Just like I remade my gluten free won ton wrappers in the image of the Flour Tortillas in Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, I made simply the best gluten free scallion pancakes ever. And did I mention that they’re super easy to work with, too? Oh, well, they are. Indeed, they are! Once again, it’s time for some Chinese Take In.
Light and flaky, crispy and chewy all at the very same time, scallion pancakes are something I bet you miss from your free-wheeling, gluten-eating days. Well, they’re back, baby, and better than ever! I shape them a bit differently, though, than the traditional way. I find they’re much easier to work with this way, but still just as flaky. Here goes:
The traditional way of making scallion pancakes is to roll out the pancake dough into a round, brush it with oil, roll it into a cylinder like a jelly roll, spiral the cylinder into a coil before rolling it out again (and then do it again, but sprinkle scallions after brushing with oil). I tried it that way, and I found that the dough was much more prone to separating from itself after you roll out the coiled dough. Instead, since the purpose of all of the rolling, brushing, coiling and rolling is to create flaky layers of dough separated by a thin layer of oil, I decided to treat the dough like puff pastry and do the “turns.” That means just folding the dough like a business letter, and then again into a packet, and rolling out the dough. I find that it stays together much better, and is much less frustrating in general.
The Expandex in the dough makes it incredibly easy to handle. Just make sure you follow the directions carefully, and don’t sprinkle the dough with extra flour until right before you roll out the packet of dough for the final time. That way, it stays together really well. If the dough becomes difficult to handle at all, just chill it in the refrigerator for a few minutes and you’ll be good to go. Here’s how it’s done (including all sorts of make-ahead tips):
5 tablespoons (70 g) toasted sesame oil, plus more for frying
3/4 to 1 cup (6 to 8 fluid ounces) warm water (about 85°F)
5 to 6 scallions, chopped fine
*For information on where to find Expandex, please see the Resources page. For information on how to replace Expandex with Ultratex 3, readily available in most countries outside the United States, in the gluten free bread recipes in GFOAS Bakes Bread, scroll to #6 in Resources. I have not yet tested Ultratex 3 in this recipe, but I would recommend trying a mix of 268 grams all purpose gluten free flour + 12 grams Ultratex 3 in place of the blend above. Ultratex 3 is at least 3 times as strong as Expandex.
DIPPING SAUCE 3 tablespoons gluten free tamari or soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
1 tablespoon honey
1 scallion, chopped fine
Place the flour, xanthan gum, Expandex and salt in a medium-size bowl, and whisk to combine well with a separate handheld whisk. Transfer the dry ingredients to the bowl of a standard food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add 1 tablespoon of the toasted sesame oil, cover the food processor and pulse twice to begin to combine. With the food processor on, drizzle in 3/4 cup of the warm water. The dough should come together. If there are any crumbly bits, drizzle in more water very slowly, continuing to process the dough until it comes together completely. Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (about 2 minutes). Wrap the dough tightly in a large sheet of plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.
Shaping the dough. When you are ready to use the dough, divide it into 5 pieces of equal size (each about 3 1/2 ounces). Working with one piece of dough at a time (and covering the remaining pieces with a damp towel to keep them from drying out), and without using any additional flour yet, roll the dough into a round about 8-inches in diameter. First “turn.” Using a pastry brush and the remaining 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, brush the entire surface of the dough with a thin layer of oil. Fold the rolled-out dough like you would puff pastry, like a business letter (by thirds, into a rectangle–see photo), and then one short end over another into a packet (see photo). Press the packet of dough down firmly with your hands, and then reroll the dough into a round about 8-inches in diameter. Second (and final) “turn.” Once again using a pastry brush and the sesame oil, brush the entire surface of the dough with a thin layer of oil, and scatter about 2 tablespoons of chopped scallions evenly over the surface, and repeat the folding process into a packet, just as before. Once more, press the packet down firmly with your hands. Now, sprinkle the dough liberally with flour, and roll the dough one final time into an 8-inch round, sprinkling with flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Trim the rough edges for a smooth circle (I used an 8-inch cake cutter, but you can use a pizza or pastry wheel), and set the dough aside. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Frying the pancakes. Heat about 1/4-inch of toasted sesame oil in a 12-inch, heavy-bottom skillet until shimmering. Place the pancakes, one a time, in the oil and fry on each side until lightly golden brown (3 to 4 minutes total). Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Stack the pancakes and slice them in a stack into 4 wedges each.
Make the dipping sauce and serve. In a small bowl, place the tamari or gluten free soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger and honey and mix to combine well. Add the chopped scallions, and serve with the hot scallion pancake wedges.
Make-ahead options. The unshaped scallion pancake dough can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for at least 3 days before shaping. The shaped, but unfried, pancakes can be stacked, wrapped well and stored in the freezer until ready to use. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before frying. For best results, serve immediately after frying. For second-best results, heat the cooled, already-fried pancakes in a dry cast-iron skillet before serving.