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5 from 6 votes

Thai basil pancake 九層塔抓饼

This delicious pancake or zhua bing is a combination of the roti canai and scallion bread recipe. It is simply delicious with crispy flaky layers and packed with aromatic Thai basil.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time20 mins
Dough resting time (varies based on temperature)45 mins
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: Asianbread
Servings: 2
Author: woonheng

Ingredients

  • 240 g all-purpose plain flour
  • 150 ml water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder optional
  • oil for cooking and greasing

Thai Basil Mixture

  • 2 cup Thai basil leaves [~45g] chopped
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon 5-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup oil

Instructions

Prepare the dough

  • Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder (if using) 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 it into a smooth dough.
  • Then, divide it into 4 pieces. Knead each piece by hand to remove air bubbles and roll them 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 surfaces.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge.

Prepare the Thai basil Mixture

  • During the last few minutes of dough resting, prepare the Thai basil mixture.
  • In the bowl of Thai basil leaves, add the flour, 5-spice powder, salt, and sugar.
  • Next, fill a small saucepan 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 Thai basil bowl.
  • Using a spatula, quickly stir the mixture until well-combined. The basil will release its moisture and will turn slightly dark and wet in a few minutes. Divide

Assemble the bing

  • Uncover the dough balls, and pour the excess oil in the pan onto a work surface.
  • Work with one dough at a time, 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 basil mixture on the stretched dough. Lightly press to adhere.
  • Using the fan folding method, fold the dough in layers and stop when you have 1-inch of dough left.
  • 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 bing

  • When ready, heat a cast-iron or non-stick pan with a thin layer of oil. Then, lightly grease your fingers and work surface.
  • Flatten the coil-like dough with your palm into a larger circular dough, 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 medium-low 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.

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