Sunday, December 27, 2009

Spring onion pancake

What to do when all you need is a handfull of spring onions, but the smallest quantity on offer at the shops are fat bunches of leavey stalks of spring onions? Such is a question that often plaques society today but the Taiwanese have the perfect solution for that: spring onion pancakes! A few years ago, a mother of a friend of mine took me under her wings and showed me how to make these savoury pancakes from scratch and ever since then I've toyed and experimented with the recipes and today I believe that I have perfected the recipe to suit my taste buds and hopefully those of many others. I incorporated yeast in the dough to avoid tough texture and I use chicken broth to maximize the savoury flavour.

The basic flavour that dominates these pancakes are spring onion and sesame oil. Another great thing about it is that you really only need the green bits from that big fat bunch of spring onions, so you could reserve the white bits (my favourite bit of green onions) for soups. All the ingredients that you need are basic staples that can be found in most pantries and these are
  • Flour, 500 g
  • Salt, 5 tbsp
  • Sugar, 2 tbsp
  • Instant yeast, 1/2 tsp
  • Sesame oil
  • Chicken broth, 375 ml (could be replaced by water and stock powder)
  • Spring onions, chopped
  • Eggs
So here's what to do. First, we want to make a dough so mix the flour, salt, sugar, instant yeast together and make a little well in the middle to pour in the chicken stock. Mix and knead, slowly incorporate sesame oil. You could add any the amount as you like, depending on the dough. Mine was quite sticky (and I used about ~100 ml of sesame oil) unlike the texture of normal bread dough and I'm not quite sure why this is, but the end product turned out better than I expected. Rest the dough for at least 30 minutes (I rested mine overnight) and cover with wet tea towel.

Flatten dough

Punch down the raised dough and divide into half-fist portions. Roll out each individual portions and top with spring onions, again you could add as much or as little as you like. Roll up the spring onion topped dough into a log and twist into little snails as pictured and rest for another 30 minutes.

Top flattened dough with spring onions

Roll up the spring onion topped dough into a log...

... and twist into little snails

To cook, heat up your pan on medium high heat with a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Meanwhile, flatten the snail dough and try to maintain the circular shape. If you have a small pan like me, try to roll out the dough to fit the size of your pan. Decrease the heat to medium and pan fry the dough on both sides and watch the little air pockets rise and turn the flat dough into a puffy pancake. When the pancake is browned on both sides, put it aside and in the same pan, crack an egg and put the pancake on top. Serve hot with light soy sauce, bon apetit!

Flatten the snail dough and try to maintain the circular shape

Pan fry the dough and watch it turn into puffy pancake

Serve hot with light soy sauce, bon apetit!

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