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Pan-Fried Scallion Breads

From Barbara Tropp, The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking

Serves: 1 large or 2 medium breads


  • Cold water dough:
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp. double-acting baking powder
    • 1/3 c. cold water
  • Hot water dough:
    • 1 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
    • 1/3 c. boiling water
  • additional flour, for kneading and rolling out the dough
  • 1/4 tsp. sesame oil
  • about 1/2 c. fresh corn or peanut oil, for pan-frying
  • Seasonings:
    • 1.5 tsp. sesame oil
    • 1.5 tsp. kosher salt
    • 2-3 medium whole scallions, cut into thin green and white rings
  • Garlic-Soy Dip:
    • 1.5 tbs. soy sauce
    • 1 scant tbs. white vinegar
    • 1/4 tsp. sesame oil
    • pinch sugar
    • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh garlic


  1. In food processor: Put flour and baking powder in work bowl with steel knife. When running, add cold water through the feed tube in thin steady stream, just until dough begins to mass lumpily around the blade. Give 2-3 seconds to incorporate the last of the water. You may need a bit more or less depending on the flour. Remove the dough.
  2. Return blade to work bowl. Add flour and salt, and repeat process using boiling water. Once dough coheres into a bowl, stop and return cold water dough. Process two doughs together for 15 seconds. Remove dough to a lightly floured board, and knead gently for 1-2 minutes, until smooth and earlobe-soft, and elastic enough so it springs gently back when pressed lightly with a finger.
  3. Put sesame oil in a small bowl, add the dough, then turn the dough so that both it and the inside of the bowl are coated with a thin film of oil. Cover the bowl with a dry towel, and put the dough aside to rest for 30 minutes to 2 hours at room temperature.
  4. Turn the soft, rested dough onto a lightly foured board, knead gently until smooth, dusting board lightly if the dough is sticking. Divide the dough evenly into 2 pieces with a sharp knife and form each piece into a smooth ball. Put one ball aside, covered with a dry towel, while you shape the other.
  5. Flour the board lightly, then roll out the dough into a circle a scale 1/8 inch thick. Spread sesame oil, sprinkle salt and scallions evenly over the oil. Roll the dough up like a carpet, neither too tight nor too loose, and pinch the top seam shut. Place cylinder seam side down, hold one end as center and wrap the rest of the cylinder around this center. Press gently to flatten a bit, then roll out into circle 7-8 inches in diameter.
  6. Shape the second dough the same way.
  7. Mix garlic soy sauce ingredients together. Let stand 5-10 minutes.
  8. Heat a heavy skillet until hot enough to evaporate a beat of water on contact. Add oil to coat the bottom evenly to 18 inch, swirl to coat, then reduce heat to medium. When oil is hot enough to foam a pinch of dry flour, add scallion bread and cover pan. Cook until brown, 2-5 minutes, occasionally shaking pan and checking frequently. Flip bread over, add more oil if needed, and cook for 3-5 minutes more.
  9. Wipe skillet clean and fry second bread. Cut into pie-shaped wedges. Serve with dipping sauce.


  • I rarely follow the recipe for the dipping sauce. I use soy sauce, black vinegar (milder than white), sesame oil, and some or all of ginger, scallion, and garlic -- often depending on just what is most handy. Some people substitute hot oil for the sesame oil.
  • The dipping sauce is the most common way to serve scallion breads. I've also had they served with hoisin sauce and thin slices of roast pork.

Keywords: Chinese, Bread, Bread.