Being stuck at home for spring break gave me the motivation to cook new dishes and with all that time on my hands, it was the perfect opportunity to try to make one of my favorite childhood foods: green onion pancakes. Green onion pancakes, or scallion pancakes, are a savory Chinese flatbread folded with oil and minced scallions. Unlike a traditional American pancake, green onion pancakes are made with dough instead of batter and they are pan-fried to create crispy edges with chewy yet flakey textures on the inside. I used to eat green onion pancakes all the time when I was growing up and when I crave them, I usually buy the frozen packages of pre-made pancakes from my local Asian market and reheat them in the pan. After doing some research on a variety of different green onion pancake recipes, I thought it would be fun to try and make them from scratch and see how they compared to a restaurant or store-bought green onion pancake, and this is the recipe I used to make two green onion pancakes.
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of cold water
- 4 sprigs of green onion, minced
- Olive oil
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and water until a ball of dough is formed. Cover with a damp towel and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, mince the green onions and set aside in a small bowl. You’ll be using two sprigs of green onion per pancake.
- When the resting period is over, sprinkle some flour onto your working space and knead the dough for at least five minutes until it is no longer sticky and forms a soft, moldable ball.
- Let the dough rest in the bowl covered with a damp towel for another 20 minutes.
- Separate the dough into two pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out the first piece of dough into a rough 12×12 square.
- Cover the dough with a thin layer of olive oil and generous amounts of salt and green onions.
- Starting from the top edge of the square, roll the dough into itself forming a log shape and pinch the edges.
- Roll the dough log into a cinnamon bun shape and tuck one end at the bottom. This will create layers in the green onion pancake.
- Roll out the dough into a 9-inch circle.
- On medium-high heat, pan-fry the pancake for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
- Let the green onion pancake rest on top of a paper towel to soak up the excess oil and cut it into six pieces.
This recipe took me two attempts to make because during my first attempt, my water was not at the correct temperature and I did not knead the dough long enough which made it very difficult to work with. After throwing away my first dough attempt and starting on a second batch, however, I realized how important it was to use cold water and knead the dough until it was no longer sticky. It took around an hour to make two green onion pancakes and they were not nearly as flakey as the ones I get at the restaurant or supermarket, so the final verdict is that I would probably just continue purchasing the pre-made pancakes from the grocery store. However, it was actually super fun making them at home because the recipe requires simple ingredients that I already had in my kitchen so if you have extra time on your hands, I would encourage you to try it out and experiment with this recipe!
Winnie Lam serves as the 2019-2020 On The Menu Editor. She has an unhealthy obsession with Trader Joe’s and she loves all things matcha.