I learned how to make scallion pancakes because I always crave some anytime my partner and I make faux-Pho for dinner. (I am not about to call our noodle bowls actual Pho because neither of us is Vietnamese, nor have we learned from any Vietnamese cooks. But I’ll be damned if I don’t love good wordplay.)
I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite websites (TheKitchn), and I have used it to make many a flatbread, including scallion pancakes. This requires a rolling pin, a bench knife* if you have one, a frying pan, a bowl, a fork and your own two hands.
*The bench knife is one of my favorite kitchen tools. Use it for cutting up food, dividing dough, scraping off counters—it’s always there for you. Also referred to as a pastry scraper, you can find one on Amazon for $5. Don’t let the fancy $30 ones lure you in. They do the same thing.
—2 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting the counter top
—1 cup warm water
Combine the flour and water with a fork until it forms a rough dough. Some flour at the bottom of the bowl is fine. Dump out onto the counter and knead for a couple minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
Coat the bowl with a small amount of oil, and place the ball of dough back in the bowl. Flip the dough a couple times so the surface is covered with the oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes. While this isn’t a yeast bread and isn’t going need hours to develop gluten and rise like a typical loaf of bread, it still needs just a little bit of developed gluten.
While the dough sits, chop approximately four scallions and set up a small bowl of salt. I highly recommend getting a squeeze bottle for oil.
After the 30 minutes, dust your counter top with flour. Keep more on hand and dust as necessary between making the pancakes.
Using the bench knife or similar tool, divide the dough in half. Divide each half into halves again, and divide the quarters into thirds, giving you twelve pieces. (What is math? I went into literature and writing.) While this is a good time to practice dividing food into equal portions, because these are not baked it is not necessary that they be exactly identical.
Roll out each piece thinly in a rectangular shape, the longer side running perpendicular to the counter. Pour a small amount of oil, sprinkle some salt, add a large pinch of scallions onto the dough.
If you have a pastry brush, use it to spread the oil on the dough. If not, fingers or a paper towel work just as well. Just make sure to use a different hand for the salt.
Roll the dough down toward you, and press it out like a Play-Doh snake.
Twist and fold the dough in half once, and form a rough knot by tucking the ends of the dough into opposite centers.
Roll the knot out flat to a circle approximately a quarter inch thick.
Fry in a pan with a little bit of oil until golden brown on each side, approximately two minutes.
Fun fact: If you’re like me and love to put scallions in everything, save yourself a couple of bucks and hold on to the scallion ends. If your scallions have roots, you can keep re-growing them practically forever. Just place the stems in a bit of water and let them sit in the sun.
Fan fact two: If you’re looking to experiment, you could add any number of things to the dough instead of scallions. I’ve added charred garlic leeks, which are equally delicious. Try out some fresh herbs or sautéed onions.