October 13, 2015

Scallion Pancakes

Note: Actual recipe may included no blueberries or cardboard
If you're anything like me, you hate paying too much for restaurant food that you can make better yourself. Also, you once carved "I messed with Texas" into a table at a rest stop...in Texas. The point is, sometimes, restaurant disappointment can be kind of like inspiration. You may have been served cardboard with a ketchup and sadness emulsion, but you ordered that crap because it was supposed to be awesome. Which brings me back to scallion pancakes, because they can be great. But more often than not, when I have them in restaurants, I end up more disappointed than 1990s Nicolas Cage having a vision of his future. So I'm taking what I wanted them to be, figuring it out, and making them myself. And that my friend, is the true meaning of Christmas.


1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup of Hot Water
8 Green Onions/Scallions/Spring Onions/etc. (Apparently, green onions have a stupid number of regional names, and no region wants to give theirs up so we can all call them the same damn thing. Probably because of Onion Politics,  with it's lobbying efforts, corruption, and stubborn stupidity. You know, like regular politics, just more delicious)
1 TBSP Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 tsp Salt
More flour
More Salt

More Ingredients! For a dipping Sauce, which is kind of superfluous, and therefore optional!

2 TBSP Rice Wine Vinegar
2 TBSP Soy Sauce
1 TBSP Sriracha (The concept of a dipping sauce with these is really an American development, so using an American hot sauce that's designed to taste eastern-ish felt...appropriate)
1 TBSP Sugar
2 Green Onions
2 tsp Crushed Ginger
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Clove of Garlic, crushed

Woo! Sooooo many ingredients. But most of them are for the sauce, which takes like 25 seconds to make, so we'll ignore them for now. Take your flour and sift it in a bowl along with your Salt, using a sifter, a fork, knives, a whisk, or fear itself. You just want to break up the clumps, and aerate it a little bit. Then slowly add in your water, stirring as you go. You may not end up using all of your flour. You want the dough to just barely come together, but there shouldn't be any leftover flour sitting around, looking for a dance partner, striking out, and bringing the whole party down. Cover the whole thing with a moist towel, and let it sit for about 45 minutes. You can use this time to chop your Green Onions into itty bits! You're on your own for the other 44 minutes. Once the time has passed, cover a cutting board, counter, or other flat surface with flour, knowing deep in your heart that you'll never truly be able to get it clean again. Plop half of your dough onto your floured surface, sprinkle the top of it with flour, and knead the crap out of it for 5-10 minutes. If it still feels sticky, knead in more flour. Once you've done all the kneading that your dough needed (Puns!), roll it out as thinly as you can. Take half of your Toasted Sesame Oil, and smear it on the dough, and then evenly throw on half of your chopped Scallions.

Now comes the complicated bit. Take an edge of your flattened onion dough, and start rolling it up on top of itself, until your have a tube of dough. It should look kind of like everything you ever made out of Play-Doh as a kid. Then take that dough tube, and wrap it in a spiral around itself. Then roll it out again, this time about 1/4 of an inch thick. Got that? Because I'm not sure I do. Seriously though, roll up your dough into a dough snake, then make a dough spiral our of your snake, and then roll it flat again. It's not as bad as it sounds. If you can't figure it out, just fold your dough in half a couple times and then roll it out again. It's won't be as layered and flaky, but at least you won't be standing terrified in your kitchen, afraid to move for fear that I'll jump out of your computer and mock you (Which has only happened once, that I know of). Throw your Vegetable Oil into a pan on medium heat, lay in your fledgling pancake, and fry it for about 3 minutes on each side, until it's brown, crispy, and awesome. Put it on a plate lined with paper towels to drain, and immediately sprinkle it with an average human sized pinch of Salt. Then repeat this entire stupid process again with the rest of your flour, Oil, Scallions, and whatnot, while trying not to weep.

Like all fried foods, it's best eaten as soon as possible,
in one sitting, while stubbornly refusing to share
Once you're done weeping, it's time to think about the sauce. This type of food is served as a street food in places like China, and doesn't have a sauce. And it tastes awesome on its own. But in American restaurants, a dipping sauce usually comes with. So, for thoroughness and awesomeness, we're making one too. And it's pretty complicated too. Are you ready? Chop your Green Onions. Crush your Ginger and Garlic. Add them into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir. Feel free to read this paragraph as many times as you need to to get that down. And there you have it! Delicious, flaky, crispy, delicious bits of reverse-engineered awesomeness that you can take back to that original restaurant that wronged you and rub their dumb faces in it. Not literally. Probably.

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