Friday, September 3, 2010

Battle of the Bulge: Scallion Pancakes

Yesterday morning I woke up and realized that I no longer had anything in my closet that fit me, because the three dresses I own that still fit my baby bulge (it's no longer a humble bump) were at the dry cleaner's shop. In the immortal word of Homer Simpson: Doh.

I was able to dig up a suit for today that has always been too big on me, to go to a University Senate meeting where I have to sit with the President and Executive VP, and I'm feeling a strange sense of relief to be hiding in my clothes.

I have, unfortunately, been eating for two lately, it seems.  I know that you're not supposed to, but I'm hungry ALL. THE. TIME.  I don't remember this with Ian; it's a little frightening, actually, that even when my stomach feels like it's about to burst I find myself salivating over all sorts of things.  Things that are bad for me.  Cake.  Chocolate.  Ice cream.  Fried things.  We pulled out pictures of me last time I was pregnant, and I don't look too much bigger this time around, but still, this must stop; I need to be able to fit into at least some of my clothes again some day!

I'm sure that some of what I cooked this week didn't help, either.  What do you do with too many scallions?  Madhur Jaffrey, wise in the way of things vegetarian and ethnic, says you make scallion pancakes.  Seems harmless, right?  Well, despite my reputation for healthy cooking, these are not even remotely good for you, and I'm almost ashamed that I served them for dinner (I redeemed myself only marginally by offering grilled zucchini and eggplant as the other half of our meal).  Ian had a virus this week, so he didn't help us eat them, either; we were left to our own devices.  A word to the wise: though they are dangerously tasty, don't eat two or more pancakes' worth of wedges at once if you want to fit into your clothes the next day.  Even if you really are pregnant and hungry.

Scallion Pancakes
(there is a lovely step-by-step photo essay at Almost Bourdain, but my recipe is just a little bit different; I recommend my recipe, with AB's step-by-step photos.)

3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, extra for dusting
1 1/4 c. warm water
10 scallions, cut crosswise into fine rounds (both green and white sections)
10 T. vegetable or peanut oil, divided (yes, go for the unhealthy here ... it's just not the same with olive oil)
1 t. salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper

Put flour into a big bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the warm water and, mixing as you go, make a soft dough.  Collect the dough together and make a ball.  Knead briefly and make a ball again.  Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

Flour a large work surface thoroughly.  Put the dough ball in the center and flour the dough ball; roll out into a 20 inch round, dusting with flour when you need to.   Brush the surface with oil, and spread the scallions over it.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Starting with the edge closest to you, roll up the dough into a long fat log and pinch the ends to seal in the spring onion and oil.

Break the log into four smaller equal logs.  Lightly flatten the roll, then roll it up again from one end like a snail, pinching the end to seal it.   Press the dough down with the palm of your hand. Roll out to a 7 inch (or so) circle.  Flour the work surface again, and foll out all of the cakes this way, making sure that you keep them in a cool spot well dusted with flour.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat with 3 T. of oil.   When the oil is hot, add your pancake to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, turning once, until the pancake is light golden brown and crisp.  Remove the cooked pancake to a paper towel to drain and add 1 T. oil to the pan.  Repeat the cooking process until all of your pancakes have been fried.

Cut into wedges and serve immediately with a dipping sauce of 2 T. soy sauce, 1 T. mirin, 1 t. sugar, 1 t. sesame oil, and 1/4 c. very light stock OR 1/4 c. soy sauce, 2 1/2 T. rice vinegar, and 2 t. sesame oil.
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  1. So um, I'm really pregnant and really hungry so I think I'll stop by your house for dinner tonight.

  2. Oh, those look delicious.

    Q1. Yes, (and I say this as a former govt employee) it is actually supposed to be the responisbility of your manager or HR person to arrange someone to replace you for your maternity leave - I suppose it could be different over there, but honestly, that statement on planning to replace yourself!

    Q2. Corn fritters - we have a nice low GI recipe involving brown rice and sweet corn, with scallions - yum. Also, something we make a lot, is a miso soup with soba noodles, tofu and vegetables, really nice when you throw some scallions on top (I like them so tend to use a lot).

    If I think of any other recipes I will let you know.

    Also wanted to say - thank you for the very kind comment you left recently. :)

  3. Andie, love the idea of corn fritters. And I love miso soup ... good idea! Thanks!

    K, come on over.


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