Shirley Chung’s Scallion Pancakes With Chili Oil

What could be better than a plain pancake? This scallion delight!

Scallion pancakes on a plate with chili oil dipping sauce.
Chili Oil Dressing:
2 tablespoons Zha cai, minced
1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Chinkiang
2 tablespoons Vegan or traditional oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Soy sauce
2 cups Canola oil
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Smoked paprika
3 tablespoons Sichuan chili flakes
For Scallion Pancakes:
2 cups (240 g) All-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons (15 g) Kosher salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) Boiling hot water
1/2 cup (120 ml) Cold water
5 Scallions (green onions), finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
10 tablespoons (150 ml) Canola oil

For the Chili Oil Dressing:

Whisk the zha cai, garlic, vinegar, oyster sauce, and soy sauce in a heat-safe bowl until combined, and set aside.

Crush peppercorns with a large saute pan.

Heat oil, chili flakes, and peppercorns in a deep 4-quart saucepan over high heat until fragrant and the oil has almost stopped bubbling (around 300ºF on an oil thermometer).

Turn off the heat and stir in cayenne and paprika.

Whisk in ½ cup hot chili oil into the mixture in the heat-safe bowl.

For the Scallion Pancakes:

Combine the flour and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl and pour hot water all over the flour.

Use a fork or chopsticks to stir and mix so all of the water is absorbed into the flour and the flour is damp.

Pour cold water all over the dough and knead the dough with your hands.

When the dough is formed and there aren’t any visible dry flour lumps (be careful not to over-knead it), cover the dough with plastic wrap and rest for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Place the scallions, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and the five spices into a heat-safe bowl.

Heat the canola oil in a small pot and when the oil is hot, pour the hot oil onto the scallions. Allow to cool down before using.

Divide the well-rested dough into 4 equal balls. Roll out 1 ball on a well-oiled flat surface as thin as possible into a large circle, about 12-inches in diameter.

Use a slotted spoon to spread the oil and scallions onto the pancakes, leaving a rim.

Roll the dough tightly into a long rope then pinch both ends lightly and roll up this “log” into a cylinder. Repeat and roll with the other 3 balls.

Alternatively a second method for shaping pancakes, After spreading the scallions, cut the dough into 6 squares, keeping them all attached– so not fully cutting through the dough. Overlap the squares on top of each other to form a single square pocket (this is laminating the dough).

Cover the rolled or folded pancakes with plastic wrap and rest for 15 minutes.

Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Press the stuffed dough flat and roll it out to a thin pancake about ¼-inch thick.

Lay it flat in the skillet and start cooking it without adding oil. Cook on one side for a minute, flip the other side, and cook for a minute more.

Repeat this a couple of more times. When the pancake starts to puff up a little in the middle and both sides are golden

Add ½ tablespoon canola oil and make the outer layer extra crispy, cook for about 15 seconds per side and the scallion pancake is ready to serve.


No need for Chinese take out today! Shirley Chung's recipe for scallion pancakes (or cong you bing or green onion pancake) is a fun snack to make this weekend. With Chinese 5 spice, Sichuan peppercorns, and scallions, it's got all the flavor and chewy texture you know and love.


Zha cai is a type of Chinese pickle. The stem of a mustard plant is pickled, and it comes out crunchy but tender, tangy and full of umami. Find packets of it in Asian grocery stores. Look for "Preserved Vegetable" written on the front"

Chinkiang is also known as black vinegar or Chinese brown rice vinegar, and you may have seen in on your table at a Chinese restaurant or when eating soup dumplings. You can find it in small or Asian grocery stores, typically with a yellow label.

And after making the chili oil, save any leftovers for later!

Prep Time: 1 Hour

Cook Time: 15 minutes