23 November 2014

Vegan Scallion Pancakes

Shana and I have totally different comfort foods. It's no secret that Shana loves Chinese food. A couple of weeks ago I was feeling up to the challenge of Shana's ultimate comfort food: vegan wonton soup. Although that particular attempt was close, it wasn't good enough (the wontons are awesome, it's the broth that I'm struggling with). What WAS good enough was my attempt at scallion pancakes to accompany our soup.

In my memory, scallion pancakes are served at every restaurant approaching Chinese cuisine. In reality, I have no idea how Americanized scallion pancakes are (so much of our "Chinese" food is not eaten in China the way we eat it here) and they are certainly not served everywhere. We tend to order them when we find them on a menu, because oniony fried bread is always a good option. Unfortunately, none of the Asian restaurants in our area (we have a couple of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants) serve scallion pancakes. And clearly, since making one new dish isn't enough for a meal, I simply had to take on two.

But wow, am I glad I did! These scallion pancakes were the real deal and they were surprisingly easy, if a bit more hands-on than I anticipated. Regardless, these will certainly go into rotation as an occasional side for Asian-inspired foods.

Vegan Scallion Pancakes
This recipe is a slight adaptation from this one, at Olives for Dinner.

2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 c. extremely hot water
1 bunch of scallions, chopped fine
sesame seeds
toasted sesame oil
(neutral oil for frying - I used canola)

1. Mix together the flour and salt in a mixer with a paddle attachment or a food processor.
2. Add the hot water to the flour/salt. Mix until the dough is smooth.
3. Put in a lightly greased bowl and cover. Let sit for 30 minutes.
4. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. On a floured surface, roll one piece as thin and circular as you can get it.
5. Using a pastry brush, spread the circle with toasted sesame oil (~1 tsp.) and spread over the bread. Press some scallions and sesame seeds into the oiled bread.
6. Roll up the dough into a snake or make a purse shape with the oil/scallions/sesame seeds on the inside.
7. Roll into another circle (you can do step 6 a second time).
8. Repeat above steps with remaining pieces of dough.
9. Heat your neutral oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and fry each pancake until golden brown on each side (4-7 minutes, depending on heat level). Add oil as needed for future pancakes.

Helpful Hints
  • I did one pancake with two sets of roll/oil, but did the other three with only one set. To be honest, I couldn't tell the difference between them.
  • We did find that we wanted to add a bit of salt to the finished pancakes. Sprinkle ever-so-lightly, as a little goes a long way here. 
  • If you have both black and white sesame seeds, use both! 
  • Without a pastry brush? An oiled paper towel will also work, but be careful not to press too hard. 
  • Shana eats these with plum sauce, but I enjoy them plain. You could also hunt around online for a fun dipping sauce or use "duck" sauce. 
The post "Vegan Scallion Pancakes" originally appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.

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