Throughout the world, there are many different variations of pancakes. Vietnam has Banxeo, the french has crepe, the dutch have the dutch baby and the Chinese have Green Onion Pancake. Green Onion Pancake or Scallion Pancake is known as Cong You Bing (蔥油餅) in Chinese. Although it might have originated in China, the dish is considered one of Taiwan’s national dish.
I would say it is as popular as their version of Beef Noodle Soup. The ingredients use in a typical Green Onion Pancake is surprisingly simple. All you need is oil, flower and green onion. However, because of how laborious it is, it is usually better to just buy the premade one.
Green Onion Pancake Taste
Instead of a sweet flavor like most western pancake, these are more savory. While you can eat it by itself, you can also pair it with other dishes. The pancakes are inherently oily and has a nice burst of green onion flavor. It is flaky with many layers, similar to how a croissant is but more dense.
There are two ways that you can make these pancakes. One is very crispy and the other is soft and chewy. One is not necessary better than the other but rather dependent on the taste.
How to Eat
You can eat the green onion pancake as it is. It is flavorful enough that you dont need any sauce, but restaurant will often give you soy or peanut sauce. In Taiwan, you will just get it in a paper wrapper for you to eat on the go.
My preferred breakfast is just this pancake and eggs with loads of green onion on the side. It is light enough with just enough protein so that you can skip lunch. Pair it with tea and you can have a nice complete Chinese breakfast.
Health, Ingredients and Nutrition
Vegans rejoice, there is no meat in the pancake. Some manufacturer might use shortening but those arent traditional. Check the ingredient list to be sure.
The general ingredient list for green onion pancake is as follow. Green Onion, Flower, Oil.
Green Onion Pancake Nutrition
It is not really bad. For a single serving of pancake, you can expect around 40 g of carbohydrate. Other than that, it is moderately healthy.
Where to Buy Green Onion Pancake
You can purchase the frozen premade one at any Asian Supermarket. I usually buy the for 1-2 dollar for a pack of 5. Much more affordable and you get perfect quality each time. Interesting enough, amazon even have a Listing for it. Although, its not the same brand that I buy. I wonder how they manage to transport it. Unfortunately, it seems like you have to buy it in bulk.
How to Prepare Green Onion Pancake
How you cook the pancake will affect the texture.
In order to make it very crispy you need to use low heat.
1) Add a dollop of oil in the center of a pan and put the pancake on top.
2) Set the heat on low and wait until it browns.
3) Once it browns, flip the pancake and test to see how crispy it is. If it is not crunchy, flip it back. Make sure you dont burn it.
Soft and Chewy
This method is more common in Taiwan, but I personally prefer the crispy method.
1) Add oil in the center and turn on the heat to high.
2) Once the pan is heated put on the pancake and wait until it browns.
3) Flip it and watch the pancake rise!
4) Lower the heat and cook through.
The reason why the low heat makes a crispy pancake is because it slowly drive away all the moisture from the pancake. On high heat, the moisture will be trapped in the pancake retaining its soft texture. You can even even see the steam cause it to rise when you flip it.
Another common way of preparing is by making a wrap. Taiwanese version will usually include pickled mustard green, hoisin sauce, and beef slice. They will layer it and then wrap it together. It is simply incredible.
Scallion Pancake is one of my all time favorite food. You should really try it if you get a chance. This can be a replacement for any starch food. If you are tired of bread, give the pancake a shot, it doesnt cost that much.
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