Scallion Pancake and Chinese Pancake

Traveler Rating

Scallion Pancake and Chinese Pancake

蔥油餅     Scallion Pancake   (Cōng yóubǐng)- snack
When you hear the word “pancake”, your mind may automatically default to the image of a fluffy, round breakfast food, served with copious amounts of sweet honey right? But as expected, Taiwanese foods are quite different from American ones. Most of the time, a “pancake” in Taiwan is referring to蔥油餅, or cōng yóubǐng, and include scallions as one of their ingredients.
Cōng yóubǐng start out as a slab of dough, fried to familiar oily golden crispiness. The sound and aroma of the dough frying and sizzling on the cooker is simply a delightful one that will tantalize and tease your senses.
When finished, they are cut into thin little triangle slices. Each slice is adequately sized, and they are perfectly suitable for a snack anytime. Upon biting into one, you’ll find that that when fresh off the grill, they are piping-hot, but also wonderfully textured, being crispy, crunchy, and flaky all at once. Yet, the insides are soft and doughy like tender bread. True to its name, green scallions are sprinkled all over the surface, along with dashes of extra additions like salt, sesame seeds, or black pepper. Even if you don’t like scallions, their taste is mostly disguised by the warm and chewy savory dough and the seasonings. Alternate seasoning choices are soy sauce paste or sweet chili sauce. This author’s personal favorite is sweet chili sauce, as the flavorful combination of sweet and slightly spicy melts right in with the saltiness and oiliness of the pancake.

Zhuā bǐngs, are another kind of Chinese pancake similar to their cōng yóubǐng counterparts. A well made zhuā bǐng will be soft and fluffy to the point where you can just easily rip off a piece to eat. The ability to tear off chunks and layers of the pancake to eat is what sets it apart from the neatly cut and thin triangles of cōng yóubǐng. In fact, its name in Chinese literally translates to “hand grab cake”! There’s always a sense of childish fun and glee when it comes to grabbing and eating something with your bare hands, don’t you think? Even better, is the fact that zhuā bǐng can be wrapped in warm melted cheese and crispy bacon bits, for extra deliciousness.

Other than that, zhuā bǐng and cōng yóubǐng are quite alike, and both tend to utilize the same ingredients and toppings.
Both of these pancakes can be found sold at night markets or served as appetizers at some restaurants. They are also sights to be found at traditional Taiwanese breakfast stores, so why not treat yourself to a cheap snack early in the morning?
抓餅        Chinese “Hand-Grab” Pancake   (Zhuā bǐng)-snack 

Scallion Pancake Recipe:
2 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup warm water
Oil for the pancakes, such as vegetable, sesame, or shortening
Coarse kosher salt
1 bunch scallions
High smoke point oil for the pan, such as vegetable, canola, or peanut oil

Spray oil or cooking spray
Rolling pin
Baking sheet or pastry board
10-inch heavy skillet or sauté pan
Thin spatula
Kitchen scissors

1. Make the dough and let it rest: Mix 2 1/2 cups flour with 1 cup water until it forms a smooth dough. Knead by doubling the dough over and pressing it down repeatedly, until the dough is even more smooth and very elastic. Coat this ball of dough lightly in oil and put it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.

2. Roll out the dough: Cut the dough into 4 equal parts. Lightly oil the back of a large metal baking sheet (or a smooth stone countertop or pastry board). Roll out one part of the dough on the back of the baking sheet. Roll until it is a thin rectangle at least 12 x 9 inches.

3. Chop the scallions: Finely chop the bunch of scallions. (I usually use the green tops and just the very top of the white parts.) Set them on your work surface along with a small bowl of kosher salt.

4. Top the dough: Lightly brush the top of the dough with oil, then sprinkle it evenly with chopped scallions and kosher salt.

5. Roll up the dough: Starting from the long end, roll the dough up tightly, creating one long snake of rolled-up dough.

6. Cut in half: Cut the dough snake in two equal parts.

7. Coil the dough and let it rest: Take one of these halves and coil into a round dough bundle. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes and ideally longer, while you repeat this process with the rest of the dough.

8. Roll out the coil: Pat a coiled dough bundle into a flat, smooth, round pancake. You can do this with a rolling pin or with your hands.

9. Cook the pancake for 2 minutes: Heat a 10-inch heavy skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat, and oil it with a drizzle of canola, vegetable, or peanut oil. When the oil shimmers, pick up the pancake dough and lay it gently in the pan. It should sizzle, but not burn. Cook for 2 minutes on one side.

10. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes: Flip the pancake over with a spatula and cook for an additional 2 minutes on the other side, or until golden brown. Repeat steps 9-11 with the rest of the pancake dough coils.

To Serve
Cut the pancake into wedges with a pair of kitchen scissors, and serve immediately with soy sauce or another dipping sauce.

Recipe Notes
•    On Oils: This recipe calls for oil in two different places: Once to make the filling, and once to fry the pancakes. For the filling, any neutral oil will do, but commenters (and I!) prefer sesame oil. Other recipes call for shortening. For the pan, use a high smoke point oil such as peanut.
•    Make-Ahead Tip: If you would like to make a few pancakes but save the rest for later, you can save the dough in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just make sure the dough is oiled and well-covered. You can also roll out individual pancakes and stack them between well-oiled layers of wax paper.

Recipe Source:

Image Sources:

Filter by