Flaky Scallion Pancakes (蔥抓餅)

A popular Taiwanese street-style scallion pancake that is ultra crispy and fall-apart flaky.

As opposed to the ubiquitous 蔥油餅 (Cong You Bing), these are known as 蔥抓餅 (Cong Zhua Bing), which conveys how easily you can pull apart its layers. These are the kinds of pancakes you’ll find sold by old ladies at street vendors that are tucked behind busy streets, in the alleyways. They are always warm, made fresh to order; sometimes it even takes an hour of wait. But after one bite, it becomes clear why the line always extends around the block.


STEP BY STEP GUIDE

#1: Start with the Dough. The dough is a combination of only 3 ingredients: all-purpose flour, hot water, and salt. You won’t need a precise temperature measurement for the hot water — I usually go for a temperature where I could leave my finger in the water for around, but not more than, 2 seconds. In a large bowl, combine the flour with the salt first, and slowly stream in the water while mixing. I like to do this part with a long pair of chopsticks.

Once all the hot water is added, knead the dough in the bowl for just 2-3 minutes until the dough just comes together (do not over-knead!). While mixing, try to clean off some of the flour that originally got stuck to the inside of the bowl as well. The dough doesn’t have to be smooth at this stage; in fact, it will seem barely work-able. Brush the top of the dough with a little bit of vegetable oil (prevents drying) and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, preferably over night.

#2: Make the Scallion Oil Paste. This oil paste is key to achieving all those flaky layers. The secret to an extra aromatic and flavorful oil paste is heating the oil. Heat up the oil until it is just shimmering, and quickly pour it into a heat-safe bowl onto your scallions and flour. Stir to form a smooth paste.

#3: Roll out the dough & Apply Oil Paste. Now comes the real fun part. Take your rested dough and divide into eight even portions. Take one portion and roughly roll it out into a thin rectangle. If you find that the dough is sticking to your work surface, brush a little bit of oil on the work surface. I generally aim for the thickness of a coin for the rolled out dough. You can always keep stretching the dough as you go. Once the dough is rolled out, apply anywhere between 2-3 tablespoons of the oil paste with a brush. If you are using anything that’s not a brush to spread, be very careful as the dough may tear.

Once you’ve evenly spread the oil paste, fold the top 1/3 down and the bottom 1/3 up, and then fold the whole thing in half. At this point you should get a long rectangle. Stretch it by pulling gently on both ends against the work surface, kind of like stretching Biang Biang Noodles.

#4: Scallion Pasta. You thought I was joking when I mentioned Biang Biang Noodles? Now the step that will differentiate these scallion pancakes from most: cutting the dough into pasta-like strands. Generally, try to keep the cuts even but it does not have to be completely even.

#5: Re-form and Coil. Now, take each strand, untangle, and stack them on top of each other. You’ll want to do this relatively fast as it gets harder over time to untangle each strand without breaking them. It’s no issue if you break some strands though — just keep stacking them on top of one another! Once you’ve stacked all the untangled strands together, coil from one end to the other and tuck the final end beneath. Repeat steps 3-5 for the rest of the portions. Now your scallion pancakes are ready for cooking! See below for cooking instructions.


Flaky Scallion Pancakes (蔥抓餅)

4 from 89 votes
Recipe by George L. Course: SnackCuisine: TaiwaneseDifficulty: Medium
Servings

8

pancakes
Prep time

1

hour 
Cooking time

20

minutes

A popular Taiwanese street-style scallion pancake that is ultra crispy and fall-apart flaky.

Ingredients

  • Flour Dough
  • 620 grams (5 cups) all-purpose flour

  • 410 grams (1.8 cups) hot water

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • Scallion Oil Paste
  • 120 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour

  • 240 grams (1 cup) vegetable oil

  • 12 scallions, thinly chopped (amounts to 1.5 cups)

  • 1 pinch white pepper (optional)

  • Dipping Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or soy paste

  • 2 teaspoon spicy broad bean paste (doubanjiang)

  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced

  • 1 scallion, chopped

  • 1 dried chili, seeds removed and chopped (optional)

