Because potato latkes are the iconic Hanukkah food in this country, it's easy to assume that the spud is integral to the holiday. But really, the potato is strictly optional. Hanukkah is all about the oil, specifically frying good things in hot oil and eating the crisp, golden results while paying tribute to the miracle of one day's worth of oil lasting for eight,as it did so many millennia ago. Thus, anything fried in oil is fair Hanukkah fare, including these scallion pancakes, which pay tribute to the long standing connection between Jews and Chinese food.
We've fried them in olive oil to bolster their Hanukkah cred, but peanut oil works well too.
Olive Oil-Scallion Pancakes
Makes 12 pancakes, serving 10 to 12
For the pancakes:
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more, as needed
¾ cup to 1 cup warm water, as needed
1½ teaspoons salt, for seasoning, plus more, to taste
Toasted (Asian) sesame oil, as needed
Sesame seeds, as needed
½ cup finely chopped scallions
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
For the dipping sauce:
¼ cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped scallions
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
Dash chile oil
1. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and enough warm water to form a dough. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth and elastic. Transfer to an oiled bowl and let rest, covered with a dishtowel, for 20 minutes. In a small bowl stir together the dipping sauce ingredients and set aside.
2. Divide the dough into six equal-sized balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll a dough ball to a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. You might have to stretch it and pull it into shape and don’t expect a true rectangle. Rectangle-ish is good enough. Brush the surface of the dough with sesame oil and sprinkle evenly with a thin layer of the scallions, sesame seeds and pinch of salt. Starting at the long end of the rectangle, roll the dough tightly up over the scallions. You should have one, long, snake-like piece of dough. Cut the dough in half and roll the snakes out a bit longer, about 8-inches in length; coil each half into a tight round. With a rolling pin, roll each round into a thin pancake, as thin as you can manage, reflouring the surface as necessary.
3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm ¼-inch of olive oil. Fry the pancakes until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer finished pancakes to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cut pancakes into wedges and serve warm with the dