“Lotus Pad” (Mandarin) Pancakes
I’m back in Taiwan! (I’ve blogged my first meal here). I won’t be doing much cooking or baking (there’s too many good things to eat and try here). I do have a few recipes queued up that I haven’t posted yet so I’ll work on that as well as posting about all the things I eat while in Taiwan . . .
This is another recipe I tried from the Wei-Chuan Chinese Snacks Cookbook way back in June for “Lotus Pad” (Mandarin) Pancakes. If you’ve ever been to a Chinese restaurant and ordered mooshu pork (a sort of “burrito” stuffed with a chopped pork, cabbage, wood ear mushrooms, bean sprouts and shredded egg filling), you’ll recognize these as the flatbreads that are used as the wrapper.
What’s interesting about these flatbreads is the technique employed to make these pancakes super thin: you must roll them out and cook them in pairs. After you finish cooking them, you peel them apart to get two super-thin wrappers (ideally they will be very thin; obviously I need much more practice). Give it a try!
- 2 1/2 C (300 g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 C (180 ml) boiling water
- 1/4 C (60 ml) cold water
- 1 T (15 ml) sesame oil
In a large bowl, add the boiling water to the all-purpose flour and mix until you have a rough dough. It will be dry at this point, so don’t worry about obtaining a smooth dough.
Add the cold water to the rough dough and knead until smooth. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes to let it relax.
After 20 minutes have elapsed, remove the dough from the plastic wrap and knead it again, on a lightly oiled surface so that it is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a long roll approximately 20 inches long, then cut into 20 pieces, each 1 inch wide.
Place the sesame oil in a small bowl and have it ready on the side.
To shape the pancakes: For each piece of dough, and using the palm of your hand, flatten it until into a round, approximately 4 inches in diameter. Dip your fingers in the bowl of sesame oil and lightly oil the top surface of each pancake. Place two pancakes together, with the oiled sides touching, and roll them out until they are 6 inches in diameter. It helps to try to pair pancakes that are similarly sized. Repeat 9 more times to form 10 pairs of pancakes.
Preheat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat, then lower to low heat and and dry-fry the pancakes for approximately 30 seconds, or until small, golden bubbles appear on the bottom. Try to keep rotating the pancakes with your fingers to fry them evenly. After 30 seconds have elapsed, flip the pancake over and repeat the same procedure, rotating the pancake and checking the bottom for the tell-tale golden bubbles.
Remove the pancake from the pan and gingerly separate the pancakes from each other. I am warning you, they will be hot, so be careful! Place the separated pancakes on a plate and cover with a kitchen towel to keep them warm and moist.
Mandarin pancakes are slightly chewy but not tough; the use of sesame oil also make them lovely and fragrant. They’re also really versatile; use them in conjunction with your favorite mooshu recipe, or anytime you need a tortilla-like flatbread. My mom liked smearing them with peanut butter, rolling it up and enjoying it for breakfast.