Green Onion/Scallion

Multi-Layered Scallion Pancakes (Thousand-Layer Taiwanese Pancakes)

December  8, 2013
6 Ratings
  • Makes 4 large flatbreads.
Author Notes

Here's a recipe for creating one of the beloved street snacks in Taiwan, thin and soft flatbreads with multi-laminated diced scallions and scallion oil.

NOTE: One of the tricks, I believe, is not to roll the dough to such deadly thinness that you lose the layers. The first roll-out, when you apply the scallion oil, should be slightly thinner than 1/8 inch. And the final roll-out should be a bit thicker than 1/16 inch. Any thinner than that, and you’ll flatten out all the work you’ve done. I’m not gonna lie: You may fail the first time. But it will eventually take you to yummy town.

There’s no reason why the awesomeness of this flatbread can’t be expanded to other herbs besides scallion. Think basil, a little rosemary, thyme, or garlic and parsley. Whatever you have on hand, really, is going to turn these flatbreads into great snacks or a show-stealing addition to a bread basket (don’t you loooove bread baskets!?) —Mandy @ Lady and pups

What You'll Need
  • Dough:
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (140 grams) bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) hot/warm water (150° F)
  • 1/4 cup cold/room-temperature water
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) vegetable oil
  • Scallion oil and fillings
  • 2 cups (105 grams) diced scallions, divided
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper, divided into 1/2 teaspoon each
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • Coarse sea salt, to taste
  • More vegetable oil for frying
  1. TO MAKE THE DOUGH: Mix all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Bring a small pot of water to 150º F (it should be almost too hot to touch but NOT close to a simmer), then with the machine running on low, add 1/2 cup of the hot water into the flour mixture. Mix for 1 minute or so. The mixture will still look like loose flours with large lumps. Then add 1/4 cup of cold water and mix for 1 minute, and then add 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. Turn the machine to medium-high speed and knead the dough for 5 minutes until shiny and elastic. The dough will be very wet and sticking to the side of the bowl in the beginning (if it seems tacky already, add 1 teaspoon of water), but it should slowly pull away cleanly at the end of kneading. When you lift the dough hook, the wet dough should droop down from the hook slowly.
  2. If you must knead with your hands, you can. But keep in mind that this is quite a wet dough and it will stick to your hands while kneading. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for at least 1 hour.
  3. TO MAKE THE SCALLION OIL AND FILLING: Add 1 cup of diced scallions, vegetable oil, salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground white pepper and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer into a bowl. Take 3 tablespoons of the mixture out into another bowl and add 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda, mix until combined and keep both in the fridge. Mix the rest of the 1 cup of diced scallion with 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper, set aside.
  4. TO MAKE THE FLATBREADS: Divide the dough into 4 portions and set on a well-floured surface. Take 1 portion, dust with more flour, and roll it into about a 1/8-inch sheet. Apply a generous layer of scallion oil (mixed with baking soda) and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of diced scallions over the sheet, then fold it in the same direction 3 times (like folding a letter) into a log, then fold the log lengthwise 2 times into a round shape (try to eliminate as much air as possible while you fold). Set aside (to let it rest) and repeat the same process with the other 3 portions.
  5. Now go back to the first dough you worked on (which has had a few minutes to rest) and press it down gently into a thick, flat disk. There will be air pockets in between the layers which will make it hard to roll out, so pierce the dough a few times with a fork and dust with only enough flour to prevent sticking, then roll into a large circle slightly thicker than 1/16 inch. (Be careful not to over-roll it because you’ll risk flattening all the layers.) If the dough springs back stubbornly, rest it for another 2 min. If you want to keep the flatbreads in the freezer, laminate the rolled-out doughs in between two sheets of parchment paper and tuck inside a zip-lock bag. Keep frozen until needed.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Carefully lift the dough up and transfer to the skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, add more oil if needed, and cook until golden brown on both sides (it’s important to add enough oil). The baking soda will create bubbles in between layers during cookings. Right off the skillet while it’s still hot, brush the top with more scallion oil (without baking soda). Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • I_Fortuna
  • Cal Gifford
    Cal Gifford
  • lillianstrange
  • clumsychef
  • Sherman

29 Reviews

Sena March 14, 2022
This recipe came in an email collection from Food52 yesterday, and I happened to be trying to think of what to do with a huge bunch of scallions that I received in a local produce box. I happened to have all of the ingredients other than the bread flour, so I made these pancakes last night. For the bread flour, I simply removed 1 tsp of the all purpose flour and replaced it with 1 tsp of vital wheat gluten, and that worked well.

