葱油餅 (with leek)

The leek pancakes (more commonly, scallion pancakes, 葱油餅, or cong you bing) are underway. They are at once simple and, in the way of so many kitchen projects with kids, insanely time consuming.

You start with 3 cups of flour then add 1/2 cup of water at a time, until you get a sticky bread-dough consistency, around 1.5-2 cups. Then you add a little more flour. Then a little more water. Then some more flour, then some more, then some more, and hopefully by this point you have allowed your child to own this process completely and you just do what she says whether it makes sense or not.

Then you knead the dough. Then you sing, “I need you to knead me” as if you are the dough. Then you figure out how to sing “I need you to knead me” in Chinese, but it doesn’t sound as good. The dough needs lots of kneading.

The next part is controversial. You break off a small ball. You may think the ball is small enough, but no. It is not. Smaller, mom, smaller. Roll it to standard pancake size, then rub each side with oil. You might start with as much as a teaspoon of oil, but this will quickly get messy, and you’ll see that you’re very nearly out of oil and it’s after 6pm on Memorial Day so you can’t exactly run out for more. That’s just as well, because 1/4 teaspoon really covers the whole thing nicely — see? It’s fine. Then sprinkle on salt. Apparently the Sen Lin Hu way is to use enough salt to drive up stocks for the Morton Salt Company. Try to reason with the pancake maker — that’s way too salty. It’s going to be inedible. Find a happy medium. Rub the salt onto the oil.

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Look at those long fingers!

Set the pancake down and add thinly sliced leeks. Assuming you have hours to devote to this project and nothing else to do on the holiday weekend, it is best to place the leek bits very very carefully, one at a time, in a visually pleasing arrangement, pressing them in slightly. Take pleasure in your arrangement, as soon no one will know it existed. Roll up your pancake like a cigar, then squash into a ball, the roll out with a rolling pin again to a flat pancake.

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Is she really class of 2017? That shirt is 5 years old at least.

Set on a tray, and repeat. As long as this process takes, it’s still likely that the grillmaster will have gotten involved in a conversation with his band mate about some new song they are working on, and now the grill still isn’t ready after all this time. Cover the pancakes in a damp lint-free dishcloth until it seems plausible that you might eat. Use the time to consider what mixed drinks you could make now that you’re out of beer. Finally, fry them in whatever little bit of oil remains.

Serve with anything you like and a salad of local greens with Annie’s goddess dressing.

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Totally gratuitous photo of cute sister and birthday cheesecake, since we don’t have photos of her feast from last night.

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1 Comment

Filed under Cooking and Eating, Remedial Domesticity

One response to “葱油餅 (with leek)

  1. Cellocoffee

    I homeschol my 7 & 2 yr old girls in TX so they will carry my side of Chinese culture and heritage. My girls love home made 蔥油餅 very much.
    If you ever visit Taiwan(where I’m from), you must try it there!! Thanks for sharing you blog. I stopped mine(in Mandarin) ’cause I got no spare time any more.

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