Super Savory “Pancakes”

Flaky, savory, salty, and a little crunchy.

You must try these.

In Chinese, they’re called cong you bing, literally “Scallion oil pancake.” They look like pancakes, but they’re definitely not.

Besides, looks don’t mean a thing in my kitchen. I wear ugly t-shirts on a daily basis.

They’re a classic Chinese food, a snack flexible enough to fit in breakfast, contort into lunch, do the limbo under dinner, and handstand its way into your mid-afternoon snacking. Or all of the above, if you make enough of them.

There’s a little backstory to how I discovered these, too. I was first introduced to these by my parents’ friends, when I was around 13 years old. I remember that Asian couple very distinctly.

They were very poor — they made a living by giving massages in the local mall. They lived in a little apartment in a sketchy part of town, a tiny one-bedroom thing.

One day, a storm came through town, knocking out power in our apartment complex. The couple invited us to their apartment to take a shower and eat some dinner. When I came out of their shower, I saw quite a scene.

They stood in a two-person manufacturing line, frying up dozens of these savory pancakes. I mean dozens. It was so intense that every ten seconds, the husband would take a napkin and wipe off the excess oil accumulating on the overhang above the stove.

Seeing my greedy little eyes, they sent us home with two bags full of these. My mom kept trying to suppress my eagerness, probably embarrassed that we were taking something from them when we had so much more than they did.

And now that I’m old enough to know better, I’m a little embarrassed too.

Maybe if we all make these pancakes, we’ll all feel a little embarrassed. And then that feeling will be diluted, and we’ll be okay again.

I’m not opposed to that idea.

Super-Savory Scallion Pancakes

Notes: This recipe makes 4 large pancakes, about 8″ in diameter. Scallions are the same as green onions. Yeah, I just found that out. No shame.

Taste & Texture: The scallions give it a savory flavor, and the sprinkling of salt enhances that. Frying in oil gives them a slightly soft crunch. Done right, these are also multi-layered and flaky, which is a mouth-watering bonus. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flourFlower may not be used as a substitute.
  • 1/2 cup waterThe clear kind.
  • 1/2 cup scallionsNot scallops.
  • Enough oil. Enough to coat your skillet.
  • Some saltMmm salt.

Steps: 

1. Combine flour and water. Add more or less water, as necessary. You want to form a dough-like consistency.

IMG_4642
No knead to need.

2. Chop up scallions.

IMG_4643
Verdant scallions.

3. Pinch off a 1/2 cup (more or less) of dough and flatten. The shape doesn’t matter, but I like long rectangles.

IMG_4645
Evidently my shadow was green this morning.

4. Coat with oil, scallions, and a medium-size sprinkling of salt. Roll it up, creating as many layers as possible.

IMG_4646
Pancakes don’t roll like these do.

6. Stand the log on its end and smush it down, flattening it into a circle. Alternatively, you can cup your hands under the rolled-up log and turn it, slowly shaping it into a ball. Then, smush that ball into a flat circle. (I like the 2nd method; it preserves the layers better. It takes more time though.)

IMG_4648
It’s about to get yummy in here.

7. Fry in a thin layer of oil.

IMG_4650
Flip it when it looks delicious on one side and raw on the other.

The Extra Mile:

  • HOT SAUCE. I recommend the Lao Gan Ma brand chili sauce; it’s sold in Asian supermarkets. That brand is a big deal in China, and it goes with pretty much every Chinese dish. It’s ridiculously good with Lao Gan Ma. GAH. SO. GOOD. (P.S. A big Thank You to one of my followers for bringing this up with me. You can view my original excitement in the Comments section below.)
  • Double the recipe. Everyone will love you.

Oh that flakiness, oh that savoriness, oh that crunch… Don’t worry, savory pancakes, I’ll still love you when you’re no longer young and beautiful. You know I will. You know I will. 

IMG_4655

I honestly did not alter the colors. All the differences in color between pictures are a result of amateur photography. Sorry not sorry.

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No matter what time you’re reading this, there’s no excuse not to go and make them right now. They’re also a great midnight snack. Personal experience.

