Scallion Slappers (a.k.a. pancakes)

The name for this one came from the sound these guys make as you flip them in the pan. Hopefully you’re all able to do the jiggle-jiggle-jiggle-FLIP move made so famous by Julia Child, but if not, no worries — you can always use a spatula. This recipe was nabbed from Flatbreads and Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, another one of my mom’s fabulous cookbooks. Her pantry not only overflows with ingredients from all over the globe, but with cookbooks as well, each one well-thumbed and smeared with whatever the pages call for.

Granted this recipe is rather Asian in theme, but as I’m “covering” this recipe, I think I can justify having Land of Talk‘s take on Wintersleep‘s Weighty Ghost keeping me company in the kitchen. Personal tid-bit: I LOVE great covers of already great songs. If you’re a cover-addict like me, you might want to check out Bon Jovi‘s remake of Cindy Lauper‘s Time After Time, Holly MacNarland‘s cover of In The Air Tonight (Phil Collins) and last but certainly not least, Susanna And The Magical Orchestra‘s haunting rendition of Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division). There are so many others that deserve mention, but this is primarily a food blog, so let’s get fooding!  However, please please please feel free to send in your favourites.

These are the doughier version. You can do it this way or, better yet (IMHO), roll them out as thinly as you can so they're not as heavy.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp cold water

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp peanut oil
  • 1 tsp Xichuan peppercorns, dry-roasted and finely ground (optional, but don’t use black peppercorns – it’s a totally different flavour)
  • 1 cup scallions (white and green parts) or garlic chives, finely chopped

You’ll need a food processor, a rolling pin and 1 or 2 heavy skillets at least 8 inches in diameter. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in the food processor and pulse to mix. With the motor running, pour the boiling water in a thin stream through the feed tube, then add the cold water and process until the mixture forms a ball. Process for about 1 minute longer, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead briefly (always the best part of any bready recipe), cover in plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, leaving the others snuggly tucked away and covered, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a circle about 8 inches in diameter. Spread 1/2 tsp of the oil on top of the bread, then sprinkle on 1/8 tsp of the Xihuan pepper. Spread 2 tbsp of the chopped scallions or garlic chives evenly over the bread. Then, roll the bread up like a jelly roll, as tightly as possible. Anchoring one end of the resulting tube on your work surface, coil the bread as tightly as possible, and pinch the other end against the coil to make a smooth round. Flatten gently with the palm of your hand. Roll the bread out again gently with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick and 6 inches across. Don’t worry about holes or stray scallion bits; you can patch those as you go along.

Before you begin rolling out and filling a second pancake, place a heavy skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, rub it thoroughly with a lightly oiled cloth or paper towel. Lower the heat to medium-low and place the first pancake in the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes or until the bottom is flecked with light brown spots. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes, or until both sides are evenly flecked. Transfer to a towel (wrap it) to keep it soft and warm.

Meanwhile, continue rolling out and shaping the remaining breads while the first one cooks, then cook each one in the same manner. If you’re feeling lucky, get a second skillet going so you can half your total cooking time. Serve with a dipping sauce or with some other saucey dish like Tasty Thai Stew, Coc-au-lyme Fikken, Baigan Bharta or Dal Makhani (yeah that’s right, I’m mixin’ it up in this hizzle).


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