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Behold cōng yóu bǐng, aka scallion pancakes: They’re crispy on the outside, chewy and layered on the inside, and speckled with savory, oniony flavor, waiting to be dipped in a gingery, garlicky sauce. Make this Chinese flatbread at home with Betty Liu’s recipe, from her new cookbook, My Shanghai.
“Everyone has a favorite version of scallion pancakes,” she writes. “It’s one of those popular treats that people get into arguments about because there are so many versions. This my favorite scallion pancake, modeled on the street-style ones I’ve had in Shanghai.” Because of recent crackdowns on street-food vendors in Shanghai, Liu explains, only a few traditional vendors are left. “There are always long lines of locals and tourists waiting for their happy pancakes. I love them, too, but sometimes after eating them, I feel as if I’m covered in grease. This recipe is my happy in-between: It has all the scallion flavor but less grease.”
“The secret,” she says, “is 油酥, you su or ‘oil paste,’ which holds all the flavor. I use scallion oil as the base of my you su, so the scallion flavor is doubled without doubling the number of scallions in the pancake. Too many raw scallions can expel too much water, causing the pancake to be soggy. This way, both the flavor and the texture are optimized.” Genius, if you ask us.
From the book My Shanghai by Betty Liu. Copyright © 2021 by Betty Liu. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.
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