I travel a lot to China on work, especially in the Shanghai region. Initially I expected to get very little vegetarian food. Half my small suitcase was packed with spice powders to mix with rice and other ready to eat Indian foods. After my second trip, I took no food with me. The vegetarian food in China is superb. Simply fantastic. The vegetables and the lovely delicate sauces. And their amazing vegetarian Buddhist restaurants. Every meal is a feast!
I have tried many times to recreate the taste at home. I’ve got a great wok and all the sauces from China. They’ve now become my pantry staples and I would recommend buying the authentic stuff from Asian grocery stores.
This is a recipe from the famous J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats. This is the first of his recipes that I’ve tried though I have bookmarked many of them. It was pretty easy and tasted delicious.
For the Pancakes:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
- 2 cups spring onions, finely chopped
For the Dipping Sauce:
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Chinkiang (or other rice wine vinegar)
- 1 tbsp spring onion greens, finely chopped
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Place the flour in the bowl of a food processor and slowly drizzle in the hot water, until a dough forms. Knead for a few minutes on a floured surface. Form a ball with the dough, transfer to a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and rest the dough for 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge.
Divide the dough into four equal parts. Roll each piece into a circle, about 8″ in diameter. Brush with a thin layer of sesame oil and roll tightly like a jelly roll, then twist the roll into a tight spiral, tucking the end underneath. Roll out the dough again into an 8″ circle, and brush again with sesame oil and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the spring onion greens. Roll up tightly again into a jelly roll and twist into a spiral. Flatten/ Roll out into a 7″ circle.
Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and keep aside.
Heat oil in non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Slip one pancake into the hot oil. Cook the pancake about 2 minutes until golden brown, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent the pancake from sticking. Carefully turn the pancake over and cook for a further 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to drain, and season with salt.
Cut each pancake into 6 wedges and serve warm with the sauce for dipping.