May 15
2009

Jian Bing (Chinese Breakfast Crepes)

in Uncategorized

Back in February I wrote about a savory crepe-like dish I had eaten in Beijing, China two years ago.
We didn’t know the name of the pancakes and after attempts to find a similar recipe on-line we were unsuccessful. We started buying and making cong yu bing, another type of Chinese pancake made with a dough instead of a batter (also very good, but a very different dish), to fill the void. After I shared a friend’s recipe for con you bing with you in February, someone left a comment saying that they had loved a dish like the one I had tasted in Beijing when they were studying abroad in Taiwan. Based on that comment I was able to do some more digging and I finally figured out what we had eaten in Beijing–jian bing! From what I’ve read jian bing is a very popular street food dish in China. You can get one wrapped around a large fried dough crisp (like a big wonton) or fried bread stick (like a churro, but not sweet), but the ones we ate were just topped with fried egg, green onions, and a spicy chili sauce. See how it’s done in China:

Based on my newfound knowledge I found a recipe and have already made jian bing twice this week–once for Squirrel and I, and once for my parents.
They are so quick and easy that I think we will be eating them a lot. And that spicy chili garlic paste that I wrote about on Wednesday? Yep, a little bit is perfect spread on jian bing. YUM.

Jian Bing (Chinese Breakfast Crepes)
Adapted from Angie’s Recipes
Makes approximately 8 medium-sized pancakes (or 4 large pancakes)

3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. semolina flour
1 cup water
4 eggs, lightly beaten (2 for batter, 2 for topping)
Salt
Chili sauce
Scallions, thinly sliced

1. Whisk together flour, 2 eggs, and water together until well-combined and lump free.
2. Spray a large skillet generously with cooking spray, or brush with a bit of vegetable oil, and heat over medium-low heat. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of batter onto the middle of the pan and tilt pan in a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly and spreads out to make a thin crepe.
3. Pour some egg evenly over the crepe and then sprinkle with scallions and a pinch of salt. Cook the pancake for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the egg is set.
4. Flip the crepe, brush with chili sauce and cook for about 30 seconds, and then fold crepe into quarters and serve. Repeat process with remaining batter.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Frieda May 15, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Way cool! My husband is constantly making crepes…I’ll have to show him the video and see if he has tried this in Biejing…he just went there last Dec. Thanks!

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Snakebit May 15, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Great stuff! Thanks for the recipe.

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Bob May 15, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Holy crap, that looks so good. I’m copying this recipe down right now!

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Fuji Mama May 15, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Bob– You always crap me up! Can’t wait to hear if you make some!

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Hayley May 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm

ooooh my goodness! You don’t know how happy you’ve made me! THIS was a dish I loved even more than Dan Bing when I was in Taiwan!! I’d never seen them so BIG though, where I went they would roll them up in little cylinders then cut it into like 4 bite size pieces to eat with chopsticks! I’m definitely going to try this this weekend, I can’t wait to share a little bit of Taiwan with friends!

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Mad Em May 15, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Those look so good… and there is so much you could smear on them (I’m thinking green chili).

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K and S May 16, 2009 at 5:34 am

looks delicious!

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Gera @ SweetsFoods May 16, 2009 at 11:05 pm

This looks divine…I usually eat crepes but you take it to another level… simply delicious!

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HK Lam May 17, 2009 at 5:49 am

Surprise to see they have adopted the French method of cooking crepe, especially the griddle and the crepe spreading tool. Those commercial crepe griddle are very efficient and able to precisely set the right temperature. The crepe spreader is very foreign to the Chinese. Have a look at the French (Brittany) crepe cooking at http://ethnocooking.blogspot.com/search/label/buckwheat%20crepe

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Christy May 18, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Those sound so good, better than the stuff I ate in Beijing! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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Leela May 18, 2009 at 3:05 pm

This looks delicious. Once you’ve mastered the crepe, you can play with many different fillings too. I like that.

I grew up eating the long churro-like fried dough which you mentioned. The Thai people have borrowed that from the Chinese and changed its appearance a little bit. Ours are shorter and come in pairs in the manner of the Siamese twins. I eat them dipped in sweetened condensed milk while pretending I’m eating raw carrot sticks to minimize the guilt. :)

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Fuji Mama May 18, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Oh Leela, that sounds beyond good! Do you have a recipe? YUM!

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Jen May 19, 2009 at 1:53 am

I don’t think I tell you enough how much I LOVE your blog! I really love the article at the beginning of each post to entice us, the great pics and how you follow up with the recipe. I really feel like I am flipping through a cookbook written by a favorite friend. :)
I am so jazzed by you, I just may put a plug in for ya over on my blog…
♥ Jen

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Steph F. May 24, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Oh, how interesting! My Taiwanese mom makes a Sandra Lee-d up version of this with flour tortillas, egg and scallions. My brother and I love it with hoisin and chili paste. I had no idea it had an actual name or recipe.

