferry Building a couple times each day.
The morning that I had to leave for my trip, while packing all of my stuff up, I came to the realization that I’ve an addiction to buying good cookbooks and that I could barely fit all of the cookbooks I’d bought during my trip. I’m talking about the kind of cookbooks make you swoon over the gorgeous photographs and beautiful writing. The ones with recipes that constantly give inspiration, and have you going back to cook more and more.
One book I’ve had in my kitchen for many months now, is my friend, BeeYinn Low’s cookbook, Easy Chinese Recipes. I’m sure many of you know Bee from her very popular Asian food site, Rasa Malaysia. Bee, as many of you know, knows what good food is, and I’m so glad to say that I know such an inspiring and hard-working author as Bee! In her first book, Easy Chinese Recipes, you’ll find authentic, simple, and mouthwatering Chinese recipes. Not only is the book filled with great go-to recipes, it is filled with beautiful photographs and step-by-step photographs of dishes that require a bit of a visual explanation. One recipe, in particular, that I’ve been making (at my family’s request) almost twice a week for the past couple months has been her recipe for Scallion Pancakes.
You’d think that after making and eating the pancakes on a regular basis would have left us bored, but they say that the simplest recipes are the ones you find yourself constantly going back to. It’s recipes like Bee’s Scallion Pancakes, well– all of the recipes in her book, that have you going back to cook your favorites!
Bee’s green and gold-freckled scallion pancakes are simple to put together. They are a tiny bit laborious, but very simple, as the only laborious part of making the pancakes is rolling them out, which I find rather relaxing.
It all starts off with mixing together a small mound of snow white flour, a bit of fine grain sea salt, and jade shards of scallion. Soon after, some water is brought to a boil, and slowly poured into the green-freckled flour mixture.
Once mixed together, the shaggy mess is kneaded for about ten minutes, until round and smooth.
The dough is covered with plastic wrap, or a damp cloth, and left to rest for 30-minutes on the work bench.
After thirty minutes, the dough is divided, and shaped into rounds. Once divided, the rounds are sprinkled with flour, and are rolled out into 1/4-inch thick circles (I prefer my pancakes slightly thinner when eating the pancakes with something like a fried egg, or scrambled eggs; when it’s the main dish, I prefer to keep them thick), and are then cooked in a skillet filled with some oil, until blushing with gold. And that’s all she wrote!
I know I’m bouncing around a bit, but I’d like to address something that’s been bothering me– I know I promised to set some sort of weekly posting schedule in stone, but thanks to camera and computer issues, I’ve been a little behind schedule, but I’ll make up for that. I’ve a new camera, some new software, and I’m hoping to milk it for all its got. I’m still trying to adjust to the photo editing software and my new camera (I switched from Nikon to Canon– big jump!), so please bear with me as I try to share more with you.
As another side note, I’d also like to say that The Sophisticated Gourmet recently turned three-years-old a few weeks ago (celebration post next week- promise!). Here’s to many more years, my lovely friends!
Now, go make some scallion pancakes and be sure to pickup a copy of Bee’s book, Easy Chinese Recipes– you’ll love it! :)
Green Onion / Scallion Pancakes
Makes 8 pieces; recipe can be easily doubled.
Tweaked from Easy Chinese Recipes by BeeYinn Low, with permission from the author
I’ve taken some liberties with Bee’s recipe; firstly, I’ve cut out a couple steps– rolling out the dough, adding oil, rolling it into a snake, and then into a snail… These are very classic techniques (which are also use in Paratha making), but I’ve found that you achieve quite similar results by simply making the dough into rounds, and then rolling them out, plus it saves a lot of time! If you’re interested in seeing the classic technique for making these lovely pancakes, please refer to page 47 of Bee’s book, Easy Chinese Recipes.
I cannot stress this enough when making these pancakes, but please try avoid adding too much flour when handing the dough rounds. Adding more flour than necessary results in hard, greasy pancakes, instead of soft and tender ones.
I’ve made these pancakes more times than I’d like to admit; last week when I made these pancakes, we ran out of all-purpose flour, and without any issues, I substituted Unbleached White Flour (bread flour) for the all-purpose flour called for in the recipe. The pancakes were lovely, and a bit more substantial and chewy compared to the one’s made with all-purpose flour (using my modified technique). If you’re serving these pancakes as a main dish, I highly recommend using half all-purpose flour, and half bread flour if you’re looking for something substantial, yet somewhat light.
If you’re short on time, this dough can easily be made in a standing mixer, just be sure to knead the dough for about 4-minutes, instead of 10 minutes.
I like to serve my pancakes with a fried egg or a quickly scrambled egg with sriracha sauce poured over the top, and a soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame concoction, as pictured above (simply mix together 2 tablespoons soy sauce, ½ tablespoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar, ¼ teaspoon sesame oil, and top with ½ tablespoon toasted sesame seeds); the sesame-soy concoction isn’t very traditional, but it’s lovely for dipping your pancakes in!
1 ½ cups / 180g all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and rolling
1 ¼ teaspoons fine grain sea salt
3 green onions or scallions, green parts only, trimmed and cut into small rounds, to yield ⅓ cup / 25g
½ cup / 125ml water
Oil, for frying (Any neutral-tasting oil: Sunflower, Safflower, Corn, Canola, Vegetable, Peanut. Avoid olive oil– it lends an odd taste to the pancakes)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the 1 ½ cups / 180g flour, and the salt. Then add in the scallions, and set the bowl aside.
Bring the water to a boil.
Slowly add the boiled water to the flour and scallion mixture. Briefly knead the dough in the bowl until it’s no longer sticky. If the dough is too dry, keep adding tablespoonfuls of hot water until a soft dough forms; it should be similar to the consistency of chewing gum.
Remove the dough from the bowl, and knead on a clean, lightly floured surface until soft and smooth, about ten minutes.
Cover the dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, and let it rest for 30 minutes, or up to a day in the refrigerator.
Once rested, divide the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces. Using your palm, roll each piece of dough into perfect rounds (avoid adding flour when shaping the pieces of dough).
Once all of the pieces of dough are shaped into perfect rounds, lightly dust the tops and bottoms of each round of dough with some flour (Kamran note: I sprinkle it on, however, you can simply dust your work surface with flour, and slightly flatten each dough round into the flour, lightly dredging each side). Then, slightly flatten each dough round.
Using a rolling pin, roll each round of dough into discs, starting from the center-out, into 5 ½-inches to 6-inches in diameter (if you prefer your scallion pancakes on the thicker side– 5 ½-inches; if you prefer them slightly thinner, 6-inches). When rolling out the dough rounds, avoid adding too much flour to the work surface, as this will result in hard, greasy pancakes. To get perfect discs, give the dough ¼ turn each time you roll.
Once all of the discs are rolled-out, heat a dry stir-fry pan, cast-iron skillet, or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high. Pour in about ¼-inch (6mm) of oil into the pan or skillet. Working quickly, dust any excess flour off of the dough disc, and shallow fry each side of the pancake until light golden brown (about 1-minute for each side), pressing down around the edges of the pancake with a large spoon or spatula. the pancake should slightly puff up in places; try to coax the air bubbles to other parts of the dough, creating a big puff; if your dough doesn’t puff up entirely, no worries– they’ll still be perfectly lovely! Add more oil to the skillet, and repeat the same for the remaining pancakes, always making sure to dust off any excess flour before placing the dough discs into the pan. Serve immediately.