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Clean Plate: Scallion Pancakes

My brother, Kyle, was recently visiting home after his junior year of college came to a close, and I convinced him to come into the city for a weekday lunch date. Mostly, I wanted quality sibling time to catch up, but the opportunity to do so over a decent meal in a favorite restaurant was certainly a perk.

Our family food genes are pretty powerful; Kyle has always appreciated cooking and eating just as much as I do. With that, though, I knew I couldn’t rely on him to answer the age-old question, “What do you want to eat?” Like his older sister, Kyle is up for any cuisine at any point in the day.

We wound up going to a popular Sichuan spot on 16th Street, DanDan, which is known for its spicy fare and signature dish, dandan noodles. Over several appetizers and shared entrees, I enjoyed hearing Kyle’s stories about the end of the school year and his plans for the summer. And, I was ever so proud to hear of the new summer-inspired recipes he’s trying out on the grill he shares with his roommates (a far cry from what I was doing as I approached my last year of college). I was so engrossed in his stories of being young and fun that I was eating our order of scallion pancakes like they were popcorn — they’re my favorite DanDan appetizer, hands down.

Here’s a simplified version of scallion pancakes to try at home. Because this recipe is batter-based, you won’t get the flakiness that is the result of a traditional dough-based version. But these satisfy the craving for crispy, salty take-out. This recipe makes enough to share, but, if you’re as hungry as I usually am, don’t feel too guilty if you manage to eat them all yourself.

Scallion Pancakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ to 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ⅓ tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup finely chopped scallions
  • Vegetable or olive oil

Whisk together the flour and ¾ cup of water in a large mixing bowl; whisk in additional water as needed to make a smooth batter. Stir in garlic and onion powder and salt. Fold chopped scallions into batter. Heat about two tablespoons of oil in a large pan, over medium heat. Pour approximately ¼ cup of batter into the pan and evenly spread in a circle so that the pancake is about ⅛” thick. Cook for about four minutes per side, until golden brown, and remove to a paper-towel-lined plate. Continue to cook until the batter is used up. Cut pancakes into wedges and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

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