These Chinese Green Onion Pancake Beef Rolls feature hot and crisp scallion pancakes filled with flavourful braised beef shank, cucumbers, and hoisin sauce. They're a delicious appetizer or snack that will keep you coming back for more.
Anything wrapped in a dough is a favourite in my books.
The first time I had heard of or seen Chinese Green Onion Pancake Beef Rolls was when I watched an episode of Guy Fieri's "Triple D" (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives).
They featured a local Vancouver restaurant, Peaceful Restaurant, on Broadway.
Guy was in the kitchen with the chef and they made these green onion pancakes stuffed with delicious slow-braised beef.
What are Chinese green onion pancake beef rolls?
Commonly found in Taiwan, they consist of Chinese green onion (scallion) pancakes filled with tender slow-cooked beef.
The green onion pancakes are pan-fried in a little oil until crisp and golden brown.
Slow-cooked beef (usually beef shank) is braised for long hours and placed atop the green onion pancakes, along with cucumbers, cilantro and hoisin sauce.
The pancake is then rolled up and sliced up.
Why this recipe works
I wanted to use a green onion pancake that wouldn't completely shatter when it was rolled up.
This green onion pancake dough has a higher ratio of water than my Green Onion Pancakes.
The higher water content makes the dough more pliable and rolls up easily.
Using an Instant Pot to braise the beef shank is an easy way to ensure tender, yet flavourful meat.
4 main components
These Chinese Green Onion Pancake Beef Rolls are made up of 4 main components:
- slow-braised beef shank: tender and flavourful beef simmered in an aromatic broth
- green onion pancakes: the vessel for delivering the delicious beef
- cucumbers & cilantro: adds a refreshing and cooling crunch to the beef pancakes
- hoisin sauce: adds a sweet flavour to the beef
Braised beef shank ingredients
The beef shank is flavoured with a number of ingredients:
- beef shank: I used about 2 lbs of beef shank, cleaned and trimmed of any excess fat
- aromatics: garlic, ginger, green onions
- spices: 5-spice, coriander star anise, cinnamon, fennel, sichuan peppercorn
- dou ban jiang: also known as broad bean paste -- it is spicy, so if you don't like spicy, feel free to omit it
- beef broth: adds flavour and moisture to the beef; you can use water in place of broth
- soy sauce: adds saltiness and savoury flavour to the meat
- rock sugar: balances out the saltiness with sweetness; you can use granulated sugar if you wish
How to make the braised beef shank (Instant Pot)
Beef shank is a tough cut of meat that requires many hours of cooking to break down its muscles and tissues.
I use an Instant Pot to make easy work of braising the beef shank. (If you don't have an Instant Pot, you can certainly slow-cook the meat in a crock pot or in a heavy-bottomed pot for a few hours.)
Prepare the spice packet and sear the beef shank in a little oil in the Instant Pot.
Then, add the aromatics (onion, garlic, ginger), broth, and sauces, and cover with the lid.
Set the Instant Pot to HIGH PRESSURE and let it cook for 40 minutes.
Remove the beef shank once it's cooked.
Let it cool down and slice the shank into thin slices.
Green onion pancake ingredients
The green onion pancakes consists of:
- all-purpose flour: the basis for the pancake dough
- sea salt: I prefer using sea salt, or even flaked sea salt
- hot boiled water: hot water denatures the proteins in the flour and creates a tender dough
- sesame oil: adds flavour and aroma to the pancakes
- green onions/scallions: I use both the white and green part, chopped up
How to make the green onion pancakes
Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Add in the hot boiled water bit by bit, and mix, until a dough forms. Depending on the humidity, you may need to add a little more water or flour.
Once the dough is formed, give it a rest for about 20 minutes. (This helps to relax the gluten in the flour, which makes it easier to roll out).
Divide the dough into 4 equal balls.
Roll out each ball into a flat disc, about 6" in diameter.
Add about 1 teaspoon sesame oil and spread it over the surface of the dough.
Sprinkle a little flaked sea salt over the top and scatter about 1 tablespoon of chopped green onions.
Roll the dough up into a log, and then coil it up. Flatten with your palm and leave it to rest for about 5 minutes.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Use a rolling pin to again flatten out the pancake to about 7" or 8" in diameter.
Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add about 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan.
Place the green onion pancake into the frying pan and cover with a lid.
Cook the pancake for about 3-4 minutes, until golden and crisp. Give the pancake a flip and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
Remove the green onion pancake and place onto a chopping board.
How to assemble
Spread about 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce onto the green onion pancake.
Layer on a few slices of beef shank.
Add some sliced cucumbers and cilantro.
Roll the pancake up tightly, with the seam side facing down.
Use a sharp serrated knife and slice into 1" slices (or however large you like).
How to serve
Serve the Chinese Green Onion Pancake Beef Rolls hot and freshly made.
