Scallion Pancakes with Caramelized Onions

Scallion Pancakes are thin, flaky, crispy, chewy pancakes filled with fresh scallions. This recipe adds caramelized onions for an additional layer of sweet-savory flavor. So delicious!

scallion pancakes with dipping sauce

For some helpful tips before you begin, click here.

Makes 6 scallion pancakes.

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE:

  • 45 ml (3 tablespoons) soy sauce
  • 36 g (2 tablespoons) garlic chili paste
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) sesame oil
  • 4 g (1 teaspoon) sugar

FOR THE FILLING:

caramelized onions:

  • 3 large onions (about 900 g)
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
  • A pinch salt, pepper and MSG*

scallions:

  • 8 large scallions (about 160 g)

flour paste:

  • 60 g (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 4.5 g (3/4 teaspoon) salt
  • 45 ml (3 tablespoons) vegetable oil
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) sesame oil

FOR THE DOUGH:

  • 300 g (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 3 g (1/2 teaspoon) salt
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) boiling water
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) cold water

*MSG really enhances savory flavors, but if you do not like to use MSG, it can be omitted.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Make the dipping sauce.

– Stir the dipping sauce ingredients together until combined. Set aside for later.

2. Start making the filling: Caramelize the onions. (see tips)

– Peel and finely chop the onions.
– Pour the 2 tablespoons oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
– Add the onions. Stir occasionally to get even color on the onions.
– Cook for about 40 minutes until the onions are deep brown throughout and have a sticky, jammy texture. (If the onions are getting too dark in spots or are beginning to crisp at the edges, turn down the heat.)
– Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, pepper and MSG. Stir for another 3 to 5 minutes.
– Remove the caramelized onions to a plate and allow to cool completely. (There should be between 3/4 cup and 1 cup of caramelized onions.)

3. Make the dough. (see tips)

– Stir together the 2 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large, wide mixing bowl.
– Make a well in the flour. Pour the boiling water into the well.
– Stir the flour into the boiling water until the hot water is completely mixed in and absorbed.
– Drizzle the cold water over the flour and stir until all the flour has been moistened and a shaggy dough has formed.
– Briefly bring the dough together with your hands until there is no more loose flour.
– Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

– After the dough has rested, knead for about 10 minutes, until nice and smooth.
– Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest again for about 20 minutes.

  • At this point, if you are not making the scallion pancakes right away, shape the dough into a ball, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

4. Shape the dough into 6 dough balls. Let rest.

– Divide the dough into 6 even pieces. (Each piece will be about 78 g.)
– Roll the pieces into smooth dough balls.
– Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

5. Finish making the filling: Chop the scallions; Make the flour paste.

– Meanwhile, slice the scallions lengthwise once or twice, depending on how thick they are. Then chop finely. (There should be about 1 cup after chopping.) Set aside.
– In a small bowl, stir the 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil and the sesame oil together into a smooth, spreadable paste.

6. Fill, roll and coil the scallion pancakes. (see tips)

– On a lightly-floured surface, with a lightly-floured rolling pin, roll out a dough ball into a wide, very thin rectangle about 6 x 9-inches.
– Lift and turn the dough occasionally while rolling it out to ensure it is not sticking to the counter. Dust lightly with flour as needed.
– Spread 1 tablespoon of the flour/oil paste over the rectangle, leaving 3/4-inch bare at the bottom and sides of the rectangle.
– Spread about 2 tablespoons of caramelized onion over the paste.
– Then sprinkle about 2 tablespoons chopped scallions.
– Roll the dough jellyroll-style, starting from the top, pressing out air as you go, into a skinny, slightly flat log.
– Then coil the skinny log snugly. Seal and tuck the end under.
– Keep under plastic wrap while rolling and filling the remaining dough balls.

7. Flatten and roll the coiled dough into a pancake. (See tips)

– On a floured surface, partially flatten a piece of coiled dough by just gently pressing it with a rolling pin.
– Then gently roll the flattened dough into a thin pancake about 7-inches wide.

