An easy breakfast loaded with nutrients, Chinese zucchini pancakes require minimum effort to make. Adaptation and Make-ahead tips are provided.
What are zucchini pancakes
Do you like savory breakfast, as I do? Today’s recipe, Chinese Zucchini Pancakes, is a simple and delightful one to try.
Known as Hú Tā Zi/糊塌子 in Chinese, these humble yet delicious pancakes are a popular dish in the northern regions of China. My mum passed down her recipe to me, and now I cook it regularly for my own children.
Soft and flavorful, zucchini pancakes are reminiscent of Egg & Scallion Crepes, but with the added goodness of vegetables, they are even healthier.
Here is a simple list of ingredients for making Chinese zucchini pancakes.
- Zucchini, aka courgette
- Scallions, aka green onion, spring onion
- All-purpose flour
- Ground Sichuan pepper. This is my family’s favorite spice to season savory pancakes. If unavailable, use white pepper or Chinese five-spice powder to substitute.
- Sesame oil
- Neutral cooking oil, for pan-frying. It can be vegetable, canola, sunflower, corn, soybean, rapeseed oil, etc.
🛎 NOTE: You don’t need any water for this batter as the water in the zucchini and eggs are enough to combine the flour.
Step 1: Prepare the vegetables
Wash the zucchini thoroughly to remove any dirt. No need to peel its green skin. Use a grater (or a food processor) with medium holes to thinly shred the zucchini. Use a knife to finely chop the scallions.
Step 2: Mix the batter
After 10 minutes, you’ll see quite a bit of liquid extracted from the zucchini.
Add the eggs and sesame oil then stir to incorporate the whites and yolks.
In three batches, stir the flour into the mixture. The consistency of the batter should look quite thick but still spreadable.
Step 3: Pan-fry the pancakes
Add a little cooking oil to a skillet/frying pan. Heat until hot. Pour in some batter.
Spread it to an even thickness with the back of a spoon.
Leave to cook over medium-high until the bottom side turns golden. Use a spatula to flip over the pancake. Cook the second side until it browns a little too.
🛎 EXTRA TIPS:
- You may decide the size of your pancakes (Mine are about 6 in/15 cm in diameter). Keep in mind that it may be a little challenging to flip the pancakes in one piece if they are made too large.
- Adjust the heat as needed. The surface of the pancake should look almost dry when the bottom side is browned to the right shade (neither too pale nor too dark).
If you plan to have zucchini pancakes first thing in the morning, I suggest you prepare the batter the night before and store it in the fridge.
Since the water in the zucchini will be extracted further over time, the batter will become a little thinner after resting overnight. So use a little more flour than suggested in the recipe. Before pan-frying, mix the batter very well.
Optional dipping sauce
These zucchini pancakes taste wonderful on their own, especially while warm. However, they’re often served with a dipping sauce in restaurants or Chinese households.
My family’s favorite is a simple mixture of black rice vinegar and minced garlic. Or, just dip them in homemade chili oil for an extra kick on the palate. Check out my Dumpling Sauce post for more inspiration, or use any shop-bought sauces that you enjoy (e.g. Laoganma chili sauces).
What to serve with
Adapt with other ingredients
This recipe can be altered by adding other ingredients to the batter.
- Vegetable options include carrots, Chinese chives, bean sprouts, spinach, kimchi, onion/shallots (fried in a little oil beforehand), etc.
- Protein options include minced ham, chopped shrimp, crumbled tofu, grated cheese, etc.
🛎 NOTE: When adding extra ingredients to the batter, you may need to add a little more water to adjust the consistency.
Other breakfast recipes
Looking for more Chinese dishes for breakfast/brunch? Check out these popular recipes:
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Zucchini Pancakes (糊塌子)
BEFORE YOU START
- Grate zucchini with a grater and finely chop scallions. Put them into a mixing bowl.
- Add salt and ground Sichuan pepper (or other spices). Mix well then let it sit for 10 minutes so that some of the water is extracted from the zucchini.
- Crack eggs into the bowl and add sesame oil. Stir to combine with the vegetables.
- In three batches, stir flour into the mixture to form a thick batter.
- Heat a skillet/frying pan with a little oil until hot. Pour in a portion of the batter (see note 1) then use the back of the spoon to spread and even the surface.
- Leave to cook over medium-high heat until the bottom side becomes golden. Flip over to brown the other side (see note 2). Then repeat the process to finish the batter.
- Make ahead: You can prepare the batter in advance and store it in the fridge overnight. In this case, you’ll need to use a little more flour as there will be more liquid extracted from the zucchini over time.
- Optionally, make a dipping sauce with minced garlic and black rice vinegar. Add some chili oil if you wish.
NUTRITION DISCLOSURE: Nutritional information on this website is provided as a courtesy to readers. It should be considered estimates. Please use your own brand nutritional values or your preferred nutrition calculator to double check against our estimates.