I craved many authentic Chinese pastries for years since I’ve been on a gluten-free diet. Wheat scallion pancakes are one of the most flavorful but easy to make pastries I’ve missed. In todays post I’m going to share with you my gluten-free version. From the taste, texture, and appearance, it’s hard to believe it’s gluten-free.
There are many mouth-watering pastries in Chinese cuisine. However, a large number of the recipes are wheat based, especially recipes adapted by people who live in the north part of China. The Gluten-free diet in China is not as popular as in the United States, which makes it harder to find the gluten-free versions of those pastries. Whenever I search a recipe with the keyword “gluten-free” in Chinese, I barely get anywhere. After much research, experimentation, and failures, I finally succeeded in creating many Chinese pastry recipes that are gluten-free. If you are Chinese and are on a gluten-free diet, just like me, these scallion pancakes will definitely make you say “Wow”!
The traditional scallion pancake dough is made from wheat flour and hot water. The dough is very soft and can be rolled up from a sheet to form a spiral. The purpose of using hot water to form the dough is so that the two major classes of wheat proteins (gliadin and glutenin, which combine to form gluten) can be denatured under this high temperature condition. As a result there is less gluten formation in the dough, making it is less stretchy and have a more crispy and chewy texture in recipes such as pan-fried dumplings, flat bread, pancakes, et al.
I also took the advantage of the hot water, but under a different mechanism, to help the gluten-free dough stick together better so that it can be rolled like wheat dough (but would not be as stretchy as wheat dough due to the lack of gluten). The starch content in the gluten-free flour mix undergoes the starch gelatinization at this high temperature, in the presence of water. It results in an increase in the viscosity of the gluten-free flour dough making it easier to manage.
In this recipe I roll and divide the dough into a few equal size portions. Next I brush them with oil and sprinkle a handful of fresh finely chopped scallions and salt. Cover these with another piece of dough and they are ready to go into the pan to be fried. These pancakes are crispy on the out side and tender on inside and not as greasy as the traditional ones.
It is a good choice to make these pancakes for breakfast and appetizers. They are also great snacks for kids. Be sure to make extra servings because they are too delicious to resist.
- 160 g 5.6 oz Maseca Corn Masa Mix
- 80 g 2.8 oz white rice flour
- 80 g 2.8 oz sweet rice flour
- 40 g 1.4 oz corn starch
- 20 g 0.7 oz potato starch
- 20 g 0.7 oz tapioca starch
- 2 cups boiling water
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup finely chopped scallion
- ¼ cup canola oil
- Mix all flours in a large mixing bowl. Carefully add ½ cup of boiling water at a time and combine gently with spatula until it forms a ball. Caution! The dough is very hot, Do Not use your hands to mix the dough.
- Allow the dough to cool enough to handle. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth. Roll the dough to form a long cylindrical shape and then divide the dough into 10 pieces of equal size. Use a rolling pin to shape each piece into a 7” wide square sheet (cover the rest of dough with a damp cheese cloth or plastic wrap while working with each piece).
- Use a pastry brush to lightly coat five of the ten sheets with oil. Keep the oil 1” off the edge. Sprinkle a few pinches of salt. Evenly divide the scallion into five portions and sprinkle on top of those oil coated sheets.
- Take the remaining 5 pieces of dough sheet and cover each scallion filled dough sheet. Gently press the edges together to seal each pancake.
- Lightly coat a frying pan with oil. Heat the pan over medium high heat. Wait until the oil is hot and place the pancakes, one at a time, in the frying pan. Cover with lid and fry for 1 minute. Turn over to the other side and fry with cover on for another minute. Repeat 2 times. Each pancake takes 4 minutes to cook.
- Cut the cooked pancakes diagonally. Serve hot.
I usually make a large batch of this gluten-free flour mix because I can weigh large amounts of each ingredient more accurately than small amounts. The extra flour mix can be stored in a zipper bag in the freezer.