Yen has been a dear friend of mine for many years. We have co-taught many Chinese cooking recreation classes at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. One day, after a three-hour workshop, we found ourselves hungry. We had some leftover dough from making pork buns, but we didn’t have any more fillings. All we had was Spam and scallions. Guess what? Yen made a Spam scallion pancake using the yeast dough for pork buns. It was amazingly delicious.
If you’ve mastered making the traditional scallion pancake, try this recipe. Traditional scallion pancakes are made with a non-yeast dough. This scallion pancake is at the intermediate level since you need to make yeast dough and let it rise. The reward of making this yeast dough is a “bread-like” texture. It’s a hybrid of bun and pancake. Yum! You can improvise with ham, prosciutto, or even parmesan cheese. The world is your oyster.
Spam Scallion Pancake
For the Pancakes:
- All-purpose flour plus extra for dusting the work surface (1 ½ cups)
- Baking powder 1 teaspoon
- Lukewarm water 2/3 cup
- Active dry or instant yeast 1 teaspoon
- Oil: any cooking oil without a strong flavor such as corn or grapeseed (1 teaspoon)
- Toasted sesame seed oil up to 1/4 cup
- Thinly sliced scallion greens 2 cups
- Diced Spam 1 cup
For the Dipping Sauce:
- Soy sauce 2 tablespoons
- Chinkiang or rice wine vinegar 2 tablespoons
- Finely sliced scallion greens 1 tablespoon
- Grated fresh ginger 1/2 teaspoon
- Sugar 2 teaspoons
- Vegetable oil 1/4 cup
- Kosher salt
How to make the pancake
- Place flour in a bowl and add baking powder. Whisk to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk active dry yeast in luke-warm water until it’s foamy and add to the flour mixture. Stir with chopsticks to form a dough. Once it’s fully mixed, add 1 teaspoon of oil to the dough and stir. Once it’s mixed, then start kneading the bough with your hands (count to 100).
- Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature until the dough doubles in volume.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead to de-gas it. Then with a rolling pin, roll the dough into a disk roughly 8-inches in diameter (not too thin).
- Using a pastry brush, paint a very thin layer of sesame oil over the top of the disk and sprinkle on salt, scallions, and diced Spam.
- Roll the disk up, then twist the roll into a tight spiral like a cinnamon bun, tucking the ends underneath. Re-roll into an 8-inch disk with the rolling pin. Don’t make it too thin or the ingredients will spill out.
Now, your pancakes are ready to be cooked!
- Heat oil in an 8-inch nonstick or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Make sure the oil is covering the pan fully.
- Carefully slip the pancake into the hot oil.
- Cook, shaking the pan gently until the 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 the pan gently until the second side is even golden brown (about 2 minutes longer).
- Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Cut into 6 wedges. Serve immediately with sauce for dipping.
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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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