This Shou Zhua Scallion pancake 手抓葱油饼 (Shǒu zhuā cōng yóu bǐng) has amazing flaky layers that are packed with a flavorful and a simple scallion mixture.
You may have heard of Shou Zhua Bing and Cong You Bing. Shou Zhua Bing roughly translates to ‘hand grasp pancake’, most likely due to the way it is prepared and eaten. The latter, Cong You Bing is Scallion Pancake that can be made thick or thin to your likings.
I love both bing (饼) a lot and decided to combine two of my favorite recipes into ONE using roti canai and scallion bread recipes. The dough is made from flour, salt, water with a pinch of baking powder to add some fluffy texture.
The end result? A FLAKY and crispy pancake that has a wonderful scallion aroma. So, make sure to double or triple up the recipe. Did I mention you can freeze the rolled dough too? Yup!
What makes Shou Zhua Scallion Pancake flaky?
1. Oil – Similar to how I make my roti canai, brush a layer of oil on the divided dough. This keeps the dough moist and you can roll it out as thin as possible later. To be able to roll out the dough super thin, you’ll need to oil the working surface as well.
2. Roux – Many recipes call for making a separate roux using flour, oil, spices, and seasoning. This roux is added on top of a rolled dough before topping it with scallions. The oil in this roux is what creates the layers which in return turns flaky when cooked. Instead of doing that, I’m adding it to my scallion mixture directly; please see the recipe below.
3. The rolling method – I used the similar roti canai fan folding method, then, roll into a coil-like roll. Right before serving, I clapped it with both of my hands to ‘fluff’ the layers before serving. This is very similar to how roti canai chef claps theirs in Malaysia.
How to make Shou Zhua Scallion Pancake
Part 1: Make the dough
To make the dough using a stand mixer, place the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Now fit the mixer with a dough hook and mix the dry ingredients at medium-low speed to combine.
While the mixer is running, pour in the water and continue to knead until a dough forms. (If there are still dry spots of flour after 2 to 3 minutes of mixing, add some water, 1 tablespoon at a time.),
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it into a smooth dough.
Then, divide the dough into 4 equal portions, then brush the dough surface with oil, and place in a greased 8″ cake pan. Cover and let them rest for 30 minutes.
Part 2: Make the scallion mixture
To make the scallion mixture, place chopped scallion in a large bowl, then season with salt, sugar, and 5 spice powder.
Now, make the hot oil. Add the oil to a small pot and turn on the heat. Check the oil temperature with a thermometer (350F) or a wooden chopstick. If you see bubbles around the tip of your chopstick, turn off the heat. Pour the oil into the scallion mixture (please handle with extra care).
Using a spatula, fold the scallion mixture so all the oil is absorbed evenly. The mixture will turn slightly moist after a while, so it’s important to do mix it right before you roll out the dough.
Part 3: Fold the dough
Lightly grease a work surface. Dip your fingers or rub your rolling pin with oil. Uncover a dough and flatten it with your palm. Then, press or roll to stretch the dough into a thin rectangle, layer about 7″x 12″.
Apply a generous layer of scallion mixture on the dough, making sure all areas are covered with oil. This step is crucial to create the flaky layers later.
Now, lift the bottom of the dough up and make a slight fold over the scallion mixture.
Repeat until you reach the top of the dough. For the last fold, bring the dough over and to seal it like an envelope. Gently press the dough together to adhere the fillings.
You should get a long rope dough now. Take both ends and slap the rope onto the greased surface with a slight pull. This step is to create a thinner dough. If you prefer not to do it this way, skip to next step.
Now, take one end and start rolling like a coil. While rolling, slightly pull the dough which create the similar thin dough as the step above. Finally, tuck the end of the rope to the bottom of the dough.
Let the dough rest for another 10-15 minutes. Then, flatten it with your fingers to about 5″ to 6″ in diameter or 1cmm thick.
Part 4: Cook the bing
Heat a cast iron or large skillet then brush a thin layer of oil. Transfer the bing to the pan. Flatten it slightly with your fingers. This is an optional step especially if your bing doesn’t shrink back to a smaller size.
Cover the pan with lid and cook for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown over low-medium heat. The temperature is important, if the heat is too high, it will burn quickly but the inside is still raw. So, please check occasionally to avoid this.
Uncover and brush a layer of oil on the top of bing before flipping over. Then, cover with a lid and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Part 5: How to serve
Transfer the delicious bing to a chopping board. While it’s warm, clap the bing with both of your palms to fluff it up. Please note the bing is still hot, so handle this step with care.
How to store Shou Zhua Scallion Pancake
This recipe is definitely a great weekend meal-prep. Double up the recipe and freeze the uncooked dough so you can make them for breakfast or easy snacks.
First, cut a few 7″ square parchment papers. Once you have rolled out the dough into your desired size, place the dough on 1 parchment paper, then top with another. Repeat the same steps with the remaining dough and end with a final parchment at the top.
Place the raw dough in a container or big stasher bag. Freeze up to 1 month. When ready, peel off the parchment and cook as directed in the recipe – no thawing needed.
