Monday, August 17, 2009

Chinese Scallion Cake

This recipe comes from northern China. Some versions call for lard or sesame oil in place of butter, and I often substitute sweet onions or garlic for the scallions. Drew remembers a version filled with a fatty pork. These buttery cakes are chewy on the outside, soft on the inside, and are more substantial and filling than they appear. Because they are so dense and durable, I often pack them for long runs or hiking. You can also wrap up the raw cakes for freezing, and they'll do very well.

3 1/3 C flour
1 1/4 C boiling water
1/4 C butter
1/2 C diced scallions
5 tsp salt
2 TBL sesame oil (to coat rolling pin)
1/4 C cooking oil
Add boiling water to flour, stir with fork or chopsticks until evenly moist
Knead on floured surface for about five minutes, don't burn your hands!
Cover with a cloth and let set for about 30 minutes
Coat your rolling pin with sesame oil and replenish as needed. Roll dough into cylinder and cut into about 10 equal pieces (each piece will become a cake). Keep the pieces you aren't working on covered, and try to work fairly quickly, as the dough will tend to dry out
Roll a piece into a circle about 1/8th" thick. Evenly distribute about 1/2 tsp salt, 1 TBL butter, and 2 TBL scallions; stopping just short of the edge.
Fold edges up and pinch together so it looks like a dumpling.
Carefully roll out again into a disk. Don't worry if some of the scallions break through the dough.
Fry in plenty of oil over medioum heat until golden-brown on each side. As one fries, prepare the next one, and be sure to keep the pan well-oiled.
Cut into equal pieces and serve.