Spring onion pancake, Cong You Bing (葱油饼)

 

 

An informative guide to making spring onion pancake. This recipe shows you how to make it flaky, tasty and crispy. Dipping sauce suggestions are also provided.

An informative guide to making spring onion pancake. This recipe shows you how to make it flaky, tasty and crispy. Dipping sauce suggestions are also provided.

A close up shot of a spring onion cake. Looks very flaky.

An informative guide to making spring onion pancake. This recipe shows you how to make it flaky, tasty and crispy. Dipping sauce suggestions are also provided.

An informative guide to making spring onion pancake. This recipe shows you how to make it flaky, tasty and crispy. Dipping sauce suggestions are also provided.

In Northern China, spring onion pancakes (aka scallion pancakes, 葱油饼) are a very popular staple food. You can find them both at humble street stalls and in high-end restaurants. Earlier I wrote a recipe on the leavened version of this delicacy (see post HERE). Today I’d like to share my tips on how to cook unleavened spring onion pancake which is thinner and takes less time to prepare. Very flaky, tasty and crispy, it’s truly a delight to enjoy.

How to make it FLAKY

A well-made spring onion pancake should have many layers when teared open. To achieve the ultimate flakiness, I suggest that you follow these tips:

  • Flatten the dough as thin as possible into a rectangle shape, then roll it up from the shorter side into a rope. This is to create maximum layers for the finished pancakes.
  • To prevent the layers from sticking to each other, you need to: 1. Add flour to melted lard (or coconut oil for vegetarian) to make a paste. 2. Brush generous amount of lard paste onto the flattened dough. Widely used in traditional Chinese cuisine, lard has a less liquid consistency than cooking oil when the temperature drops. So it won’t flow out while you shape the pancakes. Coconut oil shares the same feature.

An informative guide to making spring onion pancake. This recipe shows you how to make it flaky, tasty and crispy. Dipping sauce suggestions are also provided.

An informative guide to making spring onion pancake. This recipe shows you how to make it flaky, tasty and crispy. Dipping sauce suggestions are also provided.

How to make it TASTY

Spring onion pancake shouldn’t taste plain. To make it delectable, remember the following tips:

  • Be generous with the spring onion. Sprinkle as much as you like. The oniony flavour is this pancake’s key feature after all.
  • Ground Sichuan pepper gives it an extra zing. If you wish, use other ground spices which are available. It can be Chinese five-spice, black pepper, fennel, cumin, fenugreek, etc.
  • Adjust the quantity of salt. Spring onion pancake makes a great breakfast or a afternoon snack on its own. In this case, you may make it saltier. If you have it as staple to accompany a savoury main course, use less salt instead.

An informative guide to making spring onion pancake. This recipe shows you how to make it flaky, tasty and crispy. Dipping sauce suggestions are also provided.

How to make it CRISPY

A crispy crust is visually appetizing and pleasant on the palate. To ensure the best possible outcome, you need to:

  • Coat the frying pan with enough cooking oil.
  • Heat up the pan to a high temperature when you place in the pancakes. But remember to turn it down a bit afterward. Otherwise you might have uncooked bits in the middle.
  • Flip over the pancakes several times to ensure even crispiness on both sides.

An informative guide to making spring onion pancake. This recipe shows you how to make it flaky, tasty and crispy. Dipping sauce suggestions are also provided.

Serve it with a DIPPING SAUCE

As I mentioned above, spring onion pancakes are often consumed as breakfast in China, along with Chinese congee, marbled tea egg, etc. It’s great to serve them with a dipping sauce. The easy Chinese dressing for cucumber salad that I shared earlier will do a nice job. For hot food lovers, why not simply dip them in homemade chilli oil?

    

If you’d like to have spring onion pancakes as staple for dinner, I have a few suggestions for meal planning:

Spring onion pancake, Cong You Bing (葱油饼)
Rate this recipe
2 ratings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: make 4 pancakes

Spring onion pancake, Cong You Bing (葱油饼)

An informative guide to making spring onion pancake (aka scallion pancake). This recipe shows you how to make it flaky, tasty and crispy. Dipping sauce suggestions are also provided.