Shou Zhua Bing Cooking Tips & FAQs
1. How to achieve the flakiest layers? Oil is essential for the flaky layers. First, coat the divided dough with oil before resting. The longer the rest the better and you can refrigerate at this point. If you do plan to refrigerate the dough, please use oil that will not harden such as avocado.
Second, is to grease the work area with oil including your fingers or rolling pin. With that, you’ll be able to stretch the dough into a thin layer without breaking it. Finally, grease both sides of the dough before cooking to get a crispy texture.
2. Should I create a roux? As mentioned above, many recipes do call for making a separate roux that you’ll be able to brush on the rolled dough before topping it with chopped scallions. In my recipe, I’ve simplified the steps and made a scallion mixture with hot oil instead.
3. I can’t roll out the dough as thin as pictured – This happens when the dough is not well-rested or oiled. Once the dough has rested, don’t knead it but rather stretch it out as the recipe calls for it.
4. My scallion mixture look too oily – The amount of oil in the recipe is enough to ‘cook’ the 12-15 stalks of scallions. If your mixture appears to be too oily, you can save the remaining oil for other dishes. But do remember we need to apply a generous amount of oil on the stretched dough for a flakier texture.
5. Once I fan-folded the dough into a rope, is it necessary to slap it on the surface? Of course not, I love this method as a way to stretch the dough and make it thinner. Similarly, you can pull and stretch the dough when you roll it into a coil-like.
6. My bing has golden brown outer layer but it’s still raw inside? This happens when you are using high heat to cook the bing. Please use low heat and cover the pan with a lid. The steam will slowly cook the inside while the oil will crisp up the outer layer.
Why You Need this Shou Zhua Scallion Pancake
- Has the flakiest texture
- Easy and simple to make
- Perfect for make-ahead meals (these pancakes freeze well)
- So Delicious!
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Shou Zhua Scallion Pancake
- 240 g all-purpose (plain) flour
- 150 ml water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- oil for cooking and greasing
- 12 stalks green onions about 2 bunch, chopped
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1 teaspoon 5-spice powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup oil
Prepare the dough
- Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Fit the mixer with a dough hook and mix the dry ingredients at medium-low speed to combine.
- While the mixer is running, pour in the water and continue to knead the dough until a dough forms. (If there are still dry spots of flour after 2 to 3 minutes of mixing, add some water, 1 tablespoon at a time.)
- Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead into a smooth dough.
- Then, divide it into 4 pieces. Knead each piece by hand to remove air bubbles and roll it into a ball.
- Add 1½ tablespoons of oil in an 8" non-stick cake pan or similar size pan. Then, place the dough in the pan and coat it generously with oil, making sure to cover all the surface.
- Cover the pan with a lid and let the dough rest for at least 40 minutes or overnight in the fridge.
Prepare the Scallion Mixture
- During the last few minutes of dough resting, prepare the scallion mixture.
- In a bowl with chopped scallion, add the flour, 5-spice powder, salt, and sugar.
- Next, fill a small pot with ¼ cup of oil and turn on the heat.
- Once the oil is heated to 350F, remove it from the heat and carefully pour it into the scallion bowl.
- Using a spatula, quickly stir the mixture until well-combined. The scallion will release its moisture and will turn slightly wet in a few minutes.
How to roll the dough
- Lightly grease a work surface. This is crucial to create a thin layer.
- Uncover a dough ball and flatten it with your palm. Grease a rolling pin or your fingers and roll or stretch the dough into a thin rectangle (about 12"X7").
- Spread a generous layer of scallion mixture along with the oil on the stretched dough. Press the scallion lightly onto the dough so they stick to it.
- To create the layers, Iift the bottom of the dough and make a slight fold over the scallion and repeat the same steps until you reach the top of the dough.
- For this last part, instead of folding in, bring the top layer and fold down like how you seal an envelope. Press the dough gently to adhere to the fillings.
- Now, hold both ends and lift it up then slap to the surface while stretching it to make the dough thinner (this is an optional step).
- To finish it up, roll the dough into a coil-like and tuck one end to the bottom of the dough. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes and move on to the rest of the dough.
Cook the dough
- When ready, heat a cast-iron or skillet with a thin layer of oil. Then, lighty grease your fingers and surface.
- Flatten the coil-like dough with your palm into a larger circular pancake, about 5"-6" in diameter or 1cm thick.
- Transfer the dough to the pan. Using your fingers, spread the dough out slightly to flatten it.
- Cover the pan with a lid and pan-fry it until golden brown about 2-3 minutes over low-medium heat. Peek occasionally and adjust the heat if needed.
- Uncover, and brush a layer of oil on the top of the bing before flipping over. Then, cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden.
How to Serve
- Once both sides of the bing are crispy and golden, transfer it to a chopping board.
- While it is still warm, clap the bing with both of your palms to fluff it up. Please note, the bing is still hot, so be extra careful or you can serve it warm as-is. The texture will be slightly less fluffy without the clap but does not affect the taste.