If there's one food thing my eldest dislikes the most, it would be green onions. He will pick out each and every single piece of green onion in his soup, or noodles. He has such a sensitive palate -- a little tingle, and he'll know there's green onions involved. I can only hope that he will outgrow this phase and learn to enjoy more spicier foods when he is older.
So with an abundance of green onions gifted to me from my grandma's garden, I wasn't sure what to do with them -- I can only eat so much in noodles and soups, And to throw them out would be a complete waste, until it hit me... make green onion pancakes.
Green onion pancakes are a savoury Chinese flatbread that consist of oil and green onions. It is a little bit of a misnomer since these pancakes aren't similar to North American pancakes made from batter, rather, these are made from a flour dough.
I wasn't sure if my kids would eat them, so I experimented.
I made 3 batches:
1) one with just flour and water, pan-fried in a little bit of oil;
2) another with flour and water, shallow-fried in more oil, and
3) a third batch with flour, water and a bit of baking powder, shallow-fried in oil.
For the kids, I fried up the green onion pancakes in a little more oil so that the green onions would be cooked through and not be so strong and pungent.
The kids enjoyed the shallow-fried green onion pancakes made with flour and water the best.
Whereas I enjoyed the plain green onion pancakes lightly fried in a little bit of oil. And my husband like the slightly puffier baking powder version. So a win-win-win situation.
These green onion pancakes are really simple to make. If you've got extra green onions lying around, this is a great way to use them up. Besides, who doesn't like fried dough? Golden and crispy, flaky and chewy at the same time, with a smattering of green onion and aromatic sesame oil -- these are a delicious appetizer or snack for any time of day.
Green Onion/Scallion Pancakes (葱油饼)
Yield: 4 x 6" rounds
1 ½ C AP flour
¼ C hot boiling water
½ C room temperature water
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder (optional)
2 T flour
2 T good quality sesame oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
½ C green onions, finely chopped
To make the dough:
In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt.
Gradually stir the hot boiling water into the flour using a pair of chopsticks. Next, stir in room temperature water and mix to form a dough (you may or may not need all of the water).
Use your hands to knead until smooth and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl. Dust with additional flour if it is too sticky. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
To make oil paste:
In a small bowl, add flour, salt, and sesame oil. Stir together until it forms a thick paste. Set aside.
Liberally flour your work surface and divide the dough into 4 equal balls.
Flatten each ball using a rolling pin to about ⅛" thickness, or as thin as you can without the dough tearing.
Smear ¼ of the oil paste over the entire surface of the dough and sprinkle green onions over top.
Roll up the dough with the long side facing you, like a long cigar.
Then roll it up like a snail tucking the ends into the center. You should now have a circular shape.
Press down with your palms to flatten. Flour your surface again and roll out gently into a thin pancake.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
In a frying pan over medium heat, add 1 T of oil and pan fry the green onion pancake for about 2 minutes per side, or until lightly golden and crispy. Remove and fluff it by placing it onto a paper towel and quickly slapping the hot pancake inward to create some edges.
Serve immediately with hot sauce.