Makes 3 pancakes; serves 4 to 6
These fabulous street-food flatbreads show up in night markets and in street-food centers all over Asia. On our annual visits to Taiwan, my family and I eagerly seek out the couple who serve them up from a simple stall by the Taipei subway stop near the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial. Theirs are incomparably delicious, but these are very tasty, lovely to look at, and amazingly simple to make. Plan to roll and cook the pancakes one at a time while you're learning, and then speed up once you've got it down.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and water. Stir well to mix it up and turn it into a soft dough
Lightly flour a work surface and your hands, and then scrape the dough out onto the floured work surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, turning and pressing to form it into a soft, smooth dough. Cover the dough with the bowl for a five-minute rest
Divide the dough into 3 portions, cutting it apart with a butter knife or pastry scraper. Leaving the other two portions covered while you work, place one portion on the floured work surface, and roll it out into a big, round pancake, 6 to 8 inches in diameter.
Use about 1 teaspoon of the oil to lightly and evenly coat the surface of the pancake. Sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon of the salt, and then scatter about 1/3 of the green onion over the pancake.
Starting with the far edge and pulling it toward you, carefully roll up the pancake into a plump log. The soft dough will need a little coaxing, and it won't be perfectly even, but that is just fine.
Shape the log into a fat spiral, turning the right end toward you to make the center and curving the remaining log around it. Tuck the loose end under and gently but firmly press to flatten it into a big, thick cake. Using your rolling pin, roll it gently into a 7-inch pancake. The green onion will tear the dough and poke out here and there, but that's not a problem.
To cook, heat a heavy, medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add about 2 teaspoons of the oil and turn to coat the bottom of the pan evenly. When a pinch of dough and a bit of green onion sizzle at once, place the pancake in the hot pan and cook until handsomely browned and fairly evenly cooked on one side, 2 to 3 minutes.
Turn and cook the other side for about 1 minute, until it is nicely browned and the bread is cooked through. Use the remaining dough to roll out. season, shape, and cook two more pancakes. Use additional oil as needed. Cut into quarters, and serve hot or warm.
This page created January 2009
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