Friday, November 21, 2008

Another random Chinese food post

I've been craving home cooking lately, so the other night I decided to make one of my all-time favorites, green onion pancakes. I guess technically, they're not really pancakes, more like flatbread, but that was what my parents always translated them as, so whatevs.

It's a pretty easy recipe. My grandma used to eyeball everything, but my mom managed to get written amounts for me. I'll list the entire ingredient list at the end. In my opinion, you really need a stand mixer to make this. You could do it by hand, but it's much much more tedious. With my KitchenAid mixer, I threw the dough together in about 10 minutes. It needs to rest for about 30, and then there's another 10-15 minutes of prep after that, so you'll want to start a good hour ahead of serving time. Or you could make it earlier in the day and just throw the dough in the fridge till you're ready to cook.


In your bowl, start with 2 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir in 1/2 tsp salt, and a pinch of sugar (optional). Add 1 cup of boiling water (I cheated and used very very hot tap water). Mix on low until it starts to come together. Then add another cup of flour. Continue to mix and slowly add 1/2 c. of cold water, stopping when it reaches the right consistency. You want it to be soft, but not sticky. If it's too sticky, you can add a handful or two more flour.
Mix the whole thing on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough has a smooth texture. Roll the dough into a ball, cover, and let rest for at least 30 minutes. While the dough rests, thinly slice 1-2 bunches of green onions. The amount you'll need can vary to taste, but I usually use at least 1 cup, chopped. I use the white and a lot of the green part too.

Back to the dough - divide it into 3 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. You'll want to cover the ones you're not using back up with a towel so they don't dry out. Now roll out one ball as thinly as possible.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of sesame oil on the dough and spread it around the entire surface. You could use a brush, but I just use my hands. You really want to be generous with the oil.


Lightly sprinkle the surface with salt and then sprinkle on the chopped onions. Again, you can put on more or less to suit your own taste, but I think more is better. You don't want to go overboard though or the dough will be hard to roll out later.

Now start at one side of the dough and roll the entire thing up, kind of like a jellyroll, so that you have a long tube.



Fold the sides in toward the center so that you have more or less a ball-shape. This rolling and folding is what is going to give you nice flaky layers when it's cooked.

Now roll the ball back out again, this time to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.

Heat an electric skillet to 375 degrees. You can do this in a pan on the stove too, you'll just have to keep an eye on the heat. Add 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. You want to have a nice thin layer covering the entire bottom of the pan.

Now add your pancake and cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes, until the bottom starts to turn golden brown.


Flip and cook for another 5-8 minutes, until the other side is brown and cooked through.
Here is the finished product, cut into wedges. Some restaurants deep-fry the dough, but I much prefer it cooked this way.


Here's a better look at the layers. Yum.

Most restaurants serve this dish as an appetizer with a soy dipping sauce. Growing up, my family often ate it as an entree with Chinese "red-braised" beef and tendon that's been cut into slices (which I made a few days before so I'll have to go into that dish more another time). I always loved peeling back the top layers of a slice and sandwiching some meat in there. T and I dubbed it the Chinese Gyro, haha!


Here is the entire recipe.

Green Onion Pancakes

Ingredients

3 c. all-purpose flour, divided

1/2 tsp. salt

pinch sugar (optional)

1 c. boiling water

1/2. c. cold water

1 bunch green onions, chopped (about a cup)

salt

sesame oil (1/2-1 cup)

vegetable oil


Add 2 c. flour, 1 c. boiling water, salt, pinch of sugar (optional) to mixer with dough hook. Mix.

Add additional 1 c. flour and mix.

Add approximately ½ c. cold water, until desired consistency. Beat on medium high 5 min.

Let dough rest at least 30 minutes, up to 3 hours.

Knead dough. Divide into 3 and roll each piece into a ball.

Using a rolling pin, roll out ball very thin. Pour a generous amount of sesame oil and spread over entire surface of dough.

Sprinkle chopped green onions and lightly salt.

Roll up dough into long tube and then roll tube back into ball shape.

Roll dough out again into a circle about 1/2 inch thick.

Heat electric skillet to 375 degrees

Add 2 tbsp veg. oil

Place pancake in skillet and cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes, until bottom turns mostly golden brown.

Flip and cook 5-8 minutes more.

Remove and cut into slices.

Serve immediately with soy dipping sauce.

1 comment:

grace said...

we love green onion pancakes! my favorite place closed down right when i became pregnant with benji and i still miss it. maybe i'll be brave enough to try your recipe!

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