scallion pancakes done right

Today was one of those days when I didn't have much food in the fridge, didn't really want to eat out because I'm about to go on vacation, and didn't really want to buy groceries...because...well...I'm about to go on vacation.  I started off by eating peanut butter and jelly on wasa crackers.  I've come to learn that you can put pbj on anything, including wasa crackers (which inherently taste like cardboard), and it will be delicious. 

One of the things I grew up on is a chinese pancake, called bing.  Bing comes in a ton of forms and flavors, but I'm sure the scallion pancake (cong you bing) is by far everyone's most favorite.  Despite watching my family make bing all my life, I've never attempted to do it on my own.  And it's certainly not because it's difficult (seriously, this recipe calls for 5 ingredients, and one of them is water...), I just never even thought to make it. Until now.

What you'll need:
-All purpose flour
-Hot water
-Chopped scallions
-Sesame oil
Step 1: The dough.  2 parts all purpose flour to 1 part hot water to 1 pinch of salt.  I effectively used 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of water, 1 heavy pinch of salt.  Have I mentioned that I always, always, make too much food?  Obviously, I will be eating all of this.

A good way to start is by slowing pouring water into the flour while stiring with some kind of utensil.  And then...dig in.  My grandma used to tell me that good dough kneading is when you reach the point where your hands and bowl become clean.  Clearly I failed at this.  But, good enough.

Step 2: Cover the dough and let it hang out for an hour.  Chop your scallions.

Step 3: Roll.  2 cups of flour is enough to made 2 large size pancakes.  So divide the dough in half and start on the first one.  Always have flour on hand.  Using a rolling pin, and hopefully a cutting board that is much bigger than mine (fail), roll the dough out super thin, as if you're making a pizza.  When this is done, smear sesame oil and some salt evenly.   Then sprinkle with the chopped scallions.

Step 4: Roll, again.  Starting at one end, roll up the dough into a really thin log, and then spiral it into a ball.  Then, take your rolling pin, and roll out, this time keeping it maybe a half inch thick... or about 10inches.

Step 5: Cook.  In a large skillet, that has a lid (or if you're me, use a ghetto baking pan as a lid), heat to medium low and add just a dash of oil or cooking spray.  Lay the pancake in the skillet, cover, and let it cook for about 5 minutes on each side.  Check on it within 2-3 minutes to see how it's browned up.

The best and only way to eat bing is by cutting it up into wedges like a pizza, and then completely disregarding the wedge form by peeling apart the layers.  The work done earlier with the oil and rolling and re-rolling, creates these wonderful little layers of heaven in the pancake. 

Chinese pancakes also make perfect leftovers.  You can eat them as is by toasting for a few min, OR, what is even more fabulous, make chao bing!  Cut up the pancake into little thin shreds, almost like noodles, and put them into stirfry.  It's like crack.  Seriously.


  1. just found your blog on foodieblogroll..can't wait to try this! i like this dish at dimsum but almost never order it :( hope it turns out with all those nice layers just like yours!!


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