These easy Chinese scallion pancakes, or congyoubing, are flaky, chewy, and make a fabulous appetizer or light meal. Don’t forget the perfect 4-ingredient dipping sauce!
Traditional scallion pancakes are a staple street-food snack in China
And they’re a popular restaurant item here in the States, too. Like all great street food, scallion pancakes are super delicious, easy to eat by hand, and satisfying. The dough is a very simple flour-and-water kind of situation, with no yeast required. While scallion pancakes are often served as an appetizer, I love them as a light meal on their own.
With an amazing dipping sauce, of course.
Scallions (aka green onions, or spring onions) don’t often get to be the star of the dish.
And it’s a shame, because they are a delicious member of the allium family. You could experiment with using chives, or even wild leeks if you have access to them in the springtime, in this recipe too.
Use both the white and green parts of the scallion: the white part is stronger and sharper, the green part is mellow.
How to form scallion pancakes
The only potentially tricky part to this super-simple recipe is rolling and forming your pancakes for that flakey texture and nice round shape. Here’s the step by step:
- First, divide your dough into 4 equal portions.
- Take one piece of dough, roll it into a ball (it doesn’t have to be perfect,) and roll that ball into a flat disk, about 8 inches wide.
- Brush one side of the circle with a thin layer of oil (I used sesame oil, but you can use just about any vegetable oil.) This part is crucial for the flakey texture.
- Generously sprinkle the chopped spring onions all over the dough.
- Next, roll up the circle from one edge into a tube.
- Curl that tube into a spiral, like the one shown above, and press the end into the circle so that it doesn’t come undone.
- Roll the coiled dough out again into an 8 inch circle.
- That’s it! Just gently fry them to perfection and you’re done.
I whipped up a simple sweet-and-spicy dipping sauce
There are a lot of ways you could mix it up using what you have in the pantry or the fridge. I like to start with some soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, and add a little sugar and red pepper flakes or a chili sauce like Sriracha until I’m happy with the taste. You could also throw in some more thinly chopped scallions.
More deliciously easy and unexpected appetizers ~
- Fried Olives
- Guacamole Deviled Eggs
- Cheesy Brussels Sprout Dip
- Sweet Corn, Hatch Chile, and Bacon Salsa
- Japanese Pork Dumplings
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced green onion
- 3-4 Tbsp sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
For the dipping sauce
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp chile garlic sauce
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- Add the flour and salt to a mixing bowl, and drizzle in the boiling water, while mixing together with a fork until a moisty, shaggy dough forms.
- Gently remove the dough to a very lightly oiled bowl, and let it rest, covered, for about 30 minutes. This allows the flour to hydrate, or soak up the water, so that the dough is less sticky and more elastic, making it easier to work with.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, and roll them into balls.
- 1 piece at a time, roll one of the balls of dough on a lightly floured surface until it's about 8 inches in diameter. No need to make a perfect circle here.
- Brush the disc lightly with sesame oil, and sprinkle generously with the sliced scallions.
- Roll the circle of dough into a tube, and then coil it into a small circle, pinching the end into the coil so that it doesn't come undone.
- Press the coil flat, and roll it out into an 8 inch circle again. Repeat for the 3 other pieces of dough.
- Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a nonstick or a cast iron skillet allow it to heat up.
- Gently place one of the pancakes onto the hot pan, and cook for about 2 minutes on each side. It should puff up a little bit and turn a light golden brown. Repeat for all four of the pancakes.
- Whisk all of the dipping sauce ingredients together, and serve alongside the scallion pancakes.