Directions

  • Make the Dough. First, mix together the all-purpose flour and salt. Then slowly stream in the hot water while mixing (a pair of long chopsticks is my preferred tool for this). Once all the hot water is added, knead the dough in the bowl for just 2-3 minutes until the dough just comes together (do not over-knead!). While mixing, try to clean off some of the flour that originally got stuck to the inside of the bowl as well. The dough doesn’t have to be smooth at this stage; in fact, it will seem barely work-able. Brush the top of the dough with a little bit of vegetable oil (prevents drying) and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight to extend the autolyse.
  • Make the Scallion Oil Paste. First, combine the thinly chopped scallions, all-purpose flour, and white pepper in a heat-safe bowl. In a small sauce-pan or shallow pan, heat up the vegetable oil until just shimmering. Then quickly pour the oil over the scallions — it should sizzle immediately. Stir to form a smooth paste.
  • Roll out the Dough & Apply Oil Paste. Take your rested dough and divide into eight even portions. Take one portion and roughly roll it out into a thin rectangle. If you find that the dough is sticking to your work surface, brush a little bit of oil on the work surface. For the thickness of the rolled out dough, I generally aim for the thickness of a coin. Once the dough is rolled out, apply anywhere between 2-3 tablespoons of the oil paste with a brush. Once you’ve evenly spread the oil paste, fold the top 1/3 down and the bottom 1/3 up, and then fold the whole thing in half. At this point you should get a long rectangle. Stretch it by pulling gently on both ends against the work surface, kind of like stretching Biang Biang Noodles.
  • Cut, untangle, and re-form. Cut your long rectangular dough into pasta-like strips. take each strand, untangle, and stack them on top of each other. Once you’ve stacked all the untangled strands together, coil from one end to the other and tuck the final end beneath. Repeat for the rest of the dough.
  • Flatten the Pancakes. Before cooking the pancakes, be sure to let them rest for at least 15 minutes. After they have properly rested, flatten the pancake either with your fingers or a rolling pin to around 0.5 to 1 cm thick.
  • Cook the Pancakes. Heat up a non-stick pan with a little bit of oil on medium-high heat. Note: you don’t really need oil here if your pan is well-seasoned or very non-stick. The pancake itself will give out some oil. However, for the best street food-like experience, I recommend frying in 2-3 tablespoons of oil. The difference is significant — the pancakes will take on a shatteringly crisp, almost deep-fried texture. Place a flattened pancake in the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and lower the heat by a little bit. Cook the pancakes covered for around 4 minutes, or until the top of the pancake has changed color (a sign that the steam has lightly cooked and hydrated the top). Now, remove the lid, flip the pancake, and turn up the heat to high heat. Cook until both sides become lightly crispy and browned. The cooking time for this step is totally up to you — I like my pancakes extra crispy, so I cooked the pancakes longer. You can cook them for a little less time and they will be tender and flaky either way. Finally, towards the very end of the cooking, take two spatulas and shove the pancake to release all of its layers. Shove the pancake just enough so that the layers are released, but don’t completely come apart and shatter into pieces. Enjoy immediately with the dipping sauce.

Notes

  • Notes on Scallions: 1) Make sure to pat the scallions very dry (after washing) as you want as little water in the oil paste as possible. 2) Make sure to slice the scallions very finely as they could pierce the dough if they are too big or thick.
  • Freezing Option: After flattening the pancakes (Step 5), you may freeze the pancakes for later. Simply stack all the uncooked pancakes on top of one another, with a piece of parchment paper in between each pancake. Once all the pancakes are stacked, place them in a large container or a large bag. To re-heat the pancakes, simply place the frozen pancake into an oiled pan & cook like you normally would. Best enjoyed within 3 weeks.
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Kycoo (@KycooChan)
1 year ago

Wow, I’ve never seen this method of making scallion pancakes before! It looks a bit like a mix between 抓餅 and 蔥油餅. Definitely going to have to try making it sometime! Thanks for the step-by-step photos — they will help a lot. 🙂

Angela
Angela
1 year ago

Hi, where did you buy your plates/dishes?

Alex
Alex
1 year ago

Hi george would 2.25 cups of flour be 150 grams? i think the conversion is usually 120-125 grams per cup so maybe more like 250+ grams of flour?

Ryan
Ryan
1 year ago

Excellent!!!! I recommend adding sugar and lemon to the sauce. Amazing flakey recipe!!

Diana Hu
Diana Hu
1 year ago

Not sure what happened with my dough, I’d love to see your prepped dough before chilling. I ended up having to add quite a bit of flour to get it smooth, after measuring by weight.

Diana
Diana
1 year ago

Replying to the earlier comment, the other steps worked out well, but definitely I added too much flour and the end result was quite dry. Perhaps if I’d let it rest while still quite wet/tacky, it would’ve sorted itself out?

Emily
Emily
1 year ago

Hello! So glad I found this recipe! I took a trip to Taiwan and LOVED the food. Especially the scallion pancakes. I can’t wait to try this out!

Could you clarify what you mean by “take two spatulas and shove the pancake to release all of its layers. Shove the pancake just enough so that the layers are released, but doesn’t completely shatter into pieces.”

Howard Klein
7 months ago

love your content…love all your recipes…can’t wait to try this one. Thank you!!

Yajushi
Yajushi
7 months ago

Made these pancakes for dinner last night and they’re delicious! Everyone in the family loved them and this is definitely going into our ‘must make again’ list. Thank you 🙂