Spring onion pancakes

Spring onion pancakes

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

Another carb staple of the north, spring onion pancakes aren’t a pancake in the true sense because they are made from a dough, not a batter. There are countless regional variations, all of them delicious — some are thin and flaky, others are made using a yeasted dough and are fat and puffy. Sometimes sesame seeds or garlic chives are added; other times they’re cooked with egg smeared over one side.


Quantity Ingredient
large pinch caster sugar
1 teaspoon instant dried yeast
260g plain flour, plus a little extra if needed
1 teaspoon salt
60ml vegetable oil, plus extra for cooking
or 60g lard, melted, plus extra for cooking
3 spring onions, chopped


  1. Combine 125 ml lukewarm water and the sugar in a small bowl, then sprinkle over the yeast. Set aside in a draught-free place for 5–6 minutes, or until foamy.
  2. Divide the flour between two bowls. Combine the yeast mixture with one portion of flour, and stir with a wooden spoon to just bring the dough together. Add the salt to the other bowl of flour, then, stirring vigorously, slowly add 125 ml boiling water and then 2 tablespoons of the melted lard; stir to bring the dough together.
  3. Turn both doughs out onto a lightly floured surface, then knead them together for 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and smooth — add a little more flour if the dough is very sticky, but do not add too much as the dough should be quite soft. Form the dough into a ball, then place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a draught-free place for about 40 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Knock back the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a log about 28 cm long. Cut the log into eight even pieces, then roll each piece into a ball. Working with one ball at a time and using a small rolling pin, roll the dough ball into a 15 cm circle. Brush the surface with some of the remaining lard, then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the spring onions. Roll the dough up into a tight sausage and pinch the ends to seal, then roll it into a tight spiral (this helps to create flaky layers when the pancakes are cooking), with the seam side in. Using the rolling pin or your hands, flatten each spiral into a 16 cm round. Repeat the process with the remaining dough balls and spring onions.
  5. Place a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat, brush the base with lard or oil, then cook the pancakes in batches for 6–7 minutes, turning once, or until deep golden and cooked through. Cool slightly and serve warm.
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