Commonly served in Chinese restaurants, scallion pancakes make a great party appetizer and are quite easy to make at home. These chewy pancakes are super-flaky and can either be fried or grilled to perfection. Fried pancakes tend to be a little more moist and chewy, while grilled pancakes are a bit more crispy since the grill tends to dry them out a bit. I love both variations!
I served these pancakes with my favorite spicy scallion dipping sauce. This dipping sauce is perfect for pancakes, but can also be used for dumplings or potstickers. It’s slightly spicy, salty, and super-savory (try to say that 5 times fast!).
My husband likes the dipping sauce so much that I’ve nearly caught him drinking it straight out of the bowl!
These Chinese pancakes are made with a hot water dough, making the dough easy to roll out and giving the pancakes just a bit of chew. I like to use a food processor to quickly bring the dough together, but you can also use a wooden spoon to stir the boiling water into the flour in a large bowl.
To create lots of flaky layers, scallion pancakes are carefully rolled out into disks, brushed with a neutral oil, then rolled up. The oil keeps the layers separate, making the pancakes nice and flaky.
Since the layers are such an important part of scallion pancakes, I’ll go into a little more detail on how to form them.
After resting the dough for 30 minutes, cut the dough into 4 equal-sized pieces. Keep three of them covered in the bowl and place one piece on a lightly-floured working surface. Using a rolling pin, flatten the ball of dough into a disk that is about 8-inches in diameter. Then, brush a thin layer of oil over the disk using a pastry brush. You may use any type of neutral-flavored oil, but toasted sesame oil is my personal favorite.
Starting with the edge closest to you, roll the dough up into a long snake or jelly roll shape. Then, roll the dough into a spiral (like the shell of a snail). Flatten the snail-shaped dough with the palm of your hand, then use a rolling pin to roll it out into an 8-inch disk again. Brush with another layer of sesame oil and sprinkle with scallions. Once again, roll the dough up into a jelly roll shape, this time trapping the scallions inside. Then, roll the dough up into a snail shape and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. To create the final pancake shape, use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into an 8-inch disk.
Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
To grill the pancakes, preheat the grill over high heat. Brush the pancakes with oil, then place them on a well-oiled grilling grate. Using grilling tongs, turn the pancakes occasionally to keep them from burning, then flip them over once the bottoms are nice and charred. Continue cooking the pancakes until they are cooked though, then transfer them to a plate and cover with a clean dish towel to keep warm.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup boiling water
- ¼ cup sesame oil
- 2 cups scallions, thinly sliced
- vegetable oil, for frying
- salt, to taste
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp sesame chili oil
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- Pour the flour into a food processor. Pour ⅔ cup boiling water into the food processor and blend for 15 to 20 seconds to bring the dough together. If the dough is too dry, add more hot water a tablespoon at a time until the dough sticks to the blade. As soon as the dough comes together, transfer it to a floured surface.
- Knead the dough a few times to form a smooth ball, then transfer the dough to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
- Once the dough has rested, cut the dough into 4 equal-sized pieces. Using a rolling pin, flatten one of the pieces into an 8-inch circle. Brush the dough with a thin layer of sesame oil, then roll the dough up tightly creating a long snake-shaped dough.
- Then, roll the dough up into a spiral (snail-shaped). Using your hand, press the spiral down slightly, then re-roll into an 8-inch disk. Brush the disk with a thin layer of sesame oil and sprinkle with up to ½ cup of scallions. Re-roll the disk into a snake-shape, trapping the scallions inside. Then, roll the dough up into a spiral and flatten slightly with your hand. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into an 8-inch disk and set aside. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough.
- Heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven until hot and shimmering. Carefully place one of the pancakes into the oil and cook until golden brown, or about 2 minutes per side. Place the pancakes on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt, to taste.
- Cut the pancakes into wedges and serve immediately with the scallion dipping sauce.
- Whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, water, chili oil, and scallion in a small bowl. Set aside until ready for use.