A Scallion Pancake Recipe Inspired by French and Asian Cuisines
By Owen Lu, age 16, California
This pancake recipe is surprisingly simple and versatile, allowing for many variations by adjusting the portion size or adding other ingredients of your choice. The batter in the recipe resembles that of crepes, the traditional French pancakes. Chinese cuisine also contains many similar versions of this recipe, like Jian Bing(煎饼)and scallion pancakes. The dish I present here combines elements from these two cuisines.
The original pancake recipe (without additional ingredients) was passed on from my grandmother. The recipe stemmed from the hope to create an easier version of scallion pancakes; scallion pancakes are much more complicated to make as you have to carefully layer the dough to create a crisp exterior but maintain a soft interior. This pancake recipe produces a dish with similar ingredients but in a much simpler way.
I fused my dish with Chinese Jian Bing, which often contains crisps inside that provide a texture contrast. After some research, I found that the crisps can be easily made by shallow-frying, pre-made wonton wrappers.
I hope you have fun experimenting with this quick but tasty recipe!
Ingredients: You will need:
- Wheat flour (type of flour doesn’t matter too much), 3 cups
- Eggs, 2
- Water, 3 cups
- Green onions (finely chopped), ½ cup
- Cilantro (finely chopped) ¼ cup
- Olive oil (type of oil doesn’t matter too much)
- Chili Oil, Fermented Bean Curd (optional)
- Wonton wrappers
- Any other toppings / additions of your choice to wrap inside the pancake
Directions: This recipe produces around 5 servings.
- Add 3 cups of flour to a bowl.
- Crack 2 eggs into the bowl
- Add cold water slowly into the bowl by keeping the faucet barely open and taking the bowl out every 10 seconds or so to mix.
- Mix thoroughly—at first, as you add more water, you may notice “clumps” forming in the mixture. Be sure to continue stirring until these clumps mostly disappear.
- The purpose of adding the water slowly is to prevent these clumps from growing larger—it is hard to dissolve the clumps if you add too much water at once
- The consistency we are looking for at the end is in between the dough and soup. The exact amount of water needed for this recipe is hard to measure because we are adding it incrementally.
- Chop green onions and cilantro relatively finely and add them to the mixture. Chopping them too big may prevent them from properly incorporating into the batter. Chopping them too small may make them burn before the pancake is fully cooked yet.
- Add salt and any additional spices you wish to include. I often like to include a bit of spice, so I mixed chili oil and fermented bean curd and added this mixture to the batter. You may instead want to add additional ingredients, like onion, peppers, etc.
- After adding all the ingredients, be sure to mix thoroughly one last time.
To cook the pancakes:
- Add oil to a nonstick pan on medium-low heat. Medium low heat guarantees that the pancake will not solidify before you finish spreading out the batter into a circular shape.
- Add a few spoons of the batter to the center of the pan and spread the batter out until it more or less fills up the pan and forms a circle.
- Turn the heat slightly up to medium or medium high so that the pancake can form a nice color on the outside.
- Flip the pancake when the other side develops a brown color; be careful! This process only takes around 1-2 minutes. If needed, flip the pancake around a few more times to fully cook it.
- Repeat steps 1-4 until you use up all your batter, making sure to adjust the heat according to the instructions. You may also need to add more oil before you begin cooking each pancake.
If you want to, you can stop here. However, if you want to add a few extra ingredients, please follow the steps below:
- Take out your wonton wrappers and bring them to room temperature—if needed, you can defrost them using the microwave.
- Season the wonton wrappers with a touch of salt and pepper to give them some flavor
- Turn the heat up to medium-high
- In the same oil that you used to cook the pancakes (which should have developed some flavor by this point), place the wonton wrappers in.
- Carefully monitor the wonton wrappers and flip them over when the other side turns brown. With medium-high heat, this process takes only 15-25 seconds. I find it easiest to flip them over with a pair of chopsticks.
- Take the crisps out and let them dry on a towel.
About the author: Owen Lu, age 16, California, is currently a high school junior and is particularly interested in STEM subjects like physics and computer science. When he’s not solving problems, he enjoys playing the violin, sailing, and cooking.