The History of the Chinese Scallion Pancake

The History of the Chinese Scallion Pancake

Have you ever had a scallion pancake? Scallions, the key ingredient, are also known as green onions.

Have you ever had a scallion pancake? In Mandarin, it’s known as cong you bing. If you come from a Chinese or Taiwanese background, your parents might make these crispy treats from time to time. What are scallions? Scallions are also known as green onions, Essentially, a scallion pancake a type of flatbread that has been folded over several times and grilled or fried in oil and mixed with a generous helping of these green onions. But when did these tasty pancakes first appear?

The Origins

The scallion pancake has been around for so long, that like many other foods, its origins have passed into myth, folklore, and guesswork. It’s hard to tell where it was first created, but many of these tales point to Shanghai in northeastern China; at least, this is the most commonly accepted theory behind its creation. But why is this hypothesis so plausible? Shanghai has a large and diverse population, mainly of people who aren’t Chinese, such as the Indians. The scallion pancake greatly resembles an Indian flatbread known as paratha.

Common Ingredients

Many different recipes are going to have unique ingredients. But even so, to make a batch of scallion pancakes, try using these common elements:

  • Flatbread dough, often rolled up as if they are about to be made into dumplings before be rolled flat again.
  • Minced scallions
  • Plenty of oil

Popular Cooking Methods

Now that you’ve got the ingredients you need, you also have to know how to cook them properly. Start by scattering the scallions into the dough. Next, you need to add the oil. Instead of dropping the batter into the oil, you should use the cooking oil to coat the dough instead. Then, it’s time to fry it. You’ll know it’s ready when it turns golden brown but is still tender.

If you like, you can use sesame oil to fry the pancakes, and then add any leftover scallions into the next batch, or several other dishes too.

How Is It Eaten?

Once your scallion pancakes are ready, you can serve them when they’re still fresh and hot, or let them cool off first. Either way, you can cut them into pizza-shaped wedges and share them with your friends by eating the slices with your hands, dipping them in soy sauce.

Did You Know?

Here’s a fun fact about the scallion pancake: according to legend, Marco Polo loved these pancakes. When he returned home to Italy, he had some chefs make a different type of pancake so he could have some more. But what he got was the ancestor of another dish we all know and love her in modern day America: pizza.

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