This traditional Chinese flat bread (Chun Yao Bang) was a favorite of mine growing up. It was that rare treat we got when visiting family in L.A. Once I moved out on my own I set out to learn how to make this treat from my childhood. Little did I know that while labor intensive it is relatively easy compared to many breads. No yeast, no leavening, just flour and water and some flavor added in! I actually remembered to take pictures of most of the process!
Start by pouring boiling water over flour and stir vigorously. The dough will be dry and shaggy. Let rest for a couple of minutes. Add in cold water and mix. Again the dough will be shaggy. Knead dough about 5 minutes until it comes together and becomes smooth.
Place dough back in the mixing bowl and cover the bowl with a thoroughly damp cloth and let stand 15 minutes. If the towel isn't wet enough the dough will form a crust and dry out. Not good eats.
While the dough rests, chop the green onions.
I like to separate the onions into 8 separate piles. That way each pancake has the same amount and I don't run out!
After the dough has rested cut the dough into quarters and then each quarter in half. You should have 8 equal pieces. Roll each of these pieces into a ball.
Take a dough ball and roll it out so it is around a 10-inch circle.
Smear the vegetable shortening onto the circle, sprinkle it with salt and green onions. Roll the circle up like a cigar. Well, I've never rolled a cigar but I am assuming that's how you roll a cigar.
It should look like a a long snake. Typically I squeeze it a bit to get out the air bubbles.
Coil the dough like a snail. Repeat with the other dough balls. (Wow. Snakes, snails...maybe I should have said to roll the dough up like a puppy dog tail)
Next roll out the coil into a pancake around 1/4" in thickness. The hubby likes them thinner as they are crispier.
Add the vegetable oil to a frying pan and over medium heat cook the pancake for a couple of minutes on each side. I don't recommend using your nicer pans as the grease does create a mess!
Transfer the fully cooked pancake to a cutting board and cut into wedges. At our house these disappear as quickly as you can cut them!
Green Onion Pancakes - makes 8 pancakes
4c. all-purpose flour
1 c. boiling water
2/3 to 1 c. cold water
1/4 c. vegetable shortening
2 t. salt
1 c. minced green onions
1 c. vegetable oil
Place flour in a large bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over flour and immediately stir with chopsticks or a wooden spoon to mix well. Let flour mixture stand 2 minutes. Add 2/3 cup cold water. Knead dough about 5 minutes until smooth; add more water if needed. Cover with a damp cloth and let stand 15 minutes.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Use your hands to roll each piece into a ball. Use a rolling pin to roll out each ball to a 10-inch circle.
Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons of shortening on each circle, then sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons green onions. Roll up each circle like a jelly roll, then coil like a snail. Press coil flat with the palm of your hand. Use a rolling pin to roll out about 1/4-inch thick.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Fry 1 pancake about 2 minutes; turn and fry the other side 1 to 2 minutes, adding more oil if necessary and jiggling skillet so pancake doesn’t stick and crust is flaky. When both sides are crisp and golden, remove from skillet and keep warm. Repeat with remaining pancakes and oil. Serve pancakes hot.