My friend Iris is hosting this month’s Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten-Free, an event created by Naomi of Straight To Bed, Cakefree and Dried. The theme Iris chose is the Chinese Lantern Festival (which was on September 12th) a.k.a. Mid-Autumn Festival a.k.a. Mooncake Festival. As soon as I read that, I started thinking of all the times I took the subway from Brooklyn to New York’s Chinatown for dim sum and pastries, and Iris has similar memories. Like Iris, such excursions are a memory, and not just because neither of us lives in Brooklyn anymore – avoiding gluten and other allergens is that much harder with Chinese food, at least in my experience, so I love that Iris chose this theme – and speaking of multiple food sensitivities and avoidances, please read this recent post by Iris. It is one of the best things I read in recent weeks.
One of the things that I have not had in years and wanted to recreate for this event was scallion pancake. I started playing with this recipe in early July and made it several times this summer. I wanted to avoid refined starches and use whole quinoa as the base (as with the quinoa pizza I shared with you in May – Iris was one of my initial inspirations for that too. I told you she was wonderful). I found that salt and a combination of coconut oil and toasted sesame oil masked the distinctive quinoa flavor well and that the pancake had a nice chewy texture. I encourage the use of a dipping sauce, whether the soy-free one I included below, or another recipe or store bought option, to boost the full experience.
I experimented with adding the scallions (and optional chilies) halfway through the baking process or mixing it into the batter prior to pouring it into the cast-iron skillet. I liked the later approach the better, but the best picture I had was using the former method, so be aware that if you follow the recipe exactly, your pancake will have the scallions more mixed in rather than resting on one side. Above a few pancake wedges are pictured with my husband’s standard stir-fry, which I like to eat atop some romaine lettuce – the combination of the scallion pancake and stir-fry made for a wonderful at-home Chinese-restaurant-inspired dinner.
Scallion Pancake & Dipping Sauce (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Soy-Free) – An adaption of several bloggers’ approaches to quinoa pizza crust, including my own, with inspiration from Ming Tsai for the dipping sauce
I loved the flavor the unrefined coconut oil gives this scallion pancake – it is not coconutty as much as buttery, and reminiscent of heavily pan-fried wheat-based scallion pancake. However, I also made this recipe successfully with grapeseed oil instead of coconut oil, so substitutions are possible. If you substitute gluten-free tamari for the coconut aminos, add a pinch of coconut sugar and taste the dipping sauce to adjust for sweetness to ensure a sweet savory flavor profile.
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 2-3 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp virgin unrefined coconut oil (I used this one)
- 1 cup plus 2-3 Tbsps chopped scallions, green and white parts (about 6-8 scallions)
- 1-2 tsps chopped Thai red chilies (depending on level of heat you like, or omit altogether)
- 2 Tbsps brown rice unseasoned vinegar
- 3 Tbsps coconut aminos (see notes above if you use gluten-free tamari instead)
- 1/2 tsp minced ginger (you can use up to 1 tsp if you like an intense ginger flavor)
- 1/2 –1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on level of heat you like)
- 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Soak quinoa in about 2 cups water, at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse.
Preheat oven to 400F. Place 10-inch cast iron skillet in oven when it gets to 350F. Preheat pan for about 10 minutes as the oven temperature rises. Add coconut oil to hot pan and preheat oil and pan (about 4 to 5 minutes).
While preheating pan, place drained and rinsed quinoa in blender with 1/2 cup water with salt . Blend until the consistency of thick pancake butter. Add 1 cup scallions and combine (you could do this directly in the blender jar, or by pouring the quinoa batter into a bowl and adding the scallions and stirring. You want to stir the scallions into the batter, not blend them in). Remove cast-iron skillet from oven. Pour batter in. It should sizzle. Bake pancake for 20 minutes, until dark golden. While pancake is is baking, mix remaining chopped scallions with vinegar, coconut aminos, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Set dipping sauce aside. Flip pancake over, dip a brush into the toasted sesame oil and brush pancake before returning to oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove pancake from oven, flip onto a plate and brush second side with remaining toasted sesame oil. Cut into wedges and serve.
I am also submitting this recipe to the following weekly blog events:
Wellness Weekend, hosted by Ricki of Diet, Desserts and Dogs. The concept behind Wellness Weekends (now a year-round event!) is “any good-for-you, whole foods, especially those with antioxidant properties or “functional foods” (ie, offering naturally medicinal or health-promoting qualities–such as garlic, coconut oil, all vegetables, fruits, herbs, etc.).” Here we have coconut oil, which is anti-microbial, and scallions, which like all members of the allium family (onions, garlic, shallots) have multiple benefits. Incidentally, Ricki also has a fantastic recipe for gluten-free vegan scallion pancake.
A blog event hosted by Flip Cookbook called Sugar Free Sunday, which includes sweet and savory dishes made with non-refined sugars.