With Chinese New Year coming up this week, my family  made some chinese dishes this weekend to do some early celebration.

We’ve made scallion/green onion pancakes before, but we’ve been working on trying to perfect it.  The ideal pancake is very thin, but contains many layers that are crispy and doughy at the same time.

One thing we did differently this time was to knead the dough in my stand mixer, rather than kneading by hand. I think this created a more elastic dough. I didn’t take any step by step photos but you can view the ones from our first attempt.

Green Onion Pancakes (Adapted from Gaga in the Kitchen)

Makes approx 5 pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 cups boiling water
  • Oil (vegetable and sesame oil)
  • Salt
  • 1  cup green onions (diced)
  • Directions

    1. Pour flour and water into food processor or stand mixer and knead for a few minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.  If too dry, add a little more water. We kneaded our dough for about 10 minutes.

    2. Take a small piece of dough (about the size of your fist) and
    roll it out as thin as possible. The shape doesn’t matter.

    3. Drizzle some oil and rub it in with your hands so that the entire
    surface is lightly covered, but there are no pools of oil in any one
    spot.  We used about a 4:1 ratio of vegetable oil to sesame oil.  If you don’t want sesame oil you can use just vegetable oil. I would not recommend using too much sesame oil because it has a very strong flavor. Don’t be stingy on the oil or your pancakes will be too dry.  Make sure there is a nice thin layer on each one, and make sure it is spread across the whole dough.

    4. Sprinkle some salt evenly across the dough. Then sprinkle on the diced green onions. It’s up to your personal preference how much you like.

    5. Roll the dough into a long rope. It’s okay if oil and onions squish out the sides. Coil that rope into a circle.

    6. Flatten the circle with your hand and then use rolling pin to roll out the pancake and thin it to your desired thickness. Ours we about 1/4 inch thick.

    7. In a pan, heat up a bit of oil over medium/low heat. Put your pancake on heated pan and let it cook until golden brown, and then flip to crisp the
    other side. Serve immediately.

    Green tea cake

    Can you guess what this is? It’s supposed to be a castella cake (a Japanese sponge cake). Obviously it isn’t. My second attempt at making castella cake came out even worse than my first.

    The cake came out really dense. It still tastes good, but it is very dense and sort of chewy. My previous attempt at castella cake didn’t come out right either. The first one was more like a pound cake. On this attempt, I tried using bread flour because I saw a lot of other recipes had called for bread flour. I think this is what made the cake even more dense. This cake looks more like mochi than like cake.

    I’ve seen other castella recipes but they require more eggs and more time. I was trying to avoid that, but I guess I will have to try a different recipe next time.

    The recipe I used can be found here. My tweaks were using bread flour and adding 2 tbsp of matcha powder. Does anyone have any good castella cake recipe recommendations?

    I’ve been searching for a brownie recipe that retains the chewiness that brownies made from a mix retain. I got a recommendation to check out Cook’s Illustrated Chewy Brownies, which is supposed to have the chewy texture of mix brownies.

    I put it off for a long time, but I finally got around to making it. There were quite a few extra steps compared to other brownie recipes I’ve made. I baked the brownies in my Brownie Edge Pan which I am completely in love with. Brownies no longer taste as good when they aren’t in the brownie edge pan.

    So was it worth it? I’ve had success with Cook’s Illustrated recipes in the past, but this was not one of them. Perhaps I did something wrong, but my brownies did not have the chewy texture found in brownie mix brownies at all. They were kind of chewy, but in a rubbery chewy way. They weren’t as fudgy as brownies usually are either.

    So my search continues. You can view the full recipe here.