One of my favorite things to eat when I was living in China was Cōng Yóu Bǐng – Chinese Scallion Pancakes. I would wake up nice and early and head down to the campus dining hall to get these, and about 4 large glasses of freshly brewed soy milk. Nothing, and I mean nothing compares to freshly brewed soy milk. I would buy four, drink one, and put the other three in my fridge and enjoy them throughout the rest of the day. I had to get there early because the few days I didn’t, both the cōng yóu bǐng and the soy milk were long gone. On those days I opted for freshly made won ton soup (yes that was breakfast, and pretty different from what we get here in the US).
These pancakes, were beyond delicious and cut like pizza slices. I’ve been wanting to try to make them gluten-free for the past few years but never got around to trying it. Last weekend however, I was craving these like crazy. I’m not going to lie, they aren’t exactly like the ones in China – and I’m not sure if they will ever be but I’m okay with that. These are close and I enjoyed them quite a bit. Isn’t that what really matters? So below, is my take on one of my favorite dishes…
Chinese Scallion Pancakes – Cōng Yóu Bǐng
1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used Silvana Nardone’s Blend, page 15 from her cookbook ‘Cooking with Isaiah’)
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons sweet white rice flour
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (if your all purpose flour blend already has this, just omit)
3/4 cup warm water – added slowly
3 tablespoons oil (preferably peanut, but canola or other neutral flavor oil would work)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup diced scallions, white and green parts
salt – to taste
In a medium bowl combine all-purpose flour, sweet white rice flour, xanthan gum (if needed), and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the middle of the flour and slowly add the warm water (you may not need all of the water).
Mix with a wooden spoon until a ball starts to form. Kneed in bowl for until dough is nice and soft. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
In a small bowl mix together peanut (or alternative oil) and sesame oil and set aside.
Lightly dust a working surface with all-purpose flour and cut ball of dough into four even wedges. Remove one wedge and cover the remaining three with damp towel. You can either leave the dough the size that it is or you can cut it into smaller portions. Either way, the remaining directions are exactly the same.
Lightly dust the top of the dough with some all-purpose flour and roll dough out into a 5-6 inch circle. Brush the surface with the oil mixture, sprinkle with salt and scallion slices. Roll circle up (or if you can’t without it ripping, just do the best you can, roll it back into a ball and then roll out again), twist, and pinch together. Roll out again into a 5-6 inch circle, brush again with oil mixture and place in a non stick skillet. If needed add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of oil to the pan. Cook about 3-4 minutes until you see light browning and bubbles forming. Brush the other side with oil mixture and flip over to repeat the cooking process.
Remove from pan and cut into two or four pieces, or leave whole and rip pieces off as you wish.
Repeat with remaining wedges of dough.
Best if eaten right away – but can be warmed up in an oven set to 300-350° for 5-10 minutes.
Serve with a Ginger Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon or a pinch of red pepper flakes
1/8 cup sliced scallions
1/4 teaspoon minced ginger
Mix all ingredients together – can be made several hours ahead of time.