Every Sunday without fail, my mom and I gather around the kitchen island and make 葱油饼 (cōng yóu bǐng), or Chinese scallion pancakes together. The flaky layers and simple ingredients combine to create an aromatic and easy-to-make dish!
Ingredients (makes 2 scallion pancakes):
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup boiling water, 1 cup room temperature water
2 bunches of scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon salt and extra to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Step 1: Making the dough
Combine the flour, water (both boiling and room temperature) and 1 teaspoon of salt together in a large bowl — order of ingredients added doesn’t matter! Use your hands to knead the dough for eight minutes, or until the combination forms a wet dough. Cover the bowl with a towel or cling film, and let the dough rest for around 2 hours.
Step 2: Assembling the pancake
Take the dough out of the bowl and split it into two even parts. Set aside one half, and place the other half on a lightly floured rolling board. Coat all sides of the dough with flour, and use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a thin layer, keeping a circular shape. Sprinkle a couple pinches of salt across the surface of the dough.
Once the dough is shaped, use the back of a spoon or a cooking brush to spread a thin layer of olive oil on the open surface of the dough. The oil should cover most of the dough, but be sure to not let it spill over the edges! Then, spread your scallions evenly across the surface of the dough.
Step 3: Forming the pancake
Starting from the bottom edge, tightly roll the dough into a coil. Once the coil is formed, twist and press it into a spiral shape, firmly pressing the tail end of the coil into the middle of the spiral so it seals properly. Then, use your rolling pin to shape the dough back into a moderately thin circular shape.
Repeat the assembly steps with the other half of dough.
Step 4: Cooking the pancake
Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a cast iron skillet on medium-low heat and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then, place one pancake into the pan and cover it with a lid. The stove should be on medium-low heat throughout. Each side should take around five minutes to cook, but be sure to continuously monitor the pancake to ensure it doesn’t burn. Once you see the surface form a golden brown color and/or start to form bubbles, it’s time to flip. Repeat with the other pancake, and serve warm!
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