One of my favorite Chinese snacks has always been Onion Pancakes. There is something about this delectable flatbread that just satisfies on a primal level. It's one of the things I love to order at Chinese restaurants, but it is actually so easy to make at home. The only thing that's the least bit difficult is figuring out how much flour to add. The secret is to keep adding flour until you have a soft and pliable dough that can be easily rolled out with a rolling pin. It's a delicious snack if you like savory things. What's not to love? There is the crispy exterior with the soft chewy interior and the sprinkle of saltiness juxtaposed against the savory flavor of green onions - yum! A lot of people like to dip their onion pancakes into a dipping sauce of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame or chili oil, but to be honest, I just like them plain. But they are also really good as a side bread to a stir fry dish, especially if there is some sauce as it dips up stir fry sauces wonderfully. Try these and I think you will love them too!
Chinese Onion Pancakes
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups boiling water
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup or more all purpose flour for kneading
1/3 cup toasted sesame oil
1 cup minced green onions
vegetable oil for pan fryingextra salt for sprinkling on top
Stir together the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the oil and the boiling water, stirring until slightly sticky dough just forms. If the dough is too soft, knead in more flour until dough is no longer so sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth, kneading in more flour as necessary to make a smooth, pliable dough. Cover with a cloth or wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes, or longer.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a long roll with your hand until you have a rope about 1 inch in diameter. Cut the roll into 24 pieces. Keep the unused dough covered with a damp paper towel as you work.
With a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a 4 or 5-inch circle. Brush the tops with a little sesame oil and sprinkle with some of the minced green onions. Roll up the circle with the green onions inside and pinch the ends to seal. Coil it into a snail shape and flatten slightly with your fingers. Pinch the end into the roll and put on a lightly floured plate. Prepare the remaining pancakes in the same way. Then, roll each pancake out with the rolling pin into a 4-inch circle being careful to keep the green onions covered by dough if possible. It is okay if a few pieces stick out.
Heat a skillet on the stove on medium-high heat and put in 2 Tablespoons of oil and place two of the pancakes in the pan, not touching, and fry over medium heat, turning once, until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 - 4 minutes. Remove with a spatula and place on a paper towel covered plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with additional pancakes. Serve immediately or you can keep them warm in the oven at about 200 degrees.
If desired, you can serve them with a dipping sauce composed of equal amounts of soy sauce and seasoned rice wine vinegar and a few drops of sesame oil or a few drops of chili oil if you like heat.
Five Element Analysis
The wheat flour in these pancakes make them a Wood Element food first and foremost, but the green onions bring in the Metal Element and the salt and sesame oil add just a touch of the Water Element. If you use the dipping sauce, you are balancing the dish even more as the soy sauce adds more Water and the chili oil brings in some Fire. The only thing missing then is the Earth Element and I often serve these pancakes with a spicy stir fried beef dish for some added Fire too. Dipping these pancakes in the sauce is an Earthy way to eat too!