Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cong You Bing (Scallion Pancakes) - Trying to NOT be the Mickey Rooney of Asian Cuisine

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Here's another blast from my past... I am slowly adding some of my favorite posts from my old, old, old blog here.  I have always loved these Asian onion pancakes... Even more so once I found out how easy they are to make...

Enjoy this winning recipe from  my past!

10 extra points to the first person that can explain the "Mickey Rooney" joke in the headline... 25 extra points if you can do it without google.

but I digress...

Well, the great Foodbuzz challenge is off and running.  Yesterday I did a second post late in the day in an attempt to bribe you, the judges of the battle.  50% of our "score" comes from you all (other half from a panel of judges).  With over 1800 original entrants, and only 400 bloggers moving on to the next challenge, your votes are important.

So, read over yesterday's post with this beautiful (and tasty) simple raspberry dipping sauce for your brownies.  Follow the links, read over my first entry to the contest and if you like what you read, take a moment and vote for me.  BTW, no need to pick favorites, the Foodbuzz folks are allowing multiple voting.  So, if you like me and a few others (I voted for over a dozen so far), vote till your fingers bleed!

And, BTW... If you are entered in the contest, drop me a link in my comment section.  I plan to be pretty generous with my votes to see that a bunch of my regular visitors move on.

The optimist in me is already considering the second challenge.  That is to step out of our comfort zone and make a dish that is considered a "classic" in a foreign cuisine.  I am considering Indian (just cause I want to buy one of those really cool spice boxes).  I am also considering Japanese Sushi (again, wonderful new cooking tools to buy).  But right now, I am leaning towards Thai food.  No new toys to buy, but I have a fondness for an old Thai restaurant back in my days.

So, unless I see something new I like more in the next few days (and I get an opportunity to move on), it will be Asian influenced at the least.

Thought I would just get my feet wet with something simple first.  Simple but very popular.  Dim Sum restaurants will almost always have these.  Even though they are Chinese in origin, my favorite NYC Thai place had them on their menu.

They have a history as being the item Marco Polo brought back from China, which evolved into the pizza (a fake history, as pizza was around Italy before Marco was born, but don't let the facts stand in the way of a good story).

I got the recipe from a new found blog buddy... Sippitysup, home of serious fun food (and he's running as well, vote for him (after voting for me)).  The look and way he made the dish sound was exactly what I remembered from my back in the day dining experiences.  So, no changes.  I made the sauce and the pancakes exactly as he advised.  Click HERE to see his original post.

And this time, the secret is in the sauce...

Here's what I did...

2 cups Flour
pinch Salt
1 TBS Vegetable Oil, plus more for frying
Sesame Oil to brush coat
4 Scallions, thinly sliced, green parts only

For the sauce:
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
2 diced dry Red Chilies
1 tsp Sugar

The only "trick" to these is to get the sliced green onions inside the pancake (and I have step by step photos at the bottom of this post to show how easy the "tricky" part is).  Actually, BTW, these are more of a fried flatbread than a pancake.  there is no batter, but a dough.  No yeast, so no rise like a "normal" bread.  But the trick is easy...

  • Mix the flour, hot water, 1 TBS oil.  Knead dough until soft and smooth, 10 minutes or until satiny smooth.  Add water or flour, small amounts at a time, as needed to get the right consistency.
  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Roll dough into a log on a lightly floured surface
  • I cut mine into 8 even pieces.  SippySup made 16 smaller pancakes.
  • Roll each piece out into a circle, keeping unused dough covered as you work.
  • Brush each with Sesame Oil, sprinkle with @1 teaspoon of the scallions.  
  • Roll each piece into a tight cylinder, pinch ends to flatten, wrap each cylinder around itself to form a spiral, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes.
  • Place spirals on a lightly floured surface, flatten gently, roll out to thin circles.  Let stand for 20 minutes.
  •  Meanwhile, for the dipping sauce, whisk together all ingredients.  the longer you allow this to sit, the hotter the sauce will be (in a VERY good way).
  • Heat a bit of the vegetable oil in a skillet over a medium high heat.  Cook the pancakes, flipping only once, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  • Season with salt, cut into wedges and serve with the dipping sauce!

Whoop de DOO!!!

Just like I remember.  This really is much too simple of a recipe to enter in the contest.  No real dramatic presentation, but it is exactly what I remember from my dining out days (costing less than what I used to leave as a tip).

A great way to get my feet wet, thinking about Asian cuisine.  Don't forget to vote for me so all this pondering doesn't make me look foolish (but if I don't make the cut, I can drown my sorrows in this amazing spicy dipping sauce)

Here are a few photos that will make the "tricky" part of this recipe easy to understand (and it's not really that tricky)...


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