Ingredients

    For the dough
  • 250g (2 cups) plain flour (all purpose flour) + extra for dusting
  • 160ml (2/3 cup) boiling water
    For the filling
  • 25g / 2 tablespoons lard (or coconut oil), melted
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper (or Chinese five-spice powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 3 stalks spring onion
    For frying
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Put flour into a heat proof bowl. Pour in boiling water. Stir with a pair of chopsticks or a fork until the flour turns into small lumps and no more water can be seen. When cool enough to handle, knead the mixture into a soft, smooth dough. Leave to rest for 30 mins (see note 1).
  2. Prepare the filling: Add flour, Sichuan pepper and salt into melted lard (or coconut oil). Finely chop spring onion.
  3. Shape the pancakes: Knead the dough again. Flatten it with a rolling pin into a thin rectangle shape (dust with flour to avoid sticking). Brush on the lard (or coconut oil) mixture then sprinkle spring onion over. Roll the dough into a rope (from the shorter side). Cut into 4 cylinders. Stand a piece on one end. Roll it flat to desired thickness (see note 2).
  4. Fry the pancakes: Heat up oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Place the pancakes in then turn the heat to medium (see note 3). Flip over 2-3 times. Cook until both sides are golden brown.
  5. Store & serve: Best to serve warm. You may also freeze the uncooked pancakes (pile them up with baking paper or cling film in between, then put into a sealed plastic bag). Thaw in the fridge then cook the normal way.

Notes

1. The flour and water ratio may vary slightly depending on the brand. Adjust accordingly. The finished dough should be soft but not sticky.

2. You may choose your preferred thickness. But you would end up with a doughy part in the middle if the pancake is too thick. For this recipe, each pancake should be at least 13cm (5 inches) in diameter.

3. Make sure the oil is at the right temperature when you place the pancakes in. It should be hot, but not so hot it burns. You can put in a small piece of spring onion to test. If it starts sizzling, the oil is hot enough. Again, don’t forget to turn the heat down to medium once the pancakes are in.

https://redhousespice.com/spring-onion-pancake/

Hope you are tempted to give my recipe a try. Good luck in your kitchen!

An enthusiastic cook with a Chinese palate and a global mindset.

Other recipes for those who love spring onion:

Shanghai spring onion oil noodles (葱油拌面)

How to make & use spring onion oil (葱油)

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21 thoughts

  1. Delicious & super easy! My family gobbled them up and are demanding that this now be on regular rotation at our house. 🙂 I just discovered your wonderful page — bookmarking it now for the future. Thank you so much for all the great authentic cooking advice.

  2. I recently moved to Germany after living in Shenzhen and Taipei for 6 years. There is not a lot of authentic Chinese food where I am currently living, and I really miss the delicious street foods of my former hometowns. So, I’m so happy to have found your blog! This morning’s breakfast was tea eggs and spring onion pancakes and it just made my heart sing! The recipes were delicious and so easy. Thank you and I look forward to trying more of your fantastic recipes!

  3. I made these today and the consistency of the dough was perfect. Great recipe and instructions! These are a new family favourite for sure. Thank you.

  4. These look amazing, unfortunately, the flour to water ratio results in an initial dough that is very very tough and drier. After 30 min, the dough remains the same. Rolling it out was pleasant, flattened without sticking very nicely. After spreading the filling on, rolling it into a rope, cutting cylinders, I rolled those out. This is where things literally fell apart. Each one was nearly impossible to roll, as the oil slides everything out from under the pin, and it ends up in a separated, thin strip of swirled dough. Dough did not stick to itself at all, everything fell apart. I’ve made these before with a different amount of water. Really surprised anyone had any success with this recipe as is. Will try again with double the water to flour.

    1. Hi Buck! So sorry to hear that!
      I’ve been making these pancakes for years and I’m very sure about the flour water ratio. You might find it a little softer / harder depending the flour type / brand you use. However, I would never expect such a disaster. For cold water plain dough, the flour water ratio is around 2:1. For hot water dough like this one, you would need a little more water. That is why I recommend 160 ml boiling water to 250 g flour. I’m not sure if you used standard cup to measure flour and if you are aware that measuring flour by cup is less accurate than by weight.
      For next time, I wouldn’t suggest you to double the water (which will be 320ml water to 250 flour).
      I’m now updating some of my recipe posts with step by step instruction videos. Hopefully I will soon make one for spring onion pancake to give my readers a better idea what the right consistency of the dough is like.
      I wish you good luck in your kitchen and thank you for visiting my blog!

  5. I had the same issue as Buck. From my experience, living at a higher altitude & dry climate can influence dough recipes I experiment with online. Next time I may try the cold water method and I’ll be sure to weigh the ingredients rather than use my measuring cups. We fried them and they still tasted good just very tough. I look forward to giving this another try. Thanks for the tips!

  6. Was very excited to try this recipe, but think I might have overworked the dough? They came out a bit bready, and not as flakey or glossy as your images. We don’t get AP flour here in South Africa, so used cake flour… could that have caused it too?

    1. You can surely use cake flour. I don’t think that causes the problem. The key to flakey pancake is that you brush enough oil mixture (the filling) in between the layers. To ensure a glossy look: 1. Make sure the oil for frying is not too little. 2. Put the pancakes in when the oil is hot. These will help to produce a crispier texture on the surface of the pancakes.

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