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.
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.
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.
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:
- Simplified red-cooked pork belly + Spinach and soybean salad
- Super aromatic three cup chicken + Xinjiang tiger salad
- Fuss-free braised chicken wing + Spicy dry-pot cauliflower
Hope you are tempted to give my recipe a try. Good luck in your kitchen!
Other recipes for those who love spring onion: