Scallion Pancakes: An Asian take on the classic American Pancake

I absolutely love Asian Cuisines! I love the flavors. I love the spice. I love the cooking methods. I love the traditions surrounding the meals and cooking styles. If you asked me what my favorite thing to cook is, as chefs are often asked, I would probably say anything Asian. Asian food is certainly one of my favorites to eat!

Several years ago, while on a mini vacation, my husband and I found a little hole-in-the-wall Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant. We just had to try! And, it was fabulous! They had everything from fried duck feet to traditional spring rolls. We ordered several items we had never had before. A squid salad, fried shrimp balls, an egg dish, etc. It was all amazing. However, the favorite, by far, for both of us were the scallion pancakes. They were light and flaky. They were crisp and exploding with flavor. I have been on a mission ever since to re-create these at home.

scallion pancakes

I have researched recipes, researched how they are made, and experimented at home. First of all, let me say that there are thousands of scallion pancake recipes out there. And, I have tried many. There are a few things that all of the good recipes have in common: Hot water and the rolling method. That being said, here is a basic overview about scallion pancakes:
Scallion pancakes are a traditional savory Chinese pancake. They are unique (as a lot of Asian foods are) in that they are made with a rolled dough rather than with a batter, as we are typically used to. They are also unique in that they are made with a hot water dough. Most doughs used in any type of American and European cuisines are cold water doughs. Cold water dough allows for an airy, hole-filled, flaky dough. Which is fantastic for pizza. But, with the typical dough applications for Asian cuisine, such as egg roll wrappers and wontons, you do not want airy and hole-filled. This is where the hot water comes in. Hot water relaxes the gluten in the dough which makes for a less “stretchy” dough that has a chewier texture. Part of the flakiness in the scallion pancakes comes from the rolling method, which is similar to the process of making a laminated dough (such as croissants). With the hot water dough and the rolling method, the result is a tender and flaky “flatbread”, speckled with scallions and flavored with a mild tinge of sesame oil. Delicious!

 

The recipe I eventually developed and settled upon includes one ingredient that is not necessarily typical of a scallion pancake recipe: Clabber Girl Baking Powder. I found that the addition of the baking powder adds just a bit more flakiness to the dough. Typically, baking powder reacts a little bit with liquid and the rest of the reaction happens with heat (when you bake or cook the item). The scallion pancake recipe calls for hot water. Therefore, the reaction happens entirely during the dough production, prior to baking or cooking. This creates a dough that doesn’t rise in the traditional sense but, it does add a bit more flakiness to the dough itself and is evident upon cooking.
The majority of the flakiness, however, comes from the rolling method. The dough is rolled flat and sprinkled with the green onions.

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It is then rolled up, such as with a jelly roll.

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After that, sections of the dough are rolled in a coil and then rolled flat again.

 

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This creates multiple layers throughout each pancake, as well as disperses the scallions throughout the dough.

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I have kept my recipe fairly traditional, with just scallions, chili flake, and sesame oil. However, please feel free to use this as a base recipe and make your own additions or omissions. For example, if you love garlic, add garlic! Add ginger or play with different types of oils. Have fun with it! I also provided a recipe for a dipping sauce that I like to serve with it. Again, play with the flavors to suit your likes. When testing my final recipe, I tossed the dipping sauce with noodles and made a whole meal out of it. It’s an easy way to compliment the pancakes without putting in much more work. Happy cooking and, I hope you enjoy!

 

Scallion pancake pinterest

Scallion Pancakes

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 2/3 cups boiling water
1 cup green onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
Red chili flake, to taste (optional)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl. Slowly pour the boiling water into the flour mixture in a stream while mixing with a wooden spoon. Stir until a dough begins to form. If the dough is too dry, add more water, a tablespoon at a time until all of the flour is absorbed into the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured flat surface. Knead the dough until smooth, about 4 minutes.

Transfer to a greased bowl, cover; and let sit at room temperature for 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and cut in half. Using a rolling pin, roll 1 half of the dough into a large rectangle (about 1/8” thick).
Brush the rolled dough with 1 Tbsp. of the sesame oil. Sprinkle with ½ cup of the thinly sliced green onion. If you like, sprinkle with red chili flake to taste.

Beginning with one long side of the rectangle, tightly roll the dough up. Cut the roll into 4 pieces. Lightly stretch each piece lengthwise, being careful not to rip dough. Beginning with one piece of dough, wrap it into a coil and tuck the end underneath. With your hand, gently flatten the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the coil into a 4” circle. Repeat this process with the remaining dough pieces and with the remaining dough half.  You can layer the pancakes on a sheet tray with parchment paper in between as you complete them.

Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When pan and oil are hot, add one pancake to the skillet.

 

Cook until golden brown on both sides, flipping only once (about 5-7 minutes). Repeat with remaining pancakes. If desired, keep the finished pancakes warm during production by laying them on a sheet tray in a warm oven.scallion pancakes 5

To serve, cut pancakes into wedges. Serve with dipping sauce on the side.

Yields 8 pancakes (4”)

Scallion Pancake Dipping Sauce

¼ cup Ponzu Sauce
1 Tbsp. Thai Chili Sauce
1/8 cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ginger, minced
2 tsp. sesame oil

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook, while stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and let cool.

An American Tradition: Boston Brown Bread

Though not as well known today, Boston Brown Bread has a pretty interesting history story. Better known in the New England areas, brown bread started making in appearance in the early 1800s. Early settlers where trying to grow wheat, which was their preferred grain for baking. They soon realized that wheat did not grow well in the New England soil and this drove up the prices. Corn on the other hand was a crop that flourished on the east coast, making the price of cornmeal much cheaper and readily available. Another cheap alternative to flour was rye flour.

Mixing Rex Coffee, Buttermilk and Blackstrap Molasses
These two grains made up the main dry ingredients for the bread, occasionally whole wheat flour was added and eventually became a mainstay on the ingredient list. Molasses is added and gives the bread its signature rich color and sweet flavor. Because we are using baking powder and soda as our leavening agents as opposed to yeast, we are able to complete cut out having to factor in a rise time and can go straight from mix to dish to cook.

Making Boston Brown Bread in a Rex Coffee Tin
Another key element that sets it apart from most traditional breads, is the cooking method. Brown bread is typically steamed in a can of some sort until finished cooking. At the time, this was in large part due to the fact that this was a bread for the common people. Using the cheaper grains made this an affordable bread to make at a time when wheat was at an expensive price and not easily affordable to all. Steaming the bread in a can over a fire or stove top made it assessable to most, especially those that didn’t have a wood-burning oven.

Seal Boston Brown Bread Tightly
Somewhere along the way brown bread started being steamed in coffee cans. I’m not sure if this was because at the time canned foods where not as readily available as it is today, and this was just a common things to have on hand. But after doing loads of research on brown bread and reading multiple variations of recipes, almost everything listed a coffee can as the vestal to steam your bread in. So this took my brown bread adventure on an interesting twist.

Secure Boston Brown Bread with Twine
I am fortunate enough working here at Clabber Girl, to work someplace that has its very own coffee roasting company. In fact, all our Rex Coffee is roasted in house just 10 steps away from the kitchen I work in on a regular basis. So I started thinking about ways I could tie in our coffee with a bread that is known for being cooked in coffee cans throughout history.

Cook Boston Brown Bread in Large Dutch Oven
I gathered up old cans we had on hand and started wondering about different ways I could try and incorporate coffee into this historic bread besides just using our old tins. The obvious answer to me was to just try and add coffee to the batter…but would it work? After multiple tests working on the recipe, the ratios, and finally the final taste test…I can honestly say that it did!

Boston Brown Bread Final

Boston Brown Bread

Ingredients:
5 oz. whole wheat flour
5 oz. rye flour
5 oz. cornmeal
1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda
2 tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. Blackstrap molasses
8 oz. butter milk
8 oz. Rex French Roast Coffee, room temperature

8-10 cups water
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Bring 8-10 cups of water to a boil over medium high heat. While the water is coming to a boil, add all of the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. In a small mixing bowl, add the molasses and Rex Coffee and whisk together.

Create a small well in the middle of your dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk and molasses-coffee mixture and whisk to completely combine the batter.

Spray the insides of two quart-sized cans with cooking spray. Divide the batter evenly between the two cans. Using aluminum foil, cover the tops of the cans, folding the excess over the outsides of the cans. Use butchers twine to tie around the edges of the can to secure the aluminum foil to the sides. Place cans in Dutch oven or an oven safe pot.

Carefully pour in the boiling water, taking care not to pour the water over the tops of the covered cans, until the water reaches halfway up the side of the can. Bake in a 325 degrees F. oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the bread comes out clean.

Remove pot from oven, and using oven mitts carefully removed cans from pot and set on a cookie rack. Let cool 15-20 minutes and then gently slide bread out of can to cool completely. Once cool, slice bread and toast and serve with butter or cream cheese.

Boston Brown Bread

Easy Bake Itty Bitty Fudgy Wudgy Brownies

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If your home is like ours, you will often find that the thrill of new Christmas or birthday toys can wear off in just a matter of days.  Most of the time it is because the kids have moved on to the latest electronic trend. But for toys that are physically interactive, they can lay idle simply be because they don’t have anyone to play with. The principle of interactive play (aka time with Mom or Dad) also applies to classic toys like the Easy Bake Oven.

