From My Wok to Yours - Taking the Mystery Out of Everyday Dining and Meals!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy National (Chinese?) Pancake Day!!

Apparently I missed National Pancake Day. This epicurial delight did wonders for the national chains that feature pancakes as part of their every day menu or have the word Pancake somewhere in the name of their restaurant. How anyone can claim to be a multinational abode of the famous flapjacks is beyond me, when their menus have so much more than that.

A “pancake” has little prominence in the world of Asian Cuisine. It can be used to describe the wrapper for Mu Shu Pork, but in reality, it is a simple egg-noodle based wrapper. (Many times these pancakes can be found filled, or wrapped around a sweet red bean paste.)

The real “Chinese Pancake?” It is neither the type of Chinese pancake used for cradling pieces of Beijing Ducks nor is it a fluffy dessert that made from milk and baking soda. Instead, it is a member of the dim sum family found in some Cantonese restaurants. It is the kind of snack that I also like to have as a light meal at home because ultimately it is a kind of starchy staple that goes well with a protein rich diet.

Cooks who love this Chinese pancake should have their own preferred recipe, I believe.

The pancakes I make are thin, soft but slightly crispy on both sides when hot. They are however less stiff than those served with Beijing Ducks and, are usually eaten alone without any fillings, toppings or sauces. Shrimp is one of my most used ingredients in making this pancake, actually I would also be satisfied if there is only spring onion. Variations for making this pancake could be endless, ranging from adding chopped chives, and/or ham to mixing different amounts of flours. For ease of operation, notice that there is an easy ratio for the flours to use. If you prefer a chewier pancake, then add more glutinous flour. Or, reduce the amount of water for a thicker version.

• Batter
• 60g rice flour
• 40g glutinous rice flour (aka sticky rice flour)
• rice flour : glutinous flour = 1.5 : 1
• 60ml egg, beaten (~1 egg)
• 1 tsp oil
• 140ml water
• 7-8 tsp oil for frying
• Seasonings
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp sugar
• 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
• Ingredients into Batter
• 1 tbsp dried shrimps, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp spring onions, finely sliced
Yields 6 to 7 pieces 14cm pancakes

1) Rinse and soak dried shrimps for 5 to 10 minutes or until they are softened. Discard water. Rinse spring onions (about 2 sprigs) and finely slice them.
2) Sieve the rice flour and glutinous flours, add water, mix well. Add beaten egg, oil, seasonings, chopped dried shrimps and spring onions, mix well again. The batter is a bit runny but that is fine for making into thin pancakes.
3) Heat a pan over medium heat. When heated, add one tea spoon of oil. Just before the oil starts to smoke lightly, lower heat to medium-low, pour in about 3 table spoons of batter into the pan to form a round shape. Let it set until the downside become golden yellow. Flip to the other side, drizzle into the pan a few more droplets of oil if the first side has taken up most. Again wait till the downside turns golden and dish up.
4) Add in another tea spoon of oil, and repeat doing the same for the remaining batter. Serve hot and enjoy.

You may choose to fry into larger pieces of pancake and then cut them into sectors like most dim sum restaurants would do. In Chinese it is called 薄罉, literally meaning a thin slice on a cooking vessel.

So, how about calling it a Chinese Crepe?

Until Then, Good Eating, Friends...
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