Tuesday, November 11, 2008
CHINESE ONION PANCAKES
When we lived in Taiwan for three years I loved watching the chefs of a certain eatery make these Chinese pancakes through the glass window of the shop. The pancakes looked so good and crispy when just off the hot pan that I practically stood there and drooled. And the chefs were so deft at making them that I could have stood there all day just watching them roll out, fry and flip them over one after another almost deliriously for the long queue of waiting customers outside. Like all skilled cooking demos I found the pancake making quite mesmerizing. Not that they were all that difficult to do but, heck, I just love watching skilled chefs at work.
Apparently it was a favourite snack amoung the locals and I was so delighted that I came across a recipe book in ENGLISH that had a recipe for that exact Chinese pancake.
The pancake looks very much like a mamak roti canai although not as flaky but delicious just the same. These pancakes can be eaten with anything you fancy. A curry in my case or as the Taiwanese would eat it , with Moo Shu Pork, (stir fried pork and eggs).
Like the roti canai, eggs can be added to these Chinese pancakes when stir frying them. It's the Chinese version of a Malaysian 'roti telur' or 'egg roti' I suppose. I've never tried cooking the pancakes with eggs as we are a little health conscious but I am very certain it tastes even better that way.
Because of the way the pancake is rolled up and then rolled out the pancake does fluff up a little
when fried thus giving it it's crispiness while hot. And the onions give it sweet flavour. The original recipe calls for lard instead of olive oil to be brushed on before rolling it up.
Recipe for the Chinese pancakes/crepe :
1 1/4 cups plain flour
3/8 cup boiling water
1/2 egg or 1/8 cup cold water
1 Tbsp chopped green onions
1/2 Tbsp shortening or olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Dough : In a bowl add boiling water to flour and mix. Add egg or cold water. Mix again until smooth. Set aside for 20 minutes. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth. After resting remove the dough and knead it on a lightly oiled surface until smooth and elastic. Roll the dough to form a long roll and cut into 6 pieces.
Take one of the 6 pieces of pancake dough and roll out into a cirlcle about 4 inches in diameter. Brush dough lightly with shortening or olive oil. Sprinkle salt and then some green onions over the dough.
Now fold one side over up to the middle of the circle and then fold over the other side as in the picture.
Then taking the dough from one end roll it up like a swiss roll. Then turn it over on its side like in the picture below.
Press the dough down and roll it out into a circle ready to be fried in a pan.
Do the same to the other 5 rolls of pancake dough. And its best not to overlap them up the way I did though especially if you're making quite a number. Keep them seperate otherwise they'll stick.
Heat up a pan and then pour in about 1to 2 tablespoon of cooking oil. The original recipe called for 4 tablespoons but I found that a little too much. When the oil is hot fry the pancakes until golden brown on one side and then turn over to fry the other side.