Scallion Pancakes (葱油饼)

Scallion Pancakes

Be careful when frying these cakes, as the oil will splatter, especially when you press a cake in its center. Any uncooked dough can be placed in a plastic container, refrigerated, and cooked the following day. If you do make them ahead, redust the dough lightly with flour to absorb any moisture from refrigeration, and allow the dough to sit at room temperature briefly so that it is not ice-cold when fried.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for kneading
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1¼ + ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup finely minced scallions
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil


In a medium bowl, combine flour and sugar. Stir in 2/3 cup boiling water, mixing flour and water just until flour absorbs all the water. Gradually stir in enough cold water (1/4 to 1/3 cup) so that a dough is formed and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should not be sticky.

Remove dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly dusted board with floured hands 3 to 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour if necessary. Lightly cover with a dampened cloth and allow to rest for 1 hour.

Redust the surface and hands with flour, and knead again for a few minutes or until smooth. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. As you work, always cover any unused dough with a lightly damp cloth. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each section into a 7-inch round. Lightly brush each round with sesame oil. Evenly sprinkle 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and scallions on each round, and then tightly roll each round into a fat rope. Tightly coil each rope, pinching the end of the rope into the dough to seal. Cover with a lightly damp cloth and allow to rest 15 to 20 minutes. Redust surface with flour, and using a floured rolling pin, roll each coiled bun into 7-inch rounds.

In a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat until oil is hot but not smoking. Carefully add one scallion round and fry 1 to 2 minutes, until golden. Carefully turn pancake over and fry 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until golden brown. As the pancake fries, lightly press the center with a metal spatula to make sure the center is cooked. Transfer each pancake to a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels. Continue frying the remaining scallion rounds one at a time. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set oil aside to cool before discarding. Cut pancakes into 6 to 8 wedges and serve immediately.

Yield: Makes 4 big scallion pancakes

Cook’s Notes: You can roll out smaller individual pancakes to serve as appetizers or in lieu of mu-shu pancakes.