Using an old cauliflower crust recipe I had, I decided to experiment with making a 葱油饼 (scallion pancake). Of course, scallion pancakes are a traditional chinese restaurant appetizer and beloved street food, most notably known for its crispy exterior and soft layered interior. True scallion pancakes are incredibly flaky and chewy at the same time (the magic of gluten!) which my version unfortunately isn’t. However, the big flavor of fried scallions and a golden brown crispy and salty crust is still well pronounced in this version.
1. Begin by preparing your cauliflower. Manually cut into coarse florets then mince through a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you may also mince your cauliflower through a vegetable grater.
COOK AND STRAIN
2. In a large saucepan fitted with a lid, heat up 1/4 cup of water until it is boiling. Immediately place all of the minced cauliflower in the saucepan, give it a quick stir, cover and turn off the heat. Let steam for 10 minutes (be precise! set a timer).
3. Once the 10 minutes is up, remove the cauliflower from the saucepan into a fine mesh bag and squeeze all of the moisture out (there will be quite a lot! Reserve this liquid to add to your next vegetable soup/broth*) Move the strained cauliflower into a small bowl and set aside.
PREPARE THE VEGETABLES
4. Mince your onion and chop your scallion into rounds. Crack two eggs into a small bowl.
5. Whisk the eggs with a fork, then toss it, along with the scallions, onion, cauliflower and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt in a medium bowl until well combined.
6. In a large fry-pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of oil on medium heat, then place all of the egg mixture into the pan. Spread it out with a spatula to evenly cover the whole pan. Let fry for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Flip the pancake. I used the plate-sliding method where I slide the pancake (browned side still down) from the pan onto a large plate, invert the fry pan onto the plate and flip both together back onto the stove, making it so that the uncooked side is now at the bottom. Cook for another 3 minutes or so, until also golden brown.
8. Slide the pancake from the pan to a large plate and cut into 6 pieces. Sprinkle with more sea salt and serve hot. I ate my scallion pancake immediately, but if you aren’t going to, make sure to cool it on a wire rack so that the bottom stays crispy!
*A simple vegetable soup using cauliflower water: Add to about 1/2 quart more filtered water in a saucepan. Toss in about 3 cups of chopped celery, a chopped onion, three spoonfuls of tomato paste, pinch of sea salt, and any other suitable vegetable scraps you have lying around (or even meat scraps). Bring to a boil then to the very lowest heat setting and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or so and taste, adding a few drops fish sauce and more sea salt until desired taste is reached.