I know that these didn't come out just right because I didn't get them thin enough. After reading the replies here, I realize that I just need to keep rolling, even if the oil and scallions squeeze out. I'll do that next time. They are still incredibly delicious! The scallion oil to spread on top is perfect for me but a little salty for my husband, so next time I'll halve the salt. Yes, there will be a next time.
sarah P. January 3, 2015
heh heh heh
pjcamp December 31, 2014
My experience:

1. After 5 minutes, the dough is nowhere near pulling away from the bowl. What to do? I soldier on until it does, after over 10 minutes.

2. Now the dough has so much gluten it is almost impossible to roll out. It's like rolling a trampoline.

3. Wait a minnit! You want me to roll something to 1/16 inch that has scallions inside? Is this the Tardis? AND has oil inside that WILL blow out the side and squirt all over your table?

6. Screw it. If you leave them fat, it actually makes a decent knish recipe. Look elsewhere for pancakes.
Mandy @. January 1, 2015
Pjcamp: hm... 1: the dough should be sticky, and only pulls away from the bowl because it's running on high speed. 2. Let it rest for an hour first if it's too hard to roll. 3. Yes, just roll it anyways. Flatten scallions and oil squirting out a bit. no bit deal.
pjcamp January 1, 2015
It actually rested for aboiut two hours since I had to send my wife out for more scallions after she got home from a movie. Who knew a whole bunch only chops into about a cup? If you flatten the scallions, they're going to pierce all your layers.
Mandy @. January 2, 2015
are you sure your hot water was "boiling hot"? Cuz that should have killed most of the gluten. About the rolling, It's ok if it's pierced. doesn't have to try to keep the surface intact. The layers will be there anyways. OH well, so sorry it didn't work out for you. Hope you have better luck next time if you still want to try it again... :)
pjcamp January 2, 2015
Recipe said 150. I measured with a thermapen.
poohahnieluv August 19, 2014
tried making this for the first time today. i usually don't deviate from the recipe the first time, but i was impatient and added chopped ham (deli slices) and grated mozzarella. OMG love love love them!
I_Fortuna February 23, 2014
Most Chinese pancakes that we are accustomed to are made using the tangzhong (water roux) method. Tangshong makes the pancakes soft and pliable. It seems like you almost use it here but don't take the method all the way.
The tangzhong should cook until it boils and thickens and should be whisked the entire time to remove lumps. Let cool and add to other flour mixture and yeast (instead of baking soda). If you are not using yeast, use baking powder instead of baking soda. Baking soda loses its rise quickly but if baking powder is used the dough can sit for sometime before cooking and not lose its punch. This process accounts for the tender crumb that is produced. If the dough is overworked it will become tough. We don't roll out the dough but form ropes that are curled like a flat snail (handling very little) and then fry.
However, I notice that is not what you are specifically going for here and I have never had the scallion pancakes as you have posted here.
Traditional Chinese pancakes as we are used to, are often eaten with savory dishes that have some kind of gravy, veggies and protein. A dipping sauce made with soy or tamari is good too. Plain, they are really a comfort food. I would not serve them with congee as that is just too much starch. Thanks for this interesting recipe, it looks very good although not what we are used to I would like to try it.
Cal G. February 18, 2014
For Mandy and Sarah: it's best not include the ends of the scallions--the deep green part, as it can be bitter in the end. It's best to use the white, finely chopped, and the lighter green part, not so finely chopped. (I've been making the traditional pancakes for decades, taught by my YuanYuan ;) )
sarah P. December 17, 2013
How much of the green part should you include when chopping scallions?
Mandy @. December 17, 2013
Sarah, actually I would prefer more green parts than white parts! So I guess all of it.
lillianstrange December 16, 2013
