Friday, April 06, 2007

Tsang Yo Bing

Goodness, it's been ages. Well, I've come to realize that, while I envisioned this blog to be a place to post recipes that are useful for westerners cooking in Taiwan, it is actually a place for me to post recipes that I might want to refer to when I am away from home. As I am getting ready for a summer back in Washington, I find myself thinking of recipes that I might want access to while I'm gone. Today, I'm starting with Tsang Yo Bing, or scallion pancakes, a local street-vendor specialty. Tim made them last week and they were wonderful – I was especially happy to know that they were MSG-free. The pancakes can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated, uncooked, making them great for parties: simply fry and serve, whole or cut into wedges, warm or at room temperature. Really, really good with a Coke.

Tsang Yo Bing (Scallion Pancakes)
From The Food of China, by Deh-Ta Hsiung and Nina Simonds
(makes 24 pancakes)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add
1 tablespoon oil
3/4 cup boiling water

and, using a wooden spoon, mix to a rough dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes, or until smooth and elastic. If the dough is sticky, knead in more flour. Cover with a cloth and let rest for 20 minutes.

Have ready
3 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
2 scallions, greet part only, finely chopped

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a long cylinder and cut into 24 pieces. Taking one piece at a time, place the dough, cut side down, on the work surface. Using a small rolling pin, roll out to a four-inch circle. Brush generously with sesame oil and sprinkle with scallions. Roll up the dough and pinch the ends to seal in the oil and onions. Lightly flatten the roll, the roll it up again from one end, like a snail. Pinch the end to seal it. Repeat with the remaining dough, oil, and scallions. Let the snails rest for 20 minutes.

Place each roll flat on the work surface and press down with the palm of your hand. Roll out to a four-inch circle and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Stack the pancakes between lightly floured sheets of waxed paper and allow to rest for 20 minutes (or refrigerate up to 12 hours).

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and brush with oil, and add two or three pancakes at a time. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, turning once, until pancakes are light golden brown and crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with
ground white pepper
and serve at once, although once cooled they will disappear just as quickly.

You can reheat the pancakes, wrapped in foil, in a 350ยบ oven for 15 minutes.

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