Sunday, February 7, 2010

Homemade Scallion Pancakes

I love scallion pancakes - love them.  They are delicious.  And usually I buy them frozen down in Chinatown, but after making them in a cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education, and realizing that they aren't THAT complicated to make, I figured why not try making them at home.  So here goes.  The recipe we followed at ICE was pretty good, but I made a few small changes, including using sesame oil during the cooking process to give the pancakes more flavor.  While I can't say that I will be doing this often, just because of the time commitment, it's a delicious alternative to the frozen scallion pancakes I almost always have in the freezer.  And as these scallion pancakes are pan-fried instead of deep fried, I somehow feel much better about eating them.

Recipe after the jump!

Homemade Scallion Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling and handling dough
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt, plus additional
1/3 cup cold water
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, plus additional
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced on the bias (all of the whites and part of the greens)
vegetable oil for pan-frying

Add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) to bowl of food processor.  Pulse to combine.  With processor running, add water slowly until dough forms into a ball.  Remove dough from food processor, and knead into a ball with the heel of your hand until "ear-lobe soft", 1-2 minutes.  Coat dough in 1/2 tbsp sesame oil.  Place dough in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, to rest for 1 hour at room temperature.  

Turn dough out on a very lightly floured board and knead until smooth, about 1 minute.  Split dough in 1/2.  Keep one dough ball covered with plastic wrap while working with the other dough ball so it doesn't dry out.  Roll out dough into 1/8-inch thick rounds.  This is going to be very very thin.  Brush dough with approximately 1/4 tbsp sesame oil and sprinkle evenly with scallions and salt.  Roll dough up into a cylinder. 

Pinch the ends of the cylinder shut.  Then wind the cylinder into a flat round spiral - like a snake.  
Press to flatten and roll dough out thinly to 8-inch diameter circle.  

Repeat with second dough round.  Keep breads covered until you cook them.

Heat 10-inch cast-iron (or other heavy skillet) over medium heat.  Add vegetable oil, and 1 tsp of sesame oil to a depth of 1/8-inch.  When the oil is hot, add the bread.  The oil will sizzle.  Cook the bread over moderate heat, until the bottom of the bread is golden, 2-5 minutes.  Flip the bread over and add more oil if necessary.  Cook the second side until it is golden, 3-5 minutes.  Cooking time will depend vastly on how thinly you have rolled out your bread and how hot you have your stove on.  Take care not to turn the stove on too high or the bread will burn before the insides have fully cooked.

Slide bread onto a cutting board and cut into 8 pie-shaped wedges.  Serve immediately.

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