Scallions are a common pantry item in most Asian households. It goes well with almost any stir fry dish. They add vibrant color to the dish and brighten the flavor. You can almost call it the magic “finishing touch”. Just like Italians who like to drizzle refined EVOO on top of their pasta, we like to sprinkle scallions on top of our stir-fried dishes.
When I was little, I used to go to traditional Taiwanese markets with my stepmom and our cook, Mrs. Sun. Going to a traditional market is very different from going to a supermarket such as the Stop & Shop or Whole Foods. It’s similar to a farmer's market that is all-year-round and in an indoor setting. Each vendor knows their regulars. They know them not just as customers, but almost as friends. They remember their likings, dietary restrictions, and sometimes private details about your home life, like if a family member is ill. Many vendors will give their regulars a bunch of scallions as a gesture of friendship and partnership at the end of the purchase.
I never receive free scallions from Whole Foods or Trader Joe's after moving to the US. Every time I see scallions, they remind me of the warmth that I felt from the vendors in the markets back home in Taiwan. When it’s snowing or raining outside, and I have flour and scallions at home, what do I make? If you know me, you’ll guess: scallion pancakes.
For the Pancakes:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting work surface
- 1 cup boiling water
- Up to 1/4 cup toasted sesame seed oil
- 2 cups thinly sliced scallion greens
For the Dipping Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinkiang or rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely sliced scallion greens
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
- Place flour in bowl of food processor (see note). With processor running, slowly drizzle in about 3/4 of boiling water. Process for 15 seconds. If dough does not come together and ride around the blade, drizzle in more water a tablespoon at a time until it just comes together. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead a few times to form a smooth ball. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to overnight in the fridge.
- Divide dough into four even pieces and roll each into a smooth ball. Working one ball at a time, roll out into a disk roughly 8-inches in diameter on a lightly floured surface. Using a pastry brush, paint a very thin layer of sesame oil over the top of the disk. Roll disk up like a jelly roll, then twist roll into a tight spiral, tucking the end underneath. Flatten gently with your hand, then re-roll into an 8-inch disk.
- Paint with another layer or sesame oil, sprinkle with 1/2 cup scallions, and roll up like a jelly roll again. Twist into a spiral, flatten gently, and re-roll into a 7-inch disk. Repeat steps two and three with remaining pancakes.
- Combine all the sauce ingredients and set aside at room temperature.
- Heat oil in an 8-inch nonstick or cast-iron over medium-high heat until shimmering and carefully slip pancake into the hot oil. Cook, shaking the pan gently until first side is an even golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip with a spatula or tongs (be careful not to splash the oil), and continue to cook, shaking pan gently, until second side is even golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season with salt, cut into 6 wedges. Serve immediately with sauce for dipping. Repeat with remaining 3 pancakes.
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Melissa is 100% MIT (Made in Taiwan), where she worked as a food writer. She’s also worked alongside renowned chefs like Ming Tsai and Joanne Chang, honing her craft and gathering stories along the way. Part story-teller, part educator, and part food lover, Melissa brings a special blend of experience, skill, and enthusiasm to her work. She blends her Asian background, her new home of New England, and love of food and culture to bring joy, optimism, and inspiration to food lovers and fun-seekers everywhere.
What sparked your passion for the industry?
The desire to make things by hand. The joy of sharing delicious, hearty food with students. The opportunity for people to get connected via cooking and baking. When a child smiled broadly and told me it’s the best scone he has ever made and eaten, it really made my day!
In your opinion, what’s the most important course?
Well, I usually take a peek at the wine list first. I like tapas style, so the course doesn’t really matter. Cheese and charcuterie are always a good place to start. And since I’m a pastry chef, there is always room for dessert!
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