Slice the beef rolls into 1" slices for the perfect appetizer or game day snack.
Serve the green onion pancakes with additional hoisin sauce on the side if you desire.
How to store leftovers
The assembled Chinese pancake beef rolls are best enjoyed on the same day they're made.
If you have leftovers, store each component separately in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
You can reheat the green onion pancake in a dry frying pan until warm and pliable, and then assemble with the remaining ingredients.
Substitutions & variations
If you don't like spicy, omit the chilies and dou ban jiang/broad bean paste in the recipe.
For a quick and easy version, try using a deli roast beef in place of the beef shank.
You can also try my 5-Spiced Turkey version.
Alternatively, if you don't want to make green onion pancakes, try making these with flour tortillas instead.
If you can't find hoisin sauce, try using a delicious BBQ sauce.
Other recipes you may like
Be sure to check out these recipes:
Crispy on the outside, filled with tender beef shank, slathered with a slightly sweet hoisin sauce, and finished with the cooling crunch of cucumber to cut through the oil and saltiness. Absolute perfection in a bite.
If you make these, please let me know! Tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment below. Have you tried these Chinese Green Onion Pancake Beef Rolls before?
Chinese Green Onion Pancake Beef Rolls 牛肉捲餅 (Instant Pot)
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 3 star anise
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 6 dried chilies optional
- 1 tablespoon whole sichuan peppercorn
- 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorn
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 lbs beef shank cleaned and trimmed of any excess fat
- 5 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 knob ginger smashed
- 2 green onions sliced 3" lengthwise
- 2 fresh Thai chilies optional
- ½ teaspoon 5-spice powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 tablespoon dou ban jiang (broad bean paste) omit if you don't like spicy
- 4 C beef broth or water
- ¼ C soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoon rock sugar or granulated sugar
Green Onion Pancakes
- 2 C all-purpose flour
- 1 C hot boiling water
- 2-3 stalks green onions chopped
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 3-4 tablespoon oil for frying
- ½ cucumber julienned
- handful of cilantro leaves
- 4 tablespoon hoisin sauce
Make the beef shank:
- Make the spice packet: Place all of the whole spices: star anise, cinnamon, fennel seed, dried chilies, sichuan peppercorn, white peppercorn) into a cheesecloth and tie with a string. Set aside.
- Turn on the Instant Pot to SAUTE and wait until HOT. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and place the beef shank in the pot to brown on all sides (about 3-4 minutes).
- Add in the garlic, ginger, green onions and Thai chilies and saute until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add in the 5-spice powder and coriander powder.
- Next, add in the dou ban jiang (broad bean paste), beef broth or water, soy sauces, and rock sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Drop in the spice packet and give it another stir.
- Cover with the lid and set to MEAT setting for 40 minutes at HIGH PRESSURE.
- Note: If you don't have an Instant Pot, simply add all the ingredients to a crock pot and braise for 2-3 hours on High or simmer over the stovetop in a dutch oven for 3-4 hours, until the beef shank is tender.
- After 40 minutes, let the Instant Pot naturally depressurize. Remove the beef shank and let cool.
- Strain the braising liquid into a sieve. Remove the spice packet and discard.
- Save the braising liquid for beef noodle soup, or reduce the liquid to make a sauce in place of hoisin sauce. (Simply take the liquid, reduce it by about half, and add some cornstarch to thicken. Check the seasoning -- after reducing, the liquid may taste salty).
- When the beef shank has cooled, use a sharp knife to cut into thin slices. Set aside.
- You may have extra meat leftover, which would be great in a noodle soup.
Make the green onion pancakes:
- In a large bowl, mix flour with ¼ C hot water and stir until water is absorbed.
- Continue adding water until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It will be quite a moist dough. If it's too moist, add a little flour. If it's too dry, continue to add a little water. Knead until the dough is smooth.
- Cover the dough with a lid or cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes.
- Divide dough into 4 equal balls.
- Roll out each ball of dough into a disc, using a rolling pin, about 6" in diameter and brush the surface with sesame oil. Sprinkle with salt and about 1 tablespoon of chopped green onion.
- Tightly roll the dough into a long cylinder and coil it around like a snail. Tuck in the ends. Press dough firmly to flatten. Set aside to rest for about 5 minutes.
- Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Take the rested dough rounds and flatten with a rolling pin until 7-8" in diameter and about ⅛" in thickness. Dust with extra flour if it's too sticky.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-low heat and add 1-2 tablespoon oil.
- Add in the green onion pancake and fry until golden and crispy, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel.
- Repeat with the remaining pancakes.
- To assemble, take the warm green onion pancake, spread some hoisin sauce on it with a pastry brush, add the sliced beef, cucumbers, cilantro and green onions and roll up tightly with the seam-side facing down.
- Use a serrated knife to cut into slices about 1" wide.
- Serve immediately.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.