Editor’s note: Sadie Davis-Suskind, 14, is an eighth grader at Jane Addams Middle School and an aspiring chef. A former “MasterChef Junior” competitor, Davis-Suskind will share a recipe each week that other kids can make as well.
One of my good friends in Seattle, Dina, is Chinese American. Her mom, Daisy, immigrated to America from Beijing. She is an amazing cook, as is her mom, who we call Abu (grandmother).
Their home is always filled with the glorious scent of delicious homemade food. Abu has this magical way with cooking. Her food is always exceptionally tasty. She infuses all of her dishes with love and intense care.
Daisy patiently taught me years ago how to make traditional Chinese food like Abu’s dumplings and noodles. My favorite go-to, however, is a perfect combination of salty, fatty, flaky and crispy: scallion pancakes.
They’re the best snack ever and can be served any time of day. I’m excited to share my version of this dish so that you, too, can have a little bit of Abu’s love in your kitchen!
Baking sheet or pastry board
Heavy 10-inch skillet or sauté pan
Parchment paper or foil
2½ cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling on dough
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 cup boiling water
⅓ cup vegetable oil, shortening or sesame oil
2 cups scallions, sliced thinly
8 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, for frying, plus more for brushing
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili oil
½ teaspoon sugar
Optional for more kick: ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1. Let’s make the dough: Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the sesame oil and slowly pour in boiling water until it forms a dough. Turn out your dough onto a smooth floured surface and knead it until it becomes smooth and elastic. Brush your ball of dough lightly with vegetable oil and put it in the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for about an hour at room temperature.
2. Rolling out your dough: Cut the dough into eight equal parts. Working with one piece at a time, roll out each piece on a floured surface, making it very thin and about 10 inches in diameter. Brush about two teaspoons of vegetable oil, shortening or sesame oil on dough and top with about a quarter cup of scallions. Sprinkle with salt (be generous!). Roll the dough up tightly, making one long snake. Next, starting at one end of your snake, wind it onto itself to create a coil that looks like a cinnamon roll. Put this roll aside and cover with plastic. Repeat this with the remaining dough. Let all the rolls sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
3. Roll the coils into pancakes: Take each coil, smush it down with your hand and then roll each one out with the rolling pin one at a time to create a flat and round pancake. Place this to the side and, as you add each newly made pancake, separate them with parchment paper or lightly greased foil.
4. Cook: Heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil in your heavy skillet/sauté pan on medium. When you see the oil is hot (it kind of glimmers), place your pancake (one at a time!) into the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side (flip with spatula) until it is golden brown.
5. Mix together all the ingredients for the dipping sauce until the sugar is completely dissolved.
6. Cut your cooked pancakes into wedges and dip into sauce.