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scallion pancakes - crispy outside?

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nonaggie Jun 16, 2010 12:34 PM

I've been playing around with making Chinese scallion pancakes; I've had some success, but I'm wondering how to get the outsides crispy. Mine are tender all the way through, whereas the ones I've had in restaurants often have a crispy outer layer but a tender interior.

The recipe I use calls for 3 cups of AP flour, 1 cup of boiling water, and 1/3 cup of cold water; the technique is basically like this one: http://userealbutter.com/2008/04/30/c...

Any tips on getting the outside crispy? Is it mostly a matter of the frying? Temperature? Amount of oil?

Thanks!

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  1. Will Owen RE: nonaggie Jun 16, 2010 12:44 PM

    Well, of course you need enough heat. Heat the pan first, and when it's quite hot add the oil. Shouldn't take much, just a nice film. It should be fragrant but not smoking, and the pancake should start smelling good right away. I haven't made these from scratch, since I live in the L.A. area and all the Asian markets have them in packages for cheap, but I like to keep them around for lunches and snacks. I use an iron griddle, and just brush some oil on.

    1. m
      MrsCris RE: nonaggie Jun 16, 2010 01:14 PM

      I make them often, and mine always get nice and browned and crispy on the outside. I fry them in a mixture of vegetable oil and a bit of butter (because I like the flavour). As Will says, I think perhaps you don't have the temperature quite high enough. Mine end up looking like the ones in the site you reference - just slightly browned.

      Also, some of the restaurants in my area deep-fry their green onion cakes. I'm not a fan of that, but perhaps that's more what you're looking for.

      1. j
        Joebob RE: nonaggie Jun 16, 2010 01:31 PM

        A tip from a friend's Chinese wife: stretch and fold, stretch and fold the dough many times to give them a croissant-like inner texture. Best I ever had.

        1. ipsedixit RE: nonaggie Jun 16, 2010 03:34 PM

          Pan fry. Use as little oil as possible. And get your pan smoking hot -- hot like "Africa hot". Fry until just golden-brown.

          1. chefj RE: nonaggie Jun 16, 2010 06:19 PM

            You definitly need a good bit of oil and a med hot pan. Sounds like Will and MrsCris have it right!

            1 Reply
            1. re: chefj
              c
              celeryroot RE: chefj Jun 16, 2010 07:16 PM

              you also might try using a different flour with less protein and add some rice flour.

            2. n
              nonaggie RE: nonaggie Jun 18, 2010 06:20 AM

              It sounds like higher heat is the key; I'll try cranking it up. Thanks for the advice!

              1. shaogo RE: nonaggie Jun 18, 2010 06:59 AM

                In the restaurant, we store the balls of dough in oil (can do it overnight), and roll out to order. We cook them on a griddle (Japanese Teppan-Yaki) at no more than 400 but closer to 350 and they come out very crispy on the outside yet moist and tender on the (thin) inside.

                1. TorontoJo RE: nonaggie Jun 18, 2010 08:02 AM

                  Agreed with everyone else, higher heat -- though I don't go too hot because I find the outside gets crisp before the inside cooks properly.

                  And I just wanted to share my mom's secret ingredient that made her scallion pancakes taste so much better than anything I've had since -- bacon fat. Instead of using a vegetable oil on the dough before rolling, she would spread a layer of bacon fat. Then she would fry the pancakes in bacon fat. And good lord, were they ever good...

                  Another shortcoming I find in a lot of other versions is simply not enough salt. Of course, with bacon fat, that issue tends to go away. :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: TorontoJo
                    chowser RE: TorontoJo Jun 18, 2010 09:06 AM

                    MMmmm, bacon fat. It's also good w/ bacon in it.

                    1. re: chowser
                      TorontoJo RE: chowser Jun 18, 2010 10:51 AM

                      Mmmm, gilding the lily! I'll have to try that, thank you! I have serious cravings now.

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