Potatoes Anna is a beautiful dish for a special occasion. Photo by Keller+Keller Photography
In China, these pancakes are a breakfast food, often found as a grab-and-go item in a food court. In America, they’re more often found among the appetizers at a Chinese restaurant. No reason you can’t serve them for breakfast or for a snack. But don’t think of them as pancakes, think of them as flaky, fried flatbreads.
- 2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons plus 1⁄4 cup lard, divided
- 1 cup lukewarm water (110 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Chinese black vinegar
- 1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh gingerroot
- 1 teaspoon Chinese chili-garlic sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 6 to 8 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
- Pulse the flour and sea salt in a food processor to combine. Add 3 tablespoons lard, and pulse to mix in. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the water until the dough comes together.
- Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead to form a soft, smooth ball. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with a damp towel, and set aside to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- While the dough rests, preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place a wire rack on a sheet pan; set aside.
- Make a dipping sauce for the pancakes by combining the soy sauce, vinegar, gingerroot, chili-garlic sauce, and sugar in a small bowl; set aside at room temperature.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough as thinly as possible to form a large square. Brush with the sesame oil and sprinkle with the scallions. Fold in half, and press gently to flatten. Fold in the sides to meet in the middle, and press gently to flatten. Then fold one side over the other to form a rectangle. Fold the bottom of the rectangle up to the top to form a square with multiple layers.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Gently form each piece into a smooth ball, and then flatten with your hands to form disks.
- Melt the remaining lard in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working with 1 dough disk at a time, press, roll, or stretch the dough into a pancake 4 to 5 inches in diameter, and carefully slip the pancake into the hot fat. Cook until the edges begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Flip with a spatula or tongs, being careful not to splatter the hot fat, and continue to cook until the other side is an even golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet lined with a wire rack, and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining dough disks.
- Cut each pancake into wedges, and serve hot with the dipping sauce.
This article, along with the following recipes, were excerpted with permission from The Fat Kitchen, by Andrea Chesman, published by Storey Publishing.
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