Chinese scallion pancake (Cong You Bing, 葱油饼) is not like any other pancake familiar to most of the people. It has a crusty and crispy surface, with scallions sandwiched between layers of pastry inside. It is a refreshing, delightful, and easy to make flatbread.

These pancakes are savory and are most suitable as snacks in between main meals or for breakfast. 

The making of the Chinese scallion pancake is straightforward, albeit there are a few tricks to make it crusty, fluffy, and with distinct layers. 

Let’s dive into the details right away. 

Note: Scallion is also known as green onion and spring onions in some parts of the world.

Chinese scallion pancake (Cong You Bing, 葱油饼) is not like any other pancake familiar to most of the people. It has a crusty and crispy surface, with scallions sandwiched between layers of pastry inside. It is a refreshing, delightful, and easy to make flatbread.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my privacy policy for more info. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

1. Prepare the pancake dough 

Is it necessary to use warm water to make the dough?

I came across a Chinese scallion pancake recipe using warm water to prepare the dough.

After reading various resources and still failing to unveil the mystery, I decided to test the difference between using warm and cold water. 

The result turns out to be identical. Therefore, I will use cold water for this recipe.

Add some salt to the dough

I prefer to add part of the salt while kneading the dough and sprinkle the other half onto it after rolling it out.

The salt that sprinkled and trapped in between the layers gives a more distinct flavor that tickles the taste buds. The effect is similar to sprinkle the salt on the steak instead of rub in thoroughly.

What type of flour is best for the scallion pancake?

I am using plain flour (all-purpose flour) in the recipe, which yields a stretchable dough. I also came across a recipe using bread flour.

So I try to make some with bread flour. The dough does not turn out as stretchy as using plain flour, and a bit difficult to roll it out thinly. I suspect it is due to the presence of gluten that makes it more elastic. For now, I will stick to all-purpose flour for making Chinese scallion pancakes. 

Here are the steps to make the dough.

  • Add water and salt to form a shaggy dough. 
  • Knead five to eight minutes by hand, or use an electric mixer until it forms a very sticky and relatively smooth and elastic ball. 
  • Continue kneading until it becomes shiny and stay clear from the mixing bowl.

Tip to keep the kneading process clean and tidy 

The dough of the Chinese scallion pancake is very sticky due to the high water content. I am using 70ml of water for every 100g of flour. You will immediately reckon that it is a shaggy dough if you are making bread regularly. 

My method is hands-free. Measure the flour, water, and salt required in a mixing bowl. Combine them with a sturdy silicone spatula for a few minutes until the dough becomes an elastic ball, and picks up all the flour and sticky pieces in the mixing bowl. 

You can also use a handheld electric mixer with a dough hook when you make a large batch. 

When the dough is ready, cover and let it relax before continuing with the next step. The whole process is tidy and clean since I do not knead it with my hand nor remove it to another container for resting. (I have recorded how I did it in the video in this article.)

After mixing, let it rest for thirty minutes before rolling it out.

2. How to shape ad create the layers of the scallion pancake

The layers of the Chinese scallion pancake are created by applying oil on the roll-out dough, and then roll and fold like making puff pastry. 

  • After resting the dough for thirty minutes or longer, place it on a floured surface. 
  • Divide the dough into four portions (for four pancakes).
  • Push down a portion with your palm, then roll it thinly. You can either roll it into a circle or a long rectangle as thin as possible. Since the dough is quite wet, you need to lift the dough and transfer it to the floured surface next to it whenever you feel that it starts to stick to the surface. I prefer a rectangle because it is easier to shape it into a long strip. 

Two ways to apply the oil that forms layers 

There are two methods to apply the oil to create the layer:

  • Brush the cooking oil liberally on the roll-out dough and leave about a centimeter clear from the edges. 
  • Combine the oil and some flour in a small pan over low heat. Keep stirring it quickly until it becomes a roux (called 油酥 in Chinese). Once the roux is cold, transfer it to the surface of the dough. 

I have tried both methods, and they all work well. I prefer the roux method since a thick roux is easier to manage and less likely to leak out from the dough while shaping it. 

  • Next, sprinkle some salt evenly on the surface. 
  • Cut some scallions crosswise thinly, about 1 to 2 mm. The scallions will stick out from the layers if they are too large. 
  • Sprinkle the scallions evenly on the surface. 

Creating the layers of the pancake

  • Roll up the longer side of the pastry, like making Swiss roll to form a long strip. Squeeze to seal up both ends. 
  • Roll and stretch the dough with your palm to make it into a long rope.
  • Coil up the rope and tuck the end of it underneath the dough.
  • Let the dough relax before rolling it to a circle. 
  • Push down the dough with your palm. Roll out to form a circle, about half centimeter thick. The thinner you make, the crispier it will be, but you are risking to break the layers, and the oil will leak out, which will ruin the layers. 

Tip: Do not break the air bubbles while rolling out the dough. The air trapped in between the layers will expand during frying and separate the layers.

3. Pan-fried the pancakes

Now it comes to the part. Here are the steps:

  • Add some oil to a frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, place the pancake on it and pan-fry for about three minutes or until it turns brown with some beautiful charred lines and speckled spots. You can use any pan since the dough will not stick to any pan. However, oil plays a part in crisp up the surface. Therefore, some oil is still required even if you are using a non-stick pan. 
  • Once the first side is done, flip over to continue pan-frying the second side. The air trapped within the layers will expand and create the layers.
  • Now place a cover on the pan for one minute to increase the temperature and help puff up the layers of the pancake. 
  • Remove the cover and flip to check the color of the bottom side. Once both sides have turned brown, remove from heat and place it on a chopping board. Cut and serve. 

Can I make these Chinese scallion pancakes in advance?

The uncooked Chinese scallion pancakes can be frozen and kept for future use. Separate each pancake with a plastic sheet or cling film to prevent them from sticking together. Keep the stack of uncooked pancakes in the ziplock bag

To use, remove from the freezer and pan-fry directly. It is not necessary to defrost. 

Conclusion 

I use the method as detailed above and manage to get pancakes with many layers. The inside is soft with a crisp outside. The contrast between the crusty and crispy surface with the soft and layered texture inside is the magic of the Chinese scallion pancakes.

If you like Chinese snacks and desserts, you may also like to try the following recipe:

  • Chinese taro cake – a savory cake you find in most of the street food vendors in Asia.
  • Red bean soup – a sweet dessert that is simple to make, which involved only a few ingredients.
  • Egg tarts – the ultimate dessert on the Dim Sum menu.
Yield: 4 scallion pancakes

Scallion pancake

Scallion pancake

Chinese scallion pancake (Cong You Bing, 葱油饼) is not like any other pancake familiar to most of the people. It has a crusty and crispy surface, with scallions sandwiched between layers of pastry inside. It is a refreshing, delightful, and easy to make flatbread.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

Dough (A):

Roux (B):

  • 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) of vegetable oil

Others (C):

  • Some chopped green onion (about 3-4 stalks)
  • Salt to sprinkle on the dough

Sauce (D):

  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp black vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped spring onions
  • 1 tsp chili oil (Optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine (A) in a mixing bowl. Mix well with a spatula. Scalion pancake - mix dough
  2. Continue mixing (or with an electric mixer with the dough hook attached) until it is smooth and stay free from the bowl. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.Scalion pancake - dough hook
  3. Mix (B) in a small saucepan. Heat until the oil starts boiling to form a roux. Set aside to cool.Scalion pancake - roux
  4. Divide the dough into four. Roll each portion thinly into a long rectangle.Scalion pancake - cut the dough
  5. Apply the roux on the surface but leave about one cm free from the edges.Scalion pancake - apply roux
  6. Sprinkle the salt and spring onion as in (C)) on the surface.Scalion pancake - add scallion
  7. Roll up the dough like making a Swiss roll. Roll and stretch the dough to form a long rope.
  8. Coil the rope to form a round dough.
  9. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick circle. Pan-fried over medium heat until it has charred lines and speckled spots. Scalion pancake - pan-fry
  10. Flip over and cover the pan for one minute. Remove the cover and continue pan-frying until both sides are golden brown. Remove from heat.scallion pancake - cover
  11. To make the sauce, simply combine all the ingredients in (D).Scalion pancake - prepare dipping sauce

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 445Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1763mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 7g

This data was provided and calculatd by Nutrionix on 4/2/2020

    11 replies to "Scallion Pancake Recipe – How to make it crispy and fluffy"

    • KP Kwan

      Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you in this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am pleased to reply to any questions and comments as soon as possible.

    • chris 06

      Bonjour à vous
      J’ai déjà fait ces crêpes, (même technique), mais je n’ai jamais lu une recette avec un roux.
      C’est un grand étonnement pour moi??? Je vais donc essayer. Il est certain que le roux apportera du moelleux,et même les recettes traditionnelles peuvent être améliorées.
      J’attends toujours vos publications avec impatience, d’autant plus qu’elles sont rares.
      Merci et bien amicalement de la France. Protégez vous bien Chris 06

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Chris,
        Thank you for your comment.
        Yes. You can apply oil on the pastry instead of making the roux. The effect is the same. I have mentioned it in the text. The reason I do that is that the roux is thicker, and is less likely to leak out when I fold the pastry.
        You can use ether way to do it. The result is quite the same.
        KP Kwan

    • Tina O'Dowd

      Thank you very much KP Kwan ,
      I will try do it , look yummy

      • KP Kwan

        You are welcome. I hope you will like it 🙂

    • Sandra Yap

      Mr Kwan another superb recipe fr you tqvm. So coincidental yesterday I watched a sour cream scallion biscuit recipe on YouTube. Folding method too. I am sure ye pancake goes well with curries too like roti canai. Will try if I can get what I m doing right now out of the way
      HV a good day Mr Kwan!

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Sandra,
        I also have the same thought. Since I cannot go to Mamak store to have roti canai during the lockdown, I can make some scallion pancake to serve with dhal 🙂
        KP Kwan

    • esther zeira

      Thank you for your recipes an videos.
      I am always amazed how being thousands miles from you and still
      be able to study new things.
      thank you so much.
      Esti

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Esther,
        You are welcome. Happy to know that this is useful to you.
        Regards,
        KP Kwan

    • chris 06

      Bonjour KP
      Suite à un grave accident::2 bras cassés et une épaule éclatée,je suis restée plusieurs mois dans un centre de rééducation. Une fois rentrée à la maison,j’ai eu besoin d’aide pour tout, peu de temps après, donc pas de cuisine. J’ai remonté la pente, mais peu de temps après, ,catastrophe,de graves inondations ont détruit tout le bas de ma villa. A ce jour, je suis toujours en travaux,bloquée par le virus.
      Toutes ces explications pour vous dire que je fais vos crêpes qu’aujourd’hui.
      Ma pâte repose. Mais en ce qui concerne le roux, la farine reste au fond de la casserole,et l’huile dessus???Est-ce normal???Comme je ne sais pas, je vais rajouter un peu de farine( pour aujourd’hui ,mais j’attends votre réponse pour le futur.
      Merci pour tout ce que vous nous offrez. A quand de nouvelles recettes??? Un vrai canard laqué,symbole de la cuisine chinoise?? Bien amicalement Chris 06

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Chris,
        Sorry to hear that you have an accident. Please take care.
        I use Google to translate into English, but the translation is not very good. So I think the best is to watch the video, which should be easy to understand.
        Some people do not make the roux. They skip the step to make the roux and apply the oil directly onto the pastry. It is like putting butter on the pastry when making puff pastry. You can try this more straightforward method.
        Thanks, and I will post more articles from time to time.
        KP Kwan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.