  • TIP: Roll inward toward the center to prevent onions from bursting out the sides.

– Lift and turn the dough occasionally while rolling it out to ensure it is not sticking to the counter. (Pieces of onion may break through. That’s OK. Just press them firmly back into the pancake and then dust lightly with flour.)
– Stack the pancakes between sheets of parchment paper.

  • At this point, the stack of pancakes can be wrapped securely in plastic wrap, placed in freezer bags and frozen for up to a month.

8. Pan fry the scallion pancakes until crispy. (See tips)

– Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a non-stick skillet.
– Heat over medium heat until the oil is shimmering, but not smoking.
– Place a pancake in the pan and give it a shake to make sure it’s not sticking.
– Cover the pan and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then carefully flip the pancake, cover and cook for another minute.
– Uncover the pan and continue to cook the pancake until crispy on both sides, pressing with the spatula as needed for even browning.
– Place the scallion pancakes briefly on paper towels to drain any oil and then on racks while cooking the remaining pancakes.

Serve:

– Cut the scallion pancakes into wedges and serve with the dipping sauce.

Store and reheat:

– Wrap well in plastic wrap or place in an air-tight container. Refrigerate or freeze.
– Reheat in a hot skillet or on a baking sheet in a 400°F (204°C) oven for a couple of minutes or until crispy.

scallion pancakes on a plate
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scallion pancakes

ABOUT THIS RECIPE

These scallion pancakes are special. They’re thin, crispy, chewy and so flavorful – not only packed with fresh scallions, but also filled with sweet-savory, caramelized onions. They’re delicious with the dipping sauce, but honestly, they don’t need it.

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Dim sum often involves a little bit of work and usually some level of patience. A little time and care. Whether you are making Tasty, Crispy, Chewy Potstickers, crunchy, meaty Lumpiang Shanghai, fluffy Siopao Bola Bola or these Scallion Pancakes with Caramelized Onions, the effort is always worth it in the end.

My advice – make double (or triple) batches and freeze some or all of it for later. Then treat yourself and your family whenever you wish.

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TIPS:

Here are 6 helpful TIPS:

*Note: The photos below reflect a DOUBLE batch. (I always make some for the freezer.)

1) Don’t just brown your onions. Caramelize them.

  • It is important the onions are fully caramelized and not just browned. This ensures the onions have given up as much water as possible. The less water, the more crispy your scallion pancakes will be.

2) Knead your dough until smooth and give it plenty of rest.

  • Well-kneaded, well-rested dough will be easier to work with and will be less likely to tear when stuffing and rolling out.

3) Keep the onions and scallion pieces small.

  • The smaller the pieces, the less likely they will break though your dough when rolling out your pancakes.

4) Filling, rolling and coiling the scallion pancakes:

  • Press out any air when rolling up the scallion pancake. Then coil snugly. This will help minimize any tearing.

5) Flattening and rolling out the filled scallion pancakes:

  • Be gentle, take your time and don’t worry if some filling breaks through.
  • Lift and turn the scallion pancake when rolling to make sure it’s not sticking to the counter. Dust with flour as needed. If it sticks to the counter, just release it with a pastry scraper.

Onion break-throughs:

It’s ok if onions break through the dough. These pancakes are stuffed, and if you want a thin pancake, a little breakage is inevitable. Just press them back in and dust with flour.

  • One way to avoid onions bursting out from the sides is to roll INWARD toward the center. Roll gently pushing the filling toward the middle, then press and flatten with the rolling pin.
scallion pancake rolled inward
Rolled INWARD. The edges are intact.
scallion pancake rolled regularly
Rolled regularly. Onions have burst out the sides.

6) Pan-frying the scallion pancakes:

  • Use a non-stick pan, if you have one. Otherwise, use a little extra oil to prevent sticking.
  • Be sure to cook each side covered with the lid for 30 seconds to a minute to ensure the pancake is cooked all the way through.
  • Crisp up the scallion pancake, using a spatula to press on the pancake for even browning.
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scallion pancakes with dipping sauce

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