Extra crispy & flaky, lightly chewy Taiwanese Scallion Pancake. Savory pancakes fried to perfection with just 5 ingredients to make at home. Well, if we count water as an ingredient, it would be 6. 🙂
An Indian flat bread.
But it’s not just any regular flat roti bread (definitely not those you get from Indian Restaurants). This one has a sinful amount of ghee slobbered on it. It is repeatedly rolled, flattened, oiled, folded, proof and rise. The result is a thin, fluffy and flaky on the inside and crispy on the outside roti.
I love roti canai.
No, this post is not on roti canai. Soon, guys. Soon. Let me work up the stamina to toss and flip the heck out of it first.
Not long after I moved to Taiwan, I thought I witnessed a miracle when I saw an old Taiwanese couple at a night market making something quite similar to roti. It really is quite a sight when all my life, I’ve only seen Indian men making roti.
Immediately, I bought some but when I ate it, I quickly realized that it wasn’t roti canai. It has some similarities. Crispy, flaky but it was slightly sweet. I later found out that it was actually a some type of Taiwanese pancake.
Months passed and my stomach began to play the ‘I’m not going to shut up until I have some roti’ game. I can’t blame it. I used to feed it roti canai a couple times a week. Months without roti is real torture.
One weekend, I was having lunch at a local noodle shop. A place Mr. V and I name it our ‘regular’. Something from the menu caught my eye. It was scallion pancakes. It looked like roti and I told Mr. V I’d like some.
Then I remembered being duped the last time so I told Mr. V I’ve changed my mind. Ten minutes later, a plate of scallion pancakes was on our table. Mr. V had forgotten not to place the order.
I was about to give him my grandest lecture about forgetfulness.. warning him not to forget our child in a hot car in the future… when I took a bite. I was shocked. The pancake wasn’t sweet like the last time. It was actually savory. It had a lot of scallion ‘taste’ on it. But it wasn’t too bad. I actually could get by eating this as an almost roti replacement in Taiwan. I could definitely trick my stomach.
Try things more than once. You just never know.
Forgetfulness could be a good thing. In this case, I thank Mr. V for
Forgetting not to place the order doesn’t equal forgetting a child in a hot car. Stop the drama.
Few years later and having eaten my share of Scallion Pancakes in Taiwan, it became one of my favorite Taiwanese food. It no longer was a ‘replacement’. It was its own thing. I love roti canai. I also love scallion pancakes.
Making scallion pancakes at home is a breeze and they taste better than commercially sold ones. Extra crispy and flaky, lightly chewy savory scallion pancakes fried to perfection with just 5 ingredients. Let’s just say my stomach has been in the bored department for awhile now. No opportunity for craving. No games for it to play.
1. Hydration: I’ve tried making these pancakes with both a higher and lower hydration 75% vs 65% (water to flour ratio). Not surprising, the higher ratio dough yield a softer, chewier bite while the lower ratio dough was tough and hard. This recipe uses a 75% hydration. Dough will be sticky but the results will be worth the stickiness.
2. Water: Hot water is used to ‘cook’ the flour. There’s less gluten formation making it less elastic and thus easier to work with than cold or room temperature water dough. However, cooked flour dough is very jelly like and sticky so minimal room temperature water is used to balance the consistency of the dough.
3. Rolling and Coiling Twice: Most recipes call to roll and coil once but doing it twice helps create even more layers with pockets of fat in between which equals more flakiness. Think pie crust.
Not only can you eat this pancake as is, you can also stuff food in there like this Beef Stuffed Pancake.
Also, if you haven’t already check out my last post Hand-Torn Noodles (Mee Hoon Kueh or Pan Mee). Hand-torn noodles cooked in anchovies broth until silky smooth, chewy & bouncy with pork & mushroom, shrimp, fried anchovies & shallots.
- 17 oz all purpose flour (4 cups scoop and sweep)
- 11 oz hot water (1¼ cup + 2 tbs)
- 3 oz room temperature water (6 tbs)
- 1½ tsp salt
- ¾ - 1 cup oil
- 8 -12 green onions, finely chopped (about 1 - 1½ cups)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Pour hot water over the flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon to mix. Pour room temperature water in and mix until a dough is formed.
- Turn the dough over a generously floured work area. Lightly flour the dough and start kneading. The dough will be very sticky in the beginning but as you knead while lightly flouring it, it will become less sticky.
- Knead for 6-8 minutes. You're aiming for a dough that is soft and slightly sticky so don't over flour or you'll risk having a tough and hard pancake.
- Coat the dough with oil, place it in a bowl, cover with a sling wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes. Throughout the rolling and coiling process, very lightly flour the dough, work surface and rolling pin for easier handling.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal parts.
- Use a rolling pin to roll out one part until about ⅛" thick.
- Lightly brush the top of the dough with oil (not too much or the oil will spill over when rolling). Sprinkle a little salt on the dough. Roll up the dough tightly, creating one long snake of rolled-up dough. Gently pull both ends and lengthen the dough without tearing.
- Coil into a round dough bundle. Press the end into the center of the coil. Using your hands, firmly press the coiled dough bundle. Let this rest on a lightly floured baking sheet loosely covered with a cloth while you finish the rest.
- Use a rolling pin, roll the dough until it becomes ⅛" thick again.
- Lightly brush the top of the dough with oil. Sprinkle a little salt on the dough. Sprinkle green onions on the dough (depending on how much green onions you want on the pancake). I only use 1 cup for this recipe.
- Roll up the dough tightly, creating one long snake of rolled-up dough. Gently pull both ends and lengthen the dough without tearing. This time it will not yield as easily and will not lengthen as long as the first time. That's ok.
- Coil it and press the end into the center. Firmly press coiled dough and let rest covered while you finish the rest.
- Use a rolling pin, roll all 8 dough into a flat, smooth, round pancake - about ⅛" thick and 8-9" in diameter. You can roll it into a 4-5" pancake if you like a thicker pancake. It's up to you. Scallion may come out when rolling. It's ok.
- Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add a good amount of oil. Once pan is hot, gently place pancakes in the pan and fry for 1½-2 minutes on each side or until brown and crisp to your liking.
- Place them on a wire rack set over a baking sheet in the oven at 200F to keep warm while you fry the rest. Serve warm as is or with your favorite dipping sauce.