One of my favorite dishes to order at a dim sum Chinese restaurant is scallion pancakes. These thin, round pancakes are crispy out the outside and chewy on the inside.
Until I started making them about a year ago, I didn’t realize how easy they were to cook at home!
Video: Scallion Pancakes
To make the pancakes, all you need are four basic ingredients: flour, hot (boiling) water, scallions, and salt.
The hot water makes the pancakes easier to flatten, especially during the first rollout. I tried this recipe with room temperature water, and the dough shrank back constantly. I usually boil water with my electric kettle and measure out 3/4 cups of the water inside a glass measuring cup. Then, I pour the water directly into the flour.
I also add garlic powder to my scallion pancakes because I think this adds great flavor to the pancakes. But you can skip it if you don’t have garlic powder in your spice drawer, or if you don't like garlic. (A bit of onion powder also works wonderfully in these pancakes!)
The pancakes are great on their own, or paired with a soy sauce and vinegar based dipping sauce. Serve them while they're hot from the griddle and still crispy!
- For the scallion pancakes:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
- 3/4 cup hot (just boiling) water, plus a few more tablespoons, if necessary
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3 to 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- For the dipping sauce:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Mix the dough:
Add flour, salt and garlic granules to a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Add 3/4 cups of hot water to the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring until all the water has been absorbed by the flour. Don’t worry if the dough has not formed completely yet.
Knead the dough:
Using your hands, knead all the bits of dough together inside the bowl. If your dough is still very dry, add a splash of hot water, about 1 to 2 tablespoons, until it comes together and all the flour is absorbed.
Continue kneading the dough for about 2 more minutes. The dough will feel moist but it should not stick to your hands too much.
Rest the dough:
Shape the dough into a round ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Roll out the pancakes:
Sprinkle flour on top of a work surface. Divide the dough into 4 pieces of equal size. Work with one piece at a time, leaving the remaining pieces in the bowl.
Shape piece of dough into a small ball. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a thin circle, about 7 to 8 inches in diameter.
Add the scallions:
Brush a thin layer of canola oil on top of the dough, making sure not to miss the edges. Sprinkle sliced scallions all over the dough.
Roll and flatten the pancake:
Starting on one end, roll the circle of dough into a log. Take one end of the rolled up dough and curl it toward the center, like a snail's shell. Tuck the end of the dough underneath the spiral.
Use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough into a thick circle. Roll it out again with your rolling pin. Try to roll it out as thinly as possible. A few slices of scallions may pop out during the process, and that’s perfectly normal.
Transfer rolled out scallion pancake to a plate. Repeat steps 4 through 6 with the remaining dough pieces.
Cook the pancakes:
Heat about 2 teaspoons of canola oil a small nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Place one of the pancakes in the middle of the pan and pan fry each side for about 2 to 3 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the 3 remaining scallion pancakes, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
Prepare the dipping sauce:
Mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust the seasonings to your liking, adding more soy sauce or vinegar, if you like. Add any leftover scallions to the dipping sauce, and add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you would like a bit of spice.
Serve the hot pancakes:
Cut the scallion pancakes into small wedges and serve while hot, with the dipping sauce. (The pancakes are still good when cooled, but will no longer be crispy.)