Chinese scallion pancake, also known as green onion pancake or cong you bing, is a traditional Chinese street food item and a popular breakfast food. I love making these pancakes with my mom as they require only a few ingredients to make and are fun to assemble!
There are several types of scallion pancakes in China. In northern provinces, green onion pancakes (this version) are thinner, chewy, and made with less oil. In Southern China (e.g. Shanghai), they are thicker and fried with a larger amount of oil – this creates a crispy outer shell and softer texture inside the pancake.
If you are not familiar working with dough, this unleavened savoury flatbread is perfect for you. The recipe uses simple ingredients and does not require a stand mixer or fancy cooking tools, making it easy to prepare at home. Enjoy them plain, or with a soy-ginger dipping sauce.
Green Onion Pancakes
|Flour||2 ½ cups + more for kneading the dough|
|Warm water (~105 degrees F)||¾ cup|
|Kosher salt||1 tsp (or more if desired)|
|Vegetable oil||~3-4 Tbsp for cooking + more for spreading onto the dough|
|Green onions / Scallions||4 stalks finely chopped (or more if desired)
I recommend using the green part of the green onion / scallion as it is softer and won’t pierce through the dough
- Place the flour into a large bowl. Make a small hole in the center of the flour and add the water.
- Using a rubber spatula, wooden spoon, a pair of chopsticks, or your fingers, stir the water and flour together until a ball of dough starts to form. Use your hands to start kneading the dough and incorporate any remaining flour. The dough should feel slightly tacky but not damp. It should not stick to your fingers.
- Dust your work surface slightly with flour. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for about 2 minutes. It should feel smooth. Try not to use too much flour when kneading the dough.
- Cover the dough with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let it rest on the counter for 20 minutes.
Tip: Don’t worry if the dough’s consistency isn’t as described. At times, factors such as the temperature or humidity can affect how the dough forms together. If the dough is too dry, add 1 tsp of warm water (at a time) and knead until you reach the desired consistency. Likewise, if the dough is too wet, add 1 tsp of flour (at a time) and knead.
- Divide the dough into quarters. When you are not working with the dough, cover with a damp towel to prevent it from drying.
- Take a piece of dough and place it on your work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about 8 1/2 inches in diameter (try to roll it into a rectangular shape)
- Brush a thin coating of oil onto the dough and sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon salt onto the oiled surface.
- Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of green onions onto the dough, leaving about 1 cm of room between the green onions and the edge of the dough.
- Starting from the bottom edge of the dough, roll the dough tightly into a tube, then take one end and start to create a tightly wound coil. As you near the end of the tube, tuck it under the coil.
- Roll the coil flat until it’s about 6 1/2 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Repeat with remaining sections of dough.
Tip: If you want to make smaller pancakes, simply divide the dough into smaller portions and follow the remaining steps. You will end up sprinkling a smaller amount of salt and green onions per pancake (or if you like green onions, feel free to add the same amount!). The diameter can also be smaller as long as you keep the thickness about the same (1/8 inches).
- Preheat a large skillet over medium-low heat for about 1 minute. Add about 1 Tbsp of oil and let it heat up for a few seconds.
- Add a pancake seam-side-down and pan fry for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until golden. Flip and repeat. Be careful not to brown the pancake too quickly or else it will not be cooked on the inside.
- Remove the pancake and set aside on a plate. Re-coat the pan with a bit of oil before cooking each of the remaining pancakes.
- Cut the pancakes into wedges and serve immediately.
Tip: After the pancakes are cooled down, you can place them into an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to one week. When re-heating, use a frying pan (you won’t need to add any oil – keep the heat at medium-low) or a toaster oven to keep the pancake crispy.
Want more traditional and easy-to-make recipes? Leave a comment below and let us know!
May Guan – Client Care Manager/Cardio Trainer
May developed her passion for fitness from participating in multiple sports at a young age – eventually finding her love for both playing and coaching volleyball. She is also an avid hiker and distance runner, and is always in search of a new challenge. May believes in fostering a fun, inclusive, and supportive environment where people can achieve their health-related goals.
This post has been developed by studio contributors which include Co-Op students, kinesiologists, therapists and our expert colleagues