Chinese spring onion pancakes was a hit in my household when I was growing up. My brother and I would devour them with great speed and alacrity. They were perfect pool buddies…next to fish ‘n’ chips with ‘chicken salt’. The requisite rolling and folding of the pancake dough produces a crispy ‘mille feuille’ effect with fragrant spring onions scattered between each layer. You can find said pancakes at most Chinese restaurants that serve yum cha, but they have typically steered away from flat little morsels and more towards something resembling gigantic fried doughnuts.
My daughter is very good at pottering around in the kitchen with me. We while away the weekends concocting, well, edible stuff! But getting her hands ‘dirty’ with dough is met with unbearably loud howls. As such, I have adapted my childhood recipe to an infinitely speedier, ‘tidier’, healthier, yet equally fun recipe.
In many ways, this recipe is a synthesis of Chinese spring onion pancakes and Korean pajeon pancakes. These moorish morsels can be readily eaten as a snack with a dipping sauce, or made into something a bit more substantial with an assortment of finely shredded filings such as vegetables, tofu or meat. They still make perfect pool-buddy snacks. But now that I’m older, I have discovered they make fabulous, super-easy starters to have with friends over a glass of something sparkling! When I have a Momofuku pork bun craving, I wrap these little lovelies around leftover pulled pork belly and finely shredded spring onions. Hits the spot. every.time!
For slow roasted pork belly recipe: http://champagnewiththat.tumblr.com/tagged/-pork
1 cup white or wholemeal* spelt flour**
1/3 cup brown rice flour**
1, 2/3 cups very cold, icy water (a bit more for a thinner pancake)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3/4 cups finely sliced spring onion rounds - white and light green ones for the batter and keep the dark green ones to sprinkle on pancakes prior to flipping
Canola oil for pan frying - avoid tasty, low smoking point oil like olive oil
*White spelt flour produces a whiter and arguably prettier pancake!
**For a non-gluten free version, substitute spelt flour with all purpose plain flour
Note: the rice flour (brown or white) is what gives the pancakes their crispiness. So go with this one!!!
Note on dipping sauces: a simple go-to-sauce happens by mixing soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar (or lemon juice) to taste. Another popular one in our household is almond, miso and maple sauce.
- Place flours, water and sesame oil in a bowl and whisk until just combined - no great arm work required! Fold in the spring onions. Now add a very generous pinch of salt.
- Shallow fry tablespoons in oil over medium-high heat until crispy and brown for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Prior to flipping, I like to add a small pinch of of the dark green shallot rings for added flavour. Make sure the pan is not overcrowded.
- Drain pancakes on paper towels and sprinkle each with a bit of salt. This makes all the difference! Trust me!
- Repeat this process with each batch.
Makes about 16 pancakes
Serve these hot and crispy! With or without champagne with that!!
The famous ‘green goddess dressing’ (hitherto GGD) is a nice reminder of the need for something super-easy and super-tasty stashed away in the fridge, ready to be retrieved to accompany breakfast, lunch or dinner. This babe is a no-brainer and yet produces extraordinary pleasure. Stick it in the coldest part of the refrigerator and you have a gorgeous green, creamy friend for at least 7 days.
It is perfect slathered on slow roasted lamb, on poached chicken or a fresh piece of fish. I dollop it on my brown rice and leftover veges for breakfast (delish!). My husband is in automatic-slathering-mode when said goddess is around. And when drizzled on crispy green leaves, as it was originally intended, it pumps up a salad and elevates it to another dimension.
According to ‘the’ quickie source of internet knowledge, Wikipedia, we have come to accept that GGD originated in 1923 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It can about when the head chef, Philip Roemer devised this dressing as a tribute for the actor George Arliss and his play of the same green name. It also seems to be a variation of the famous French ‘sauce verge’ (green sauce) which was concocted by a chef of Louis XIII. I double checked all of these aforementioned propositions in my trusty copy of La Gastronomique….ditto!
Now don’t let the weight of history overwhelm. Since the one glorious aspect of GGD is not to overthink. Whack the ingredients in your (stick) blender, whizz and taste. If you’re feelin’ in the ‘green zone’, add some spinach or kale to give it a greener boost. Slightly wilting basil in vege compartment? Well, whack the bugger in. How bad can that be for you? Another issue to bear in mind is that the GGD ideal has metamorphosed in multitudes of ways. So just find the core and then vary more-or-less accordingly and freely….
15 basil leaves
5 sprigs continental parsley
5-6 sprigs of coriander leaves
1-2 medium spring onions
2 heaped tablespoons soy mayonnaise (or regular!)
3 heaped tablespoons Greek yogurt (omit this is going dairy free and add more soy mayo)
Juice of a lemon
1-2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
3-tablespoons olive oil
good pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper
Put everything in a powerful blender or stick blender and whizz away!
Champagne will be had with that!!!