I like to add chopped up Thai peppers for some heat in mine. Somethimes I will even spinkle toasted sesame, too. Pair with a hot, steaming bowl congee (rice porridge), and you have a comforting winter meal.
Cal G. February 18, 2014
That's fine, but if you want the traditional, try a Mandarin pancake recipe. We usually stick to the traditional.
clumsychef December 16, 2013
This recipe landed in my mailbox just as I was wondering what to do with a large bunch of leftover scallions. I love when that happens! I promptly made them - the dough was a dream to work with and the end result delicious. I'd suggest taking 5 tablespoons of scallion oil out to mix with baking soda instead; I barely had enough and had too much leftover scallion oil at the end. As for dipping sauce - the sauce from this Korean pancake recipe was a great pairing: . Next time I may add some dried shrimp...or Chinese sausage...or bacon? Yum. Thanks for this recipe!
Sherman December 15, 2013
Regarding the ubiquitous nature of “vegetable oil,” could you be more specific as to your preferences?
Cal G. December 15, 2013
Make that 2 t. of tstd sesame oil; I forgot that I make 3x as much!
Cal G. December 15, 2013
This is a neat way of making Scallion cakes. Even though this recipe doesn't use rendered duck fat or lard, I think it's important to include a couple of T of toasted sesame oil in the oil mix. It really adds a great traditional flavor and smell to the bread. Thanks for creating this new technique!
Dieselle December 15, 2013
I have a question regarding step "2"... which begins about instructions for kneading by hand. My question is, regardless of whether you use a dough hook or knead by hand, do you " Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for at least 1 hour."?
JohnL December 15, 2013
Mandy, Thanks. That's what I thought you meant. It threw me because I'm used to the usual "fold the dough in thirds" as if folding a letter instruction. I asked just in case you literally meant to fold the dough three times. Ok got it!
JohnL December 15, 2013
I'm unclear on the folding. When you first fold (3 times) are you folding (1) in half, (2) in half again, and (3) in half again, creating 8 layers. And in the lengthwise folding twice more would quadruple those layers? I think I've used a Chinese method in which you simply roll up the scallions in the dough jelly roll style into sort of a long "rope". You then coil that rope into a spiral like a Fibonacci spiral. Then you roll that out into the final pancake.
Mandy @. December 15, 2013
John, you fold it 3 folds (creating 3 layers) first, then 3 folds again (9 layer in total). Its probably clearer to reference the photos. But what you are describing will work as well, just that the layer would be in different directions.
stevemr December 15, 2013
It's unclear whether these should be cooked directly from the freezer. You say "keep frozen until needed" and say nothing about thawing out the frozen dough.
Mandy @. December 15, 2013
Stevemr, sorry for the confusion. They can be cooked directly out of the freezer because they are so thin.
smacarol December 15, 2013
What is "bread flour"? Sorry for my ignorance.
Mandy @. December 15, 2013
Smacarol, bread four has higher protein content then all-purpose flour in order to develop more gluten. You can find it in most supermarkets in the flour section.
Regine December 11, 2013
Mandy this is extra clear now. Thanks. Can't wait to make it.
Regine December 11, 2013
A bit confused. Step 4 could be clearer. You wrote "apply a generous layer of scallion oil (with baking soda)." You have a portion with the oil and another one (3 tbsp) with the baking soda. How much of each is placed on the 4 pancakes? 1/4? Also, the 2 tbsp oil for frying are in addition to the 1/2 cup used with the scallions and blended? Or is only 1/2 cup minus the 2 tbsp used for the blended mixture? Thanks.
Mandy @. December 11, 2013
Regine, sorry for the confusion. You take 3 tbsp of blended scallion oil out, and mix it with baking soda. That's the one you "apply a generous layer of scallion oil". 3 tbsp should be enough for all 4 flat breads. The frying oil IS NOT included in the 1/2 cup of oil (sorry, should've said "more oil for frying"). Then at TH END, you brush the blended scallion oil WITHOUT baking soda, onto the cooked flat breads. Please let me know if there's more confusion. sorry about that.