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35 Comments Add yours

  1. Every time I read your blog, I literally laugh out loud…and immediately want to try whatever I’m reading about (except the Mung Bean Butter – I’m not sold on that yet, LOL). Love the memory that goes with this, too!

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      Thanks! I’m just so tickled that someone thinks I’m funny!

      1. You are, I promise. I don’t laugh out loud literally very often. 😜 Don’t stop writing (or cooking!)!

  2. chloeshixian says:

    I like the way you blog I was like LOL

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      Haha thank you! ^.^

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      It tastes even better! 🙂

  3. Anna Ming says:

    Haha great story and girl, I agree with all the above!! So funny and so tasty 😀

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      Ahh YES! Double-Asian Approved! ^_^

  4. Schona says:

    Yum. I’m not great at cooking but your clear explanation and pics mean even I could do it! lol

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      Awesome! That’s what I blog for! 🙂

  5. lenomadefood says:

    Nice post Cici, looks like a killer recipe! Giving me some ideas for a new recipe to work on. Well done, always enjoy your strong posts.

    -Jeff

  6. Yum!! These look delicious!

  7. judilyn says:

    Well done! Easy and tasty! A must try, fur sure!!!

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      Thanks! And yes, absolutely a must try!

  8. Enjoyed reading your post! This is an interesting recipe, I got to try this some time. Although I honestly thought at first glance this was ‘Hodddeok’ – the korean sweet pancakes 🙂

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      Oh man I gotta try that sometime too!

  9. lykasid says:

    I reckon even I could make these yummy looking snacks 🙂

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      You definitely could!! Anyone can (:

  10. kittyroxx says:

    Okay so, when I am not dreaming about red bean treats, I wistfully wish I lived closer to an authentic Chinese restaurant that can serve me this at a craving’s notice. What I did not realize, though, was how easy they are to make.

    Did you ever eat them with anything? I used to douse my with soy sauce.

    *bookmarked

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      I just eat them straight, mostly. I have to try them with soy sauce though!
      OH WAIT. HOT SAUCE. Try them the Lao Gan Ma brand chili sauce. Oh god they’re amazing with hot sauce.
      I’m gonna have to update this post now to include that. Thanks for jogging my brain!
      Ahhh now I’m drooling.

      1. Annie says:

        Hey, I just googled the hot sauce you mentioned. I’ve actually never heard of that before, will have to get some to try!

        And brilliant idea on the hot sauce, by the way. My preferred is the good ol’ Rooster sauce. The next time I get my paws on scallion pancakes, i am so going to try that.

      2. Kitchen Cici says:

        Haha yeah they have different tastes; I like the Lao Gan Ma because it blends well with Chinese food flavors. It’s more of a dark-spicy and the texture is thicker too. Enjoy!!

  11. Oh I love these! And they seem easy to make.. thank you for sharing the recipe 🙂

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      You’re welcome! They’re definitely not as hard as they seem1

  12. They look strangely like deep-fried pita pancakes.

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      Ha yeah I imagine people have been frying pancake-shaped flour for a long time!

  13. Misadventures says:

    O_O Must. Try. Now.

  14. Touch2Touch says:

    I love food but never got to laugh at it so much before. These are far and away the funniest food blogs ever. Wait, make that the funniest blogs ever. And I think (may be mistaken about this) I might even make a lot of them and be able to eat them too. Thank you.

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      I’m literally beaming right now. So happy you think I’m funny, whether that’s true or not… Haha yes you’ll definitely be able to make this stuff!

  15. Touch2Touch says:

    The recipes, not the blogs.

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      Yeah I’ve tried and there’s a reason the blog posts aren’t featured recipes on the blog…

  16. Ooooo, these look delicious! I am officially going to follow you based entirely on these non pancake pancakes.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, i might actually make a variation of these this weekend but if i do I will be sure to give you mad props for the idea! (yup, I said mad props AND I’m not even an American! what is the world coming to)

    1. Kitchen Cici says:

      Haha! Thank you! And yes, I’d love to hear how it goes!! 🙂

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