Recipe from Flour, Too by Joanne Chang (Chronicle Books, 2013)
I grew up eating scallion pancakes in every shape and form. They were an easy snack that my mom bought frozen in the Asian grocery store, we made them carefully from scratch with my aunt when she visited from Taiwan, and we ordered them every time we went out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I learned quickly that there are huge variations in what you get, from a flaky, salty delicacy to a greasy, chewy, flavorless forgery.
When I opened Flour, it hit me that our popular focaccia dough would make an awesome fried dough, that guilty pleasure sold at outdoor fairs. And then I had a eureka moment and realized that the focaccia would make an even more awesome scallion pancake. The yeasted dough would fry up lighter and airier than the traditional dough, and I could combine the best of both worlds. At Myers+Chang, we use the focaccia dough from Flour, spread it with a mixture of sesame oil and scallions, shape it into rounds, and then fry the rounds to make the ultimate scallion pancake. They are a staff and customer favorite.
Makes 3 large pancakes
- 8 or 9 scallions, white and green parts, minced
- ¼ cup/60 ml sesame oil
- 1¼ tsp kosher salt
- ½ batch Flour Focaccia dough (see recipe), or 1 lb/455 g store-bought pizza dough
- About 1½ cups/360 ml vegetable oil, for frying
- Soy Dipping Sauce
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp Sriracha sauce
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp peeled and finely minced fresh ginger
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 scallion, white and green parts, minced
Special equipment: rimmed baking sheet, rolling pin
1. In a small bowl, mix together the scallions, sesame oil, and salt.
2. Cut the dough into thirds. On a well-floured work surface, roll out one portion of the dough into a thin 5-by-10-in/12-by-25-cm rectangle. Repeat with the remaining two dough portions. Spread the scallion mixture evenly over the dough rectangles, leaving a 1⁄2-in/12-mm border uncovered on all sides. Starting at a long side, roll up each rectangle jelly-roll style and pinch the seam with your fingers to seal. Spiral each cylinder into a tight coil and tuck the ends under the coil. Place in a warm area, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest for about 2 hours to allow the dough to proof and relax. (At this point, the dough can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for up to 1 week; thaw in the fridge overnight before using.)
3. Line the baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. Set aside.
4. On a generously floured work surface, press each coil into a flat circle, deflating any air pockets and squishing the scallions gently into the dough. With the rolling pin, slowly and carefully roll out each flattened circle into a 10-in/25-cm round. Flour the dough and work surface as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. (It’s okay if some of the scallion mixture comes out.) As you finish rolling each round, set it aside.
5. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it is shimmering.
6. While the oil is heating, make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, Sriracha sauce, sesame oil, ginger, vinegar, sugar, and scallion until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside. (The sauce can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container.)
7. To check if the oil is ready, sprinkle a bit of flour into the skillet. If it sizzles on contact, the oil is ready. Carefully add one pancake to the hot oil and fry, turning once, for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until golden. Transfer the pancake to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pancakes, always allowing the oil to return to temperature before adding the next one.
8. Cut the pancakes into quarters, arrange on a platter, and serve hot with the dipping sauce.