Posts Tagged ‘scallions’

Momofuku Pork Buns

pork buns

If Momofuku is famous for one item it’s the steamed pork buns. There’s been a lot of hype about the pork buns, even if they were an “eleventh-hour addition” to the menu. Chang himself admits that the buns are “a take on pretty common Asian food formula: steamed bread + tasty meat = good eating.” It’s true too, there are hundreds of versions of steamed buns and meats, but I have never had one as satisfying as the one I had that first time I visited Momofuku in 2007.

roasted pork belly, buns, quick-pickled cucumbers, hoisin, green onions

Maybe it was because I was really hungry, or maybe it was my giddiness at staying another night in NYC, but that first Momofuku pork bun was so perfect. The combination of sweet hoisin, green onions, roasted pork belly, and crunchy pickled cucumbers wrapped up in the perfect blank slate for flavour, the steamed bun, was handheld satisfaction.

gratuitous pork belly shot

The buns are ridiculously addictive, simple and satisfying. The recipe in the book isn’t really a recipe at all, more a how-to-assemble, as long as you have all of your ingredients ready. You need steamed buns, hoisin sauce, quick-pickled cucumbers, roasted pork belly, green onions and sriracha on the side.

hand-held satisfaction

Flip open your buns, spread some hoisin on both sides, cucumbers go on the bottom half, the top half gets a sprinkling of green onions then slices of roast pork belly are nestled in the middle. Fold up the goodness and eat!

pork buns for two

Damn you pork buns, I want to eat hundreds of you and fall into a food coma.

close up of pork buns

Green Onion Pancakes recipe

green onion pancakes

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

measure out flour

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.

combine flour and water

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.

knead dough into a smooth ball

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.

brush dough with oil

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.

sprinkle green onions

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.

roll like a cinnamon bun

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.

coil dough

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.

flatten and roll into a pancake

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.

fry at medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet

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.

crispy, delicious green onion pancakes

10. Cut into wedges and enjoy!

green onion pancake cut into wedges

Green Onion Oil/Ginger Scallion Recipe

Note: green onions are also known as scallions and spring onions.

I find that cooking green onions changes the flavour immensely. Heat and oil mellows out the onions causing them to become much more aromatic and fragrant, just like how regular raw onions have a distinctly different taste than cooked ones.

green onion oil

I played around with Chang’s Ginger Scallion recipe a bit before I figured out what I liked. It’s quite a different flavour than Chang’s. Here’s my recipe:

Green Onion Oil Recipe

Ingredients

1 big bunch of green onions finely sliced
3 tablespoons of ginger finely minced
1 tablespoon each of finely minced garlic and shallots

1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
splash of sesame seed oil

salt to taste

Directions

Heat up the grapeseed oil in a saucepan over high heat until the oil is shimmery and hot, but not smoking. Add the green onions, ginger, garlic and shallots at once, but be careful, the oil will bubble and splatter. The onions will sizzle and wilt almost immediately and turn a bright green. Take the pan off the heat and stir the sauce with a wooden spoon. Add a splash of sesame seed oil and salt to taste. Toss with your favourite noodles, hoisin and sriracha.

The green onion oil will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but it’ll lose that vibrant green colour. My favourite use for it? Hainanese chicken rice. But that’s another post.

shallot, garlic, ginger and green onions

minced ginger, garlic and shallots; sliced green onions

shimmery and hot grapeseed oil

vibrant green onion oil

green onion noodles with sriracha and hoisin

yum, noodles!

Ginger Scallion Sauce with Noodles

Update: I created my own green onion oil/ginger scallion sauce recipe!

green onions and ginger

The Ginger Scallion Sauce is very likely the easiest recipe in the book, but maybe I’m getting too into Momofuku’s multi-step recipes because I was a bit disappointed. The sauce was lacking flavour and had too much of a raw taste.

momofuku ginger scallion sauce

I’ve actually had the ginger scallion sauce with the Momofuku fried chicken and it tasted distinctly different. I didn’t wait the requisite 15-20 minutes for the sauce to rest, so that could possibly be the reason why the flavours didn’t meld and the onions tasted so raw.

ginger scallion sauce for 2

Looking my version of the sauce and a photo of the Momofuku sauce, I can see that they look pretty different. The Momofuku sauce has more oil and is a bit more brown, maybe due to more soy sauce. I remember the sauce being addictive when I was eating it so I was really looking forward to having it tossed with noodles, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

ginger scallion sauce on noodles

Scallions, ginger, oil, soy sauce, sherry vinegar and salt are stirred together. The ratio of scallion to ginger to oil is about 10:2:1. The sauce gets better as you let it sit, so while you’re waiting, you can prepare your noodle toppings. I did quick-picked cucumbers, bamboo shoots and soy sauce pickled mushrooms.

pickled shiitakes

The sauce tossed with noodles was delicious, but it was lacking something. Hoisin sauce? Chang does say that you can add it, so I did, and it was better. Mike topped his with sriracha and that made it taste even better, but there was still something missing.

ginger scallion sauce noodles, quick pickled cucumbers, pickled shiitakes, bamboo shoots

It’s a bold statment to say “ginger scallion sauce is one of the greatest sauces or condiments ever.” And maybe if I was eating Chang-made sauce I would agree, but for me, I think this recipe needs some tweaking for it one of my favourite sauces.

close up for ginger scallion noodles