I always thought that green onion pancakes (蔥油饼 – cōng yóu bǐng) were beyond my capabilities and had accepted that I would only have this treat in restaurants until ellen’s 婆婆 (pópo – grandma on the mother’s side) taught me. The trick to the twisty layers of these pancakes is mixing warm and cold dough together.
3 cups flour
2/3 cup cold water
1/3 cup hot water
1 bunch of green onions
2-3 tbsp butter
1. Mix 2 cups flour and 2/3 cup cold water into a ball.
2. In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup flour and 1/3 cup hot water into a ball and then combine with the cold dough ball and knead it for a few minutes.
3. After letting the dough rest for 10 minutes, roll the dough ball out thin.
4. Spread about 3-4 tablespoons (1/3 to 1/2 stick) of softened butter to thinly coat the entire surface, as shown below. If you only have cold butter, then 5-10 seconds in the microwave usually works.
5. Chop at least one bunch of green onions (about 5-6 stalks) and sprinkle them evenly. There’s nothing wrong with using more green onions or substituting with yellow onions and even garlic.
6. Sprinkle some salt (less if you used salted butter) and then roll up the pancake-to-be.
7. Cut the roll into 4-5 inch segments. Pinch closed the ends of each segment and then twist a few rotations.
8. Flatten all of the twisted segments.
9. Roll them out thin. You can cook the pancakes immediately or freeze them. A layer of plastic wrap between pancakes will prevent them from sticking in the freezer.
10. To cook, pan fry with some vegetable oil for a few minutes on each side on medium-low heat until golden brown.
11. Cut and serve.