These pan-fried flatbreads are crisp outside, slightly flaky inside, and rich with the flavor of scallions, cilantro, and sesame. Also called Shanghai onion bread, they’re very delicious, and very addictive.
Put the flour in a large bowl (I use a wooden salad bowl). Add the boiling water and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Gather the scraps together, pressing and kneading to form a dough ball. Knead the dough in the bowl or on a work surface, floured if necessary, until soft but not very sticky, about 8 minutes. The dough should be light and not very resilient; when you stick your finger in, a slight indentation should remain. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead for another 3 minutes.
Put the sesame oil in a small bowl. Shape the dough into an even cylinder. Cut the cylinder into 8 equal pieces. Use a rolling pin to roll one piece into a 6-inch round. Brush the top with the sesame oil and then sprinkle on about 1/4 tsp. salt, about 1/2 Tbs. each scallions and cilantro, and about 2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds. Roll up the pancake tightly, stretching to lengthen it slightly. Tie the ends of the cylinder around as if you were forming a knot. Flatten the knotted ball on a lightly floured surface with your palm and then roll it out again into a 6-inch round. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Roll out a piece of the divided dough into a 6-inch round and brush with sesame oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt, scallions cilantro and toasted sesame seeds.
Roll up the round very tightly, as you would a cigar, stretching the dough as you roll to lengthen it a bit.
Tie the ends around as if you were forming a knot, but stop before one end protrudes through the center hole.
Flatten the knot with your palm and then roll it out again into a 6-inch round. This creates layers of dough with the herbs pressed right in.
In a large heavy skillet, pour enough peanut oil to come to a depth of 1/4 inch. Heat the oil to 380°F (a rice noodle will puff into a curlicue within 3 seconds or a cube of bread will turn golden in 15 seconds). Fry one or two pancakes at a time until both sides are golden and slightly crisp, 2-1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle immediately with coarse salt. Serve hot.
Scallion pancakes cook to golden crispness in about 5 minutes. A sprinkling of coarse salt and they're ready to serve.
nutrition information (per serving):
per pancake, Calories
23, Fat Calories
210, Saturated Fat
8, Monounsaturated Fat
50, Polyunsaturated Fat