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Green Onion Pancakes

Every good (and responsible) cocktail-party menu includes a starch dish, and these green pancakes fill the role while providing an intriguing taste of spicy Asian flavors. The pancakes are small, so arrange them overlapping on a platter and instruct guests to fold them in half for dipping in the sauce.

Ingredients:

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce

For the pancakes:

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 bunches green onions or spring onions, about 2 lb. total, root ends
      trimmed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Peanut, canola or olive oil for frying

Directions:

To make the dipping sauce, in a small serving bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, soy sauce and fish sauce; set aside. At this point, the dipping sauce can be held for up to 1 day at room temperature.

To make the pancakes, bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Coarsely chop 7 bunches of the green onions (both white and green portions) and finely chop the remaining bunch. (If desired, slice a few onions lengthwise to make a garnish.)

Add the coarsely chopped green onions to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain briefly, then transfer them to a blender or food processor and process to a smooth puree.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pureed onions, the eggs, 1/4 cup water and the soy sauce. Gently whisk in the flour until smooth. Season with pepper, then stir in the finely chopped green onions. At this point, the batter can be held for up to 30 minutes; be sure to stir it well before cooking the pancakes, and thin it with a little water if it thickens substantially.

Lightly brush a large nonstick griddle or a large, well-seasoned cast-iron fry pan with oil and place over medium-high heat. When the cooking surface is hot, ladle 1/4 cup of the batter onto the hot surface, holding the ladle just above the surface to prevent splattering. Using a heatproof silicone spatula, immediately spread the thick batter into a 4-inch round. Cook, turning once, until the pancake is nicely browned on both sides in a lacy pattern, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat to cook the remaining pancakes, brushing the griddle or pan with more oil as needed. You will have about 16 pancakes in all. At this point, the pancakes can be kept warm in a 200°F oven for 15 to 30 minutes, but they are best served as soon as possible.

Serve the pancakes on a platter with the bowl of dipping sauce, garnished with lengthwise strips of green onion. Serves 8 to 10.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Entertaining, by Brigit Binns (Gold Street Press, 2007).