When I was an exchange student at National Taiwan University me and my friends would frequently take the bike to Shi-Da Night Market 師大夜市 and eat our way through the street vendor stands. One of our favorite snacks were the flaky Taiwanese scallion pancakes 蔥油餅 (cong you bing = onion oil pancake) that are also known as 葱抓饼 (cong zhua bing = onion pinched pancake). You just have to love their texture. They are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Another plus is that they are pretty cheap. Each one costs 20 NT$ (about 66 cents), 25 NT$ (about 82 cents) if you add an egg. At the night markets they are usually served with a lovely thick and sweet garlic, soy sauce and put into a paper bag.
After returning to Berlin I never thought it would be that difficult to find a decent Taiwanese restaurant. – Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong, therefore I asked my Mom to show me how to make some traditional dishes. Taiwanese scallion pancakes was one of the first recipes she shared with me. The best part about the recipe is that you can find the ingredients in any grocery store around the world and that most of them are staples.
3 cups of all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons of lard (you could also use shortening or vegetable oil)
half a bunch of scallions
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water
½ cup of cold water
1. Put the flour into a bowl and add the cup of hot water. Take the back of a handle part of a wooden spoon and mix them together. (The flour gets cooked through the hot water and makes the dough really soft.)
2. Add half a cup of cold water. Mix sing the spoon until the dough has cooled down enough to touch it. Kneed the dough until all of the flour and the water are evenly distributed.
3. Rub the dough with oil and place it in a plastic bag to rest for about 30 minutes.
4. Take a rolling pin and roll out the dough on a floured surface (to about a quarter of an inch thick). Try to roll out a rectangle.
5. Spread lard or oil all over the dough and sprinkle the salt on top of it.
6. Cut up the green onions and sprinkle them on top the dough, but leave a border of about 2 inches to the top.
7. Carefully roll up the dough up to a long snake.
8. Pull off about 8 equally big pieces of dough and close the ends up so that the scallions won’t fall out.
9. Press each scallion dough piece down with the flat of your hand and use the rolling pin to roll out an about half inch thick disc.
10. Set the stove on medium high heat. Put a little bit of oil into a pan and fry each little dough disc until they are lightly brown and crispy on each side.
11. For the “pinched” effect use the back of a ladle and a wooden spoon and carefully press the sides of each disc together so that the middle part lifts up and the layers become visible.
12. Remove from the pan and serve as they are or with a dipping sauce of your choice. (I went for Thai sweet chili sauce.)
Please let me know how you liked this Taiwanese snack.