Beth Hensperger’s Scallion Pancakes

The recipe for this scallion pancake comes from Beth Hensperger’s The Best Quickbreads (pp.161-62), where it is called Chinatown Green Onion Pancakes. She says it is a great favorite in San Francisco’s Chinatown and is great with stir-frys.

Here is the basic idea: make a dough with a cup of whole wheat flour, a cup of white flour, 1 tsp. of baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, and 3/4 cup ice water. Roll the dough out thin, brush with sesame oil, sprinkle with chopped scallions, and then roll up jelly-roll style into a long tube. The tube is cut into three pieces and each piece is stretched out into a long roll. Each of the rolls is spiraled around (kind of like a cinnamon bun), flattened, and then rolled out thin. These pancakes are then fried in a small amount of oil in a hot skillet. The recipe states that you can get three 9″ round pancakes, but I rolled mine not as thin, and got a smaller diameter (7″?)

Not clear? Take a look at this YouTube video. The demonstrated recipe uses a slightly different proportion of flour to water (2 cup flour, 1 cup water), the water is hot, not cold as in the Hensperger recipe, and the dough is all white flour–no whole wheat. But the rolling technique is the same. He seems to be making a recipe very much like this, from Ming. It would seem that the salt and baking powder that Hensperger adds to her dough are not strictly necessary, but I have always gotten good results with her recipe, so maybe they help.

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