A simple dish with great taste and texture. Egg and scallion crepe is a popular Chinese breakfast that requires minimum ingredients and preparation. This recipe provides the perfect batter ratio, cooking tips and a tutorial video.
Do you agree that simple things bring great joy to life? Today’s recipe, Chinese egg and scallion crepe (Ji Dan Bing/鸡蛋饼), always brightens up my mornings. It requires minimum effort (5 basic ingredients + 15 mins cooking) but the taste and texture are so enjoyable! If you love easy savoury breakfast/brunch dishes as I do, read on to learn how to make it perfectly.
The ideal batter ratio
Having been making Chinese egg and scallion crepe for years, to be honest, I’ve never precisely measured the ingredients for the batter. Like most Chinese cooks (or Asian in general), I just follow my instinct for achieving the right consistency. To come up with a recipe that helps my readers to get the best result each time when they try, I’ve tested several times and finally felt very happy with the ratio I’m sharing today.
To make 9 crepes (about 18 cm/7 inch in diameter), you’ll need:
- All-purpose flour/plain flour (100g or ¾ cup). I list all-purpose flour here just for its accessibility. You may use bread flour too. The change in final texture is minor.
- Water (240ml or 1 cup)
- Eggs (3 medium-sized). Sometimes when I fancy crepes with a more eggy taste, I add one more egg to the batter. In this case, the water should be reduced by 40ml.
- Salt (¼ tsp)
- Ground pepper(⅛ tsp). It can be ground Sichuan pepper, a unique spice to Chinese cuisine, or regular white/black pepper. If you have any other spice that you like, please feel free to substitute.
- Scallions(2 stalks), finely chopped. I often only use the green part of the scallions and keep the white part for other dishes. If you happen to have Chinese chives, use them instead (chop them into tiny pieces). They create a different taste but are equally delicious.
After mixing, the batter should be quite runny thus spread freely in the pan, but not so thin that the crepe tears easily. Please refer to my video in the recipe card below to see the desired consistency. Before we move on to the cooking procedure, I’d like to draw your attention to one more tip. To make mixing more efficient, I suggest you first combine the flour and water to a smooth texture before adding the eggs. If mixing flour with eggs first, you tend to get more lumps which requires more effort to dissolve.
How to cook to perfection
Once you’ve got the batter right, the cooking is simple and straightforward: Pour some batter into a hot frying pan/skillet and form a thin, round shape. Cook both sides until slightly browned. However, if you aren’t familiar with cooking crepes, I recommend you take some time to read the following tips.
Use a non-stick pan if possible
The great thing about using a non-stick pan is that you don’t need any oil to cook egg & scallion crepe. I really appreciate its zero-grease, clean taste, ideal as breakfast for a healthy start to the day. If you have to use a pan without non-stick coating, you’ll need to coat it with a thin layer of oil each time before you pour in the batter. To minimise the quantity, use a heat-proof pastry brush or kitchen paper to oil the pan.
Control the cooker to the ideal heat
I set my gas cooker to medium-high for making these crepes. Please be aware that this is just a reference for you, not a must-follow instruction as all cookers perform differently (it depends on the cookware too). You’ll need some trial and error to figure out the best balance.
If the pan is too hot, the batter won’t flow freely thus it will be difficult to achieve the desired thickness and a round shape. On the other hand, if the pan is not hot enough, it will take longer to cook through, and there will be a higher chance to tear the crepe.
If you have time, watch my short tutorial video (in the recipe card below) which gives you a better sense of how quickly the batter should set over an ideal level of heat. For your reference, it takes me about 80 seconds to finish one crepe.
Flip over at the right moment
My eight-year-old daughter always gets excited when watching me flipping over the crepe (without the aid of a spatula). But it could fail miserably if I try flipping at the wrong moment when the first side isn’t done yet. If you’re unsure, move the pan back and forth to test. As soon as the crepe moves freely, it’s ready to be flipped. Of course, use a spatula if you feel more comfortable that way.
Serve them plain or with a sauce
These egg & scallion crepes taste the best when warm. While cooking, I always cover the already cooked ones with a clean tea towel and uncover at the moment when we’re ready to eat. My children love them plain, while my husband and I like rolling them up then dipping into a simple sauce. It can be Chinese chili oil, sweet soy sauce, spicy black bean sauce, chili garlic sauce, etc. With a bowl of chicken congee (Chinese rice porridge) on the side, I feel fully charged for the day!
How to make ahead & save time
I know how precious every minute is on busy mornings, so here are my three ways to save time when cooking egg & scallion crepes:
- If your cooker has multiple burners (zones) and you have two or three pans available, try cooking 2-3 crepes at the same time. Once you get the hang of the workflow, it’s super efficient!
- Mix the batter the night before and store it in the fridge. Remember to stir it very well before using. Cook the usual way.
- You can make a big batch of the crepes and freeze them in airtight containers. Consume within three months. Defrost in the fridge the night before then reheat briefly in a pan (or use a microwave).
Add veggies to make them even healthier
Knowing the basic recipe of Chinese egg crepe, you are free to improvise with other ingredients. I often add some vegetables to the batter to make it even healthier. Grated courgette/zucchini, grated carrot or coarsely chopped spinach (briefly blanched) are great choices. Another creative way is to make the crepes colourful: Replace some of the water with beetroot juice to make it pink. Add some matcha powder (green tea powder) to the batter for green or a pinch of turmeric for yellow.
Other classic Chinese breakfast
Most Chinese breakfast dishes are on the savoury side. Here are some classic examples on my blog. Give them a try!
- You Tiao, Chinese Donut Sticks
- Jian Bing, Street Stand Crepes
- Easy Congee with Chicken & Mushroom
- Chinese Steamed Eggs
- Scallion Pancakes
- Marbled Tea Eggs
Egg and scallion crepe (Ji Dan Bing, 鸡蛋饼)
- 100 g all-purpose flour, ¾ cup
- 240 ml water, 1 cup
- 3 medium eggs, see note 1
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper, or white pepper/black pepper
- 2 stalks scallions (spring onion), finely chopped
- Cooking oil (skip if you use a non-stick pan)
Prepare the batter
- Mix flour and water first until well combined (see note 2).
- Crack eggs into the mixture. Add salt, white pepper and scallions. Whisk until smooth.
Cook the crepes
- Heat up a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Pour in some batter and swirl to evenly cover the surface. To make an 18 cm/7 inch crepe, I use about 4 tablespoon of batter for each (If using a pan without non-stick coating: coat it with a thin layer of oil each time before you pour in the batter).
- The first side is done when the crepe moves freely in the pan. Flip over to cook the other side.
- Transfer out when both sides are cooked (It takes me around 80 seconds). Repeat to finish the rest of the batter.
Serve the crepes
- You may mix the batter the night before and leave it in the fridge. Stir very well before using. Cook the usual way.
- Cooked crepes freeze well. Store in air-tight containers and consume within 3 months. Defrost in the fridge then reheat briefly in a pan (or use a microwave).
N.B. The background music in the video: Sailors Waltz by Ikson