I love green onions, especially when they’re lightly cooked to release their secret delicious cooked flavour. Cooking them in oil quickly releases a mellow, mild, almost sweet flavour. I like raw green onion as garnish too, but the smell of cooked green onions is really, really good.
Green onion pancakes are one of my most favourite Chinese snack foods. I love them! They’re perfect on their own, hot and crispy out of the pan, or along side something like Kimchi Stew. When you dip your pancake into the stew or scoop up a bit of meat, it takes on a curry and naan bread feel.
I have fond memories of going over to our family friends’ houses to eat green onion pancake brunches. There may have been other food, or not, but all I remember are those pancakes. Oh, and the little boy I played with, because he had an awesome play kitchen and one of those Little Tikes cars.
Green onion pancakes aren’t pancakes at all. They don’t have any leaving agent and they aren’t made out of a batter. They’re more like a crispy, fluffy, multi-layered flat bread studded with green onions. They’re really easy to make and even better to eat!
Green Onion Pancakes Recipe
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups boiling water
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons oil or other fat substitute
1 bunch of green onions finely sliced
oil for frying
1. Combine sifted flour, salt and boiling water in a bowl and stir until the water is absorbed. Let the dough cool, add the cold water and knead until smooth. I used my hands, but feel free to use a dough hook and your stand mixer. The dough will be soft, but not excessively sticky.
2. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for an hour. The dough won’t rise much, but this resting period allows the gluten in the flour to develop.
3. Remove the dough from the bowl and put it on a slightly floured surface. Shape into a log and divide in to 8 pieces. The 8 pieces will yield 5-6 inch pancakes depending on thickness. If you want smaller or bigger pancakes, divide the dough accordingly.
4. Take a piece of dough and roll it out as thin as you can. The thinner you roll your dough, the more flaky layers the pancake will have.
5. Brush a thin layer of oil, or choice of fat, on the pancake and sprinkle with green onions. Use as many or as little green onions as you like.
6. Roll the dough up like you would a cinnamon bun, that is, into a tube shape. Then form a coil with the tube and pinch the end shut.
7. Now you can either roll out the pancake or repeat the above steps with your remaining dough. If you want to roll out your pancakes, flatten your coils with the palm of your hand and proceed to use your rolling pin to roll the coils into pancakes. The thickness of the pancake is entirely up to you. If you like your pancakes crispy, roll them thinly, if you like a chewier pancake, roll them a bit thicker. Don’t worry if green onions start sticking out of the dough, it’s fine.
8. At this point if you don’t want to fry your pancakes, stack them with sheets of parchment paper in between and wrap them tightly and freeze them. They will keep in the freezer for about a month. You can fry them straight out of the freezer.
9. To fry, heat oil in a frying pan (I prefer cast-iron) until it is shimmery and hot. Swirl the oil around so the pan is coated. You need enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, but not so much that the pancake is swimming. Fry both sides of the pancake on medium heat until brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.
10. Cut into wedges and enjoy!