Chinese Pancakes with Three-Cornered Leek
Pancakes like these are served all over China as street food and are a favourite late-night snack with a small bowl of warmed, sweetened soya milk. They’re traditionally made with Chinese chives, but three-cornered leeks or few-flowered garlic are very similar in flavour. When sliced, three-cornered leeks have a Y-shaped cross-section at the thicker end of the leaf. This can make the slices too bulky to roll inside the dough, so chop finely.
Serve the pancakes hot and crisp from the pan with something to dip them in: sweet chilli sauce or sriracha, or a dipping sauce made with soy sauce, shredded ginger and more chopped three-cornered leek.
- Small bunch of three-cornered leek or few-flowered garlic, enough to yield 4 tablespoons when finely chopped
- 250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 4 tablespoons vegetable, sunflower or groundnut oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- Rinse the three-cornered leeks and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Chop the leaves finely and set aside.
- Put the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and add 1½ tablespoons of vegetable oil. Pour in 125ml boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon to form a dough. When the dough is cool enough to handle, turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth for about 5 minutes, working in a little more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cover the dough with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
- After the dough has rested, divide it into 4 equal portions. Take one of the portions and roll it into a rough rectangle, about 15cm by 20cm.
- With the wide edge of the dough towards you, dust off any excess flour and brush the top surface with sesame oil. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped three-cornered leeks, distributing as evenly as possible.
- Starting from the nearest edge, roll the dough into a tight sausage shape. Pinch either end of the sausage to seal, then roll the sausage into a snail shape with the seam on the inside of the coil. Tuck the outer end of the coil into the centre of the snail, stretching it and pushing it into place firmly. Set aside and follow the same procedure with the remaining three portions of dough. Cover the coils with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
- Flour your work surface. Take one coil and flatten it slightly with your hand, then roll it out into an 8cm round. Roll the other coils in the same way.
- Set a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Fry the pancakes one at a time for 2 to 3 minutes each side, until crisp and golden, adding a little more oil as necessary. Lay the fried pancakes briefly on kitchen paper to asborb any excess oil then serve hot, cut into three-cornered wedges.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK