From Too Many Chefs -

October 25, 2005
Scallion Pancakes - Non-Traditional

All right, let's get this out of the way - that's not the best picture of pancakes ever. But the pancakes themselves were pretty tasty.

Scallion pancakes are usually done very differently from the way I made these. Most of the recipes you'll find are based on a combination of boiling hot water and flour. They're good, but I wanted to see if a traditional breakfast pancake recipe would work to make an easy scallion-filled savory pancake.

The original sweet buttermilk recipe comes from Deborah Madison's amazing Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, the cookbook that gets the most wear at our house.

I subbed out the buttermilk for regular milk and a splash of rice wine vinegar, and swapped soy sauce in a larger quantity for the sugar and vanilla. I retained the chemical leaveners and the eggs to create a puffy pancake, very different from the thin scallion pancakes that are more common in Asian restaurants.

Did I mention this was a non-traditional recipe?

The end result is very tasty, particularly when fried in a light sesame oil. Serve with the dipping sauce recipe below. I poured some of the sauce on the pancakes in the picture above, but it's better for dipping. We enjoyed the pancakes with a bowl of homemade lentil soup.

Non-Traditional Scallion Pancakes

1 1/2 c. flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of black pepper

1 1/2 c milk
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thinly on the bias

Sesame oil for frying (optional)

Dipping sauce:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 big clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced scallion

Mix all the ingredients for the dipping sauce together in a bowl. Set aside to let the flavors combine.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and pepper together in one big bowl.

In another bowl, mix the milk, eggs, and soy sauce together. Mix until the eggs are well incorporated, then add the rice wine vinegar.

In a non-stick skillet, heat a tablespoon of sesame oil until it starts to shimmer.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry (I know some people do it the other way, but this works well). Mix a little better than if you were making breakfast pancakes until you don't see any raw flour in the bowl anywhere. Add and mix in the chopped scallions.

Use a 1/3 cup measure to drop the batter onto the skillet. Pour directly into the center of the pancake, don't try to swirl it around. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until bubbles are coming up in the center of the pancake and the edges are starting to brown. You can peek underneath with your spatula to ensure the bottom is golden brown.

Flip the pancake and let it cook until set completely. If your pancake is too thick, and you fear the center is not set, push down on it with your spatula. You'll lose some lift, but any raw batter will squeeze out.

Remove the pancake to a plate in a 150 F oven until you've finished all of them.

For the next and subsequent pancakes, you can add more oil or not, as you prefer. Obviously if you have a "stick" skillet (as opposed to "Non-stick"), you'll need the oil.

Serve with the dipping sauce.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at October 25, 2005 7:22 AM | TrackBack

Hmm, I think I'd feel better if I ate them as they came off the griddle. Maybe I'll makem' fer dinner. Thanks mang!


Posted by Dr. Biggles on October 25, 2005 at 11:53 AM

Straight from the griddle would be ideal, but it took me a good ten minutes to do all the pancakes, so I resorted to the warm oven trick.

Posted by barrett on October 25, 2005 at 11:59 AM

That is an interesting variation, Barrett. I make the traditional Chinese scallion pancakes--but I might try these to see how they taste. The texture would be completely different--I think these would be rather like blini.

BTW--I don't do boiling hot water in my dough, just warm, and it doesn't seem to affect the flavor or texture of it at all. FWIW.

Posted by Barbara on October 25, 2005 at 3:00 PM

Barbara - They are somewhat fluffy, as you might expect. You could probably cram another scallion in the mix easily.

I was trying to figure out why the hot or warm water? Does it make more gluten or something? Any idea?

Posted by barrett on October 25, 2005 at 4:09 PM

Yeah you bet you can get another scallion in there, even half another! I just finished my version.
I'll put up the post tomorrow morning, pacific time. The pancake came out just fine, I think. It was fluffy, kinda like American pancakes. Mama liked them too, but we both found the sauce too rich, salty. However, I have to say we'd run out of rice wine vinegar and substituted one third Amurican, so the volume wasn't there. Could I have substituted Mirin? I dunno. In any case, had a blast and got a nice photograph to go with.


Posted by Dr. Biggles on October 25, 2005 at 8:24 PM

Biggles - I'm so glad you tried it! The sauce was very rich and salty, which is why I think it works better as a dipping sauce.

My wife was less impressed with the saltiness, but thought it had potential.

Did I mention I have a salt lick in my office?

Posted by barrett on October 25, 2005 at 9:52 PM

I suspect it has to do with the gluten, Barrette--I will start researching that question and see what I come up with, and let you know.

The dipping sauce I use for scallion pancakes is a little less salty--I add some sugar, more vinegar and a drizzle of chicken broth or Shaoxing wine.

In light of the wine I often add, Dr. Biggles, I think you could have done fine with the mirin.

The sugar doesn't really make the sauce sweet so much as balance the salt a bit.

Posted by Barbara on October 25, 2005 at 11:06 PM

Yay, as one of you probably just found out, my entry is up. Pretty scallion pancakes!

Posted by Dr. Biggles on October 26, 2005 at 12:48 PM

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Posted by wendy on August 2, 2006 at 5:51 PM