In my quest to remain in the favor of Food Network magazine, I decided to test drive another recipe from their beautiful pages. When I ran across a page with a recipe for scallion pancakes, I knew this was the one for me.
Eating scallion pancakes take me back to the days of high school, where we would frequently order Chinese food for dinner. I would undoubtedly request Chicken and Broccoli with an appetizer of Scallion Pancakes. Yum! And to think I didn't even know what these things were until I came to the United States. Horrors!
To break it down: A scallion is a mild green onion. Scallion pancakes are fried dough with scallions. And by the way, there's this amazing dipping sauce to go along with it!
(slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine)
yields 6 pancakes
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt, but Kosher salt was recommended)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
- 5 scallions, finely chopped
- Vegetable oil, for frying
1) Combine the flour and salt into a large bowl.
2) Stir in 1/2 cup hot water until blended. My dough was dry, so I added an additional tablespoons of water, although only 2 additional tablespoons are recommended.
3) Knead on a lightly floured surface until elastic yet firm, about 5 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 30 minutes.
4) Divide the dough into 6 pieces and keep covered. One at a time, roll each piece into a 4-inch-long log, then stretch into a 14-inch-long rope. Brush with shortening and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon scallion. Coil the dough into a circle, cover and set aside. Repeat with the remaining dough.
5) Flatten the coils with your hand on a floured surface, then roll with a floured rolling pin into a thin circle. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
6) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 pancake and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining pancakes, adding more oil as needed. Cut into wedges to serve.
But wait, did I mention the delicious dipping sauce? I didn't use the dipping sauce recipe which was provided with the scallion pancakes recipe for one reason: the recipe calls for sesame oil and there is no sesame oil in my apartment. So I scoured the Internet and found another recipe which matched the existing ingredients in my kitchen.
Ginger Dipping Sauce
(slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
1) Combine all ingredients and whisk to incorporate.
I really love this dipping sauce. It's salty and sweet, which is probably the greatest combination ever created. I can also drizzle the remaining sauce over white rice one day for a quick snack. I'm sure I can find other uses for it , but I haven't thought of them yet. Don't worry, I will.
I liked the final outcome of my scallion pancake endeavor, but I didn't love them. Here's why:
1. They were too dense. This might have been a result of me adding more water than recommended to the dough, but I think it was also due to the frying technique. You should probably add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan before frying each scallion pancake. I definitely could have used more oil in the frying process.
2. The recipe was time consuming. Don't get me wrong, I'll be the first person to appreciate anything made from scratch, but in all honesty, I spent several hours creating these appetizers. Unfortunately for Food Network magazine, I can purchase these for $5 in Hoboken and have them delivered within an hour. But am I still glad I made the effort? Heck, yes!