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Tom June 2, 2009 at 1:54 am

the flour they use in the authentic jian bing is a mixture of mung bean flour and millet flour, no baking sode or other rising agents. just the flours and water. these two flours give the pancake its springy consistency, isntead of being mushy like normal flour.

the crispy bit your husband had in his jian bing is called “bao cui”, which has a literal translation of “thin crispy”. basicly just like wonton wrappers except made with plain flour.

traditionally the toppings are as follows: Tian mian Jiang (its a sweet/savoury sauce used often with peking duck), chili paste, red pickled tofu juices, finely chopped spring onions, toasted sesame seeds and bao cui.

they spread the batter on a hot plate (which is on a very low heat), making a very thin pancake. then they break 1 or 2 eggs on top of the pancake when its ~80% cooked. they spread the eggs evenly around the pancake and then flip it so the egg may cook. while the egg cooks they brush on the various sauces and sprinkle on toppings. they then fold the pancake around the piece of bao cui so it forms a parcle with it inside.

there you have it, how to make jian bing from a guy who has worked on of the stalls before.

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penny aka jeroxie October 2, 2009 at 1:23 am

I had this in Beijing and we eat it everyday when we were there. Lovely to have the recipe! mUst try this.

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Divina Pe October 2, 2009 at 1:28 am

I can eat this anytime of the day.

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alaya March 1, 2010 at 8:03 am

Does anyone knows how to make or what they put inside the Crepe? Not the sauce but that one long thing that is added in to make the crunchy taste!?

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) April 12, 2010 at 3:49 pm

@alaya, Alaya– Check out the recipe here: http://angiesrecipes.blogspot.com/2008/03/jian-bing-guo-zi-pancake-rolled-with.html The crunchy part is called a guŏzi (果子) guŏzi (果子)(commonly called in Northern China) or Yau Char Kwai(used in Southern China) or fried dough stick.

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Jo April 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm

We adored this in Beijing and have been attempting to recreate it! I think your recipe is what we needed, but there was a layer of crunch something inside the ones we ate… do you know what that was?

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) April 12, 2010 at 3:50 pm

@Jo, Hi Jo– The crunchy part is called a guŏzi (果子) guŏzi (果子)(commonly called in Northern China) or Yau Char Kwai(used in Southern China) or fried dough stick. Check out the recipe here: http://angiesrecipes.blogspot.com/2008/03/jian-bing-guo-zi-pancake-rolled-with.html

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Tina April 26, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Yum! My mom used to make this for me for breakfast. She always used thin tortillas to save time. I will definitely try this recipe! :)

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Heidi Prasad December 10, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I lived in China twice and ate these almost daily. Years later back in the U.S. my husband (from India) and I were dreaming about street food in both China and India (equally fabulous). I lamented that I would never get a Jian Bing in this country. He encouraged I dig on the net. I never dreamed Id find the exact receipe with video too! The visual is so important, esp for those of us who are not great cooks to begin with. Thanks a million; Xie xie nin!

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babafaye2004 March 26, 2011 at 12:13 am

looks good

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HeatherChristo April 15, 2011 at 11:23 am

Oh my! I am so excited. I have spent quite a lot of time in China, and I have had many versions of these. How great to have a home recipe! Thanks!

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Amy August 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Hi. I was reading your post about Jian Bing and I was wondering if you include the crunchy fried piece that they place inside the crepe. Ive seen them made like this in Bejing and Henan. I heard from another recipe that you can use fried wanton…. Do you know how to make this crunchy goodness?

Amy

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) August 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm

@Amy, When I had them in Beijing the ones I had didn’t have the crunchy fried piece, though I would have loved to have tried it that way!

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Lisa S December 13, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I still dream about these over 8 years after living outside of Beijing. I’m not much of a cook but this recipe with Tom’s further details might give me the boost to live another little dream again …

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Jon April 11, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I seriously loved this dish too!!! I ate it for breakfast almost everyday when I was still studying in Beijing!!! T_T I miss it soooo much … I’ll try your recipe when I get the chance

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starrii September 26, 2012 at 10:50 pm

It really is amazing how ignorant you are. Jian Bing has existed for a long, long time. They are not, as you suggest, merely a chinese ‘adaption’ of a foreign food.

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starrii September 26, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Sorry my comment was not directed to the blogger, merely the reviewer that claims Jian Bing as an adaption of French crepe making.

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Prisila C March 25, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Thank you for the recipe I lived for a little while at Beijin and I enjoyed the rice crepe but i didn´t know how to make it !!!

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Stephanie Poulsen Kennelly October 28, 2013 at 7:20 am

Thank you Rachael for posting this. I’m excited to try it out. We have an almost 17 year old Chinese International Student from Xian living with us. I enjoy your recipes.

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