Shao Bing or Szechuan Pancakes
Taken from Jamie’s America, this recipe is fuss-free, very easy and fast to cook. We got it right the first time but we tweaked it a bit to perfect it on the second try.
It is quite an irony that when Wise Guy lived alone for 10 years, he cooked for himself all the time. But when he lives with his family, he stops cooking. This entry, reminding him the importance of family, is written in support for “Cook for Family,” an initiative by 100 bloggers to encourage people to cook for and spend time with their families. This recipe allows the entire family to join in kneading the dough and filling up the bun. Have some family time, yo!
Ingredients (Serves 4, 8 pancakes)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper
400g minced pork (If you eat halal food, minced chicken will do)
4 spring onions (diced)
1 clove of garlic (grated)
Szechuan pepper powder
1. Dough: Mix everything together. Knead. Cover the dough with a wet cloth and rest for a few hours. The dough, not you.
2. When the dough is well-rested, mix all your filling ingredients. We love using our hands to scrunch the ingredients. Add salt and Szechuan pepper powder generously to season. (NOTE: The Szechuan pepper that you buy from NTUC comes in pepper form, with its husk and all. You have to ground it down to powder.)
3. Divide the dough into 8 portions. Oil a tray. Pick up a pice of dough and flatten like a pizza. Jamie Oliver says, flatten till 1cm thick. This is not acceptable. We tried it the first time and the skin turned out to be very thick. The second time we tried, we flattened it as much as possible. Flatten it so that it is the thinnest possible without the dough breaking.
4. Put the filling in the middle of the “pizza” and fold in so that it looks like a bun. Press it flat gently but be careful not to break the dough.
5. After you’re done with all 8 pieces, put in the fridge for 20 minutes. Get a large pan on medium heat. Oil the pan with vegetable oil and put the pancake in. Press down gently with on the flat surface of the spatula. Be careful to that the fire is not high, if not, the pancake will charred before it is properly cooked.
6. Cook for 5 minutes. Then flip over the other side, press it down, and cook for another 5 minutes. Break open one to check if it’s cooked. But be careful. The juices are trapped inside, so it squirts.
7. Serve with two dips: chili sauce with a dash of lime or soy sauce.
How is the taste?
If the crust is thin enough, it tastes like crispy prata but it is very moist within. The sealed-tight bun traps all the juices of the meat, so it stews in its own juice. Crispy outside, juicy within. But the meat may be a bit bland. Either put more Szechuan pepper and salt or, if you like, marinate the meat first. Two pancakes are more than enough for an adult male’s appetite for lunch or dinner.