You may remember that my daughter asked for the Easy Bake Oven for Christmas.  Unlike the other toys (which I can’t even remember at this point,) she asks regularly to bake with her Easy Bake Oven.  We keep it in a visible location to remind us both of the yummy treats we can bake together in just a few minutes time.  The only negative at this point to the toy (in my opinion,) is the high cost of the mixes. They are easy and only require the addition of water, but on a cost per ounce basis they are incredibly expensive!  I hate paying just for the convenience when I know I have everything in my pantry to make the same thing.  Therefore, I have been on a quest for Easy Bake Oven recipes! Ironically, good recipes THAT WORK are not ‘easy’ to find as the name of the toy implies.

If you have been in the blogosphere looking at Easy Bake Oven recipes, I urge you to use caution and keep reading. All recipes ARE NOT created equal.

As I searched for cookie and brownie recipes, I found the same 2 recipes on A LOT of sites.  The problem?  They didn’t work.  I believe some bloggers have simply copied recipes from other sites that haven’t been tested just because it is easy to do in order to provide content.  I’m sure it happens a lot, but the problem with EBO recipes is that a mishap can RUIN your oven.  You can’t really clean the inside, so a recipe that runs over can result in major household drama when the whole oven has to be tossed out.  It’s costly and certainly no fun.

Many of the recipes I have reviewed seem to be regular oven recipes with the ingredient quantities adjusted. My experience so far has been that you can’t simply adjust the proportion of a regular oven recipe and instantly have success.  The tiny height of the EB oven requires a very flat pan which isn’t necessarily proportional to a regular pan height. The amount your batter RISES is key.  Here at Clabber Girl, we are leavening experts, so we are here to help your miniature chef be successful too!

Check out our original chocolate chip cookie recipe and our new Itty Bitty Fudgy Wudgy Bites.

To simplify the baking process, mix the dry ingredients ahead of time and set aside in small baggies that can be opened and the liquid added.  Make several batches ahead so that your little baker can bake when the mood strikes!(Click here for a free download of label stickers and instructions.)

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Itty Bitty Fudgy Wudgy Bites

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
3 tsp. water
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

In a very small bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cocoa.  Pour in oil, water and vanilla extract. Mix with a fork until batter is smooth.  Roll into a ball and flatten between hands (should be fudgy and thick.)  Place batter into the EBO rectangular pan.  Spread batter evenly to edges with a knife.

For fudgy brownies bake in the EBO for 13 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes.
For cakey brownies bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Divide into 9 itty bitty brownies.

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake is a great dessert when you are baking for a crowd! A delicious combination of chocolate cake and brownies in one that everyone will love.

Texas Sheet Cake Easy Dessert

This recipe is another one of my favorites I have learned from my grandma! I know I have said it before with some other recipes, that I am wanting to learn some family recipes that everyone loves and that are favorites of mine. Texas Sheet Cakes are like a family tradition, you might have eaten it as a kid as well as your parents may have as well. Enjoyable every time!

Texas Sheet Cake definitely satisfies that craving for something chocolaty. It’s packed with flavor, moist, and buttery. Plus the frosting itself is amazingly tasty!

Texas Sheet Cake Final Shot

This cake recipe is baked in a large jelly roll pan creating a large cake, which is why it is perfect for get togethers and potlucks. A sweet treat for dessert and able to serve several.

Texas sheet cake is a easy recipe to put together, but one of the tricks to this yummy dessert is to frost it when the cake is still warm. This allows the frosting to be able to spread well on top of the cake and to soak into the cake as it cools.

Texas Sheet Cake

Ingredients:

Cake:
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 sticks margarine – melted
2 cups flour
4 Tbsp cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups nuts -chopped (optional – I prefer pecans or walnuts best, but I usually leave the nuts out of the cake and just put in the icing).

Icing:
1 stick margarine – melted
4 Tbsp cocoa
6 Tbsp buttermilk
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup nuts – chopped (optional – I prefer pecans or walnuts best)

Directions:

In a mixing bowl combine sugar, eggs, salt, baking soda, vanilla and margarine together and mix. Then add the flour, cocoa, buttermilk, and nuts if choosing to. Mix with hand mixer until smooth.

Pour batter into a greased, large jelly roll pan (17″x 12″ x 2″ or so).

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes.

Texas Sheet Cake Texture after Baking

As soon as the cake is done, make the icing. In a sauce pan combine margarine, cocoa, and buttermilk together as margarine melts. Then add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add nuts if choosing to. Pour immediately over the warm cake and spread out to all edges of the cake.

Texas Sheet Cake Frosting

Make it with nuts, any kind of nuts you’d like, or without depending on your liking.

Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake with Frosting

Next time you need to serve several and thinking of a chocolate, cake, or brownie idea, this Texas Sheet Cake is a perfect and delicious option to bake!

Enjoy!