Feb 27

FM back in the kitchen: Chinese Green Onion Pancakes

in Bread, Chinese, Fuji Favorites, Oyatsu/Snack, Recipes By Region, Recipes by Type

In May of 2007 we visited Beijing, China. After visiting the Great Wall we stopped at a vendor and bought some green onion pancakes that reminded me a lot of crepes.
The vendor made them on a big griddle and then topped them with spicy red chili sauce and a fried egg, and then folded them up for us to eat.
This was probably one of the cheapest meals I’ve ever eaten, yet I count it as one of the best I’ve ever had.
These pancakes were so good. When we returned home I searched for a recipe to no avail. The only recipes for green onion pancakes that I found were for something quite a bit different. One of my close friends from my time living in Japan, K.E., is half Chinese. She shared her family’s recipe for green onion pancakes with me, and although they are different from what I ate in Beijing, they are so incredibly yummy that they help to get rid of the cravings I still get for those pancakes.

After getting out of the hospital a few weeks ago after the littlest Fuji was born and I was starting to get around the house a bit more, I had a sudden craving for these pancakes. So as my first act of cookery I pulled out a frying pan and the necessary ingredients and got to work.
Green onion pancakes, or con you bing (tson yo bing), are not like our American pancakes (or French crepes) made with a batter. These are actually made with a dough. They’re a savory non-leavened Chinese flatbread that is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. You can make them ahead of time and wrap them carefully in saran wrap and either refrigerate or freeze them. Then, when you’re ready to eat, thaw them and fry them up as per the directions. I still like to make them fresh though because the crust is a bit crispier than if they’ve been refrigerated or frozen first. The pancakes are best served right away (after cooling slightly on some paper towels) because the crust becomes softer the longer they sit. You can serve them as an appetizer, or as a side to a main dish (they are really good eaten with a soup, like hot and sour soup).

K.E.’s Green Onion Pancakes
Makes 6 pancakes

3 cups flour

1 cup boiling water

1/3 cup cold water

3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or sesame oil….yum!)

3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion

3 teaspoons salt

1 1/8 cup vegetable oil for frying the pancakes (I’ve found that I can get away with using less in a non-stick skillet and they still turn out just as good…you’ll have to experiment with the particular pan that you’re using)

1. Place flour in a medium-size bowl, add boiling water, mix well, and set aside to cool.

2. After 3 minutes add cold water and knead dough until smooth.

3. Cover and let the dough rest for a while (I let it sit for about 20 minutes).

4. Remove dough to floured board, divide into 6 even pieces, knead and roll into 10-inch rounds. Brush 1/2 tablespoon oil on dough, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 tablespoon green onion.

5. Roll up the round like you are making a jelly roll and tightly pinch the ends closed.

6. Now form into a round snail shape, tucking the final end into the center of the bun. Then press down and roll the bun out until 1/4-inch thick. (If you want to refrigerate or freeze them for later, this is where you stop and wrap up the pancakes individually in saran wrap.)

7. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet and fry the pancake for 2 minutes. Flip the pancake over and drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil down the side of the pan. Continue frying until the pancake is a crispy golden brown. Jiggle the pan often while frying to make the pancake flaky.

8. Cut into wedges and serve warm. I like to spread a bit of Chinese chili sauce on mine and sometimes top one with a fried egg!

Coming Tomorrow: February’s Daring Bakers Challenge

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

jumbleberryjam February 27, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Welcome back to the kitchen! These look fantastic! Thanks for the recipe. :-)


Daily Spud February 27, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Welcome back! Those green onion pancakes are great, I made some a while back based on a version Lick My Spoon had on her blog, and I’ll certainly make them again. Maybe I’ll put an egg on top next time too :)


Jen Sue Wild February 27, 2009 at 4:20 pm

These look way too yummy!!
I love green onions.

I cant wait to try them..


Mommy Gourmet February 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm

This looks a bit like naan. Yum. I have an award for you on my blog go check it out.


mamakd February 27, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Yum, I am so glad you have traveled the world so you can share these new and exciting recipes with me! Miss you…


Bob February 27, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Those look wicked good. I’m copied down that recipe right now. :)


Shelley February 27, 2009 at 8:21 pm

These sound delicious. I have some scrumptious green onions in my garden just waiting to be made into pancakes!


Abigail (aka Mamatouille) February 28, 2009 at 1:21 am

FM, I read this recipe earlier today but I just can’t stop thinking about these pancakes. Oh my word – yummy soh!


Madeline and Family February 28, 2009 at 11:45 am

Those look fabulous!


Jessie February 28, 2009 at 6:46 pm

these little pancakes look like a lot of fun to make!


helen March 2, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Your green onion pancakes look fabulous!

From reading the signage on the food stall and looking at your photos from Bejing, I don’t think it’s a classic green onion pancake that you had. It’s more like a prata, with all the fixings you mentioned. It’s also much thinner and more foldable than a classic green onion pancake. Perhaps try it with prata next time and see if it comes close.



Hayley March 2, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Welcome back!! Thanks SO much for sharing this recipe! I just came back from studying in Taiwan, where my friends and I would buy these pancakes on a regular basis from a little vendor behind our university, they were wonderful, we got them a lot with different veggies like cabbage and onion inside. I can’t wait to try this recipe and taste those wonderful pancakes yet again, if I had some green onion I would make them right now!


sewtakeahike March 6, 2009 at 10:34 pm

omg!!! I have to make these tomorrow!! Thank-you for posting this, they look so good! I just stocked up on some of that chili paste but I buy the garlic-chili paste and I put it on everything.


sewtakeahike March 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Just made a batch of these, dang they are good. Especially with a cold coke. MMM MMM!


Kathleen March 10, 2009 at 10:28 am

Making these tonight!

I hope my boys love them as much as I will!!The recipe seems easy enough for them to “help me” too, can’t wait!


Meghan March 16, 2009 at 12:00 am

I made these tonight–both fun and yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe!


Its_Lily March 23, 2009 at 12:09 pm

They’re called Dan Bing and are my most memorable food from spending time in Taiwan. I learned how to make them when I took a cooking class in Taiwan. Oh, yummm!


Stephanie April 12, 2010 at 3:41 pm

I’m a lurker, but I saw this http://beijinghaochi.com/jianbing_recipe/ today…and immediately thought of your search. I hope this is it! Keep up the amazing site.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) April 12, 2010 at 3:44 pm

@Stephanie, Thanks Stephanie! Yep! Those are the pancakes! I actually finally figured it out and made some! Here’s the post if you’re interested: https://www.lafujimama.com/2009/05/jian-bing-chinese-breakfast-crepes/


Jenny June 16, 2010 at 10:15 pm

When I was living in China back in 2003 I would have these and a bowl of wonton soup with a class of freshly pressed warm soy milk…so good. Can’t wait to try your recipe and to attempt making it gluten free!


Emily January 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm

green onion pancakes were my favorite thing to eat when I lived in Taiwan. they’re soooo yummy!


Graham Pearson February 15, 2013 at 7:46 am

Getting to know your blog I came upon a forgotten (how could I?) favorite of mine from my bachelor Chefin days. This is a treat my new family will enjoy very much as we are exploring Asian flavors.
Thanks for sharing this recipe and story.


Kristy July 6, 2017 at 8:29 pm

Hey just so you know the food with the egg and crepe is called jianbing and they’re absolutely delicious and worth learning to cook :) But I always get some professional ones when I’m in flushing queens (can’t speak on other chinatowns or heavily Asian areas) I hear they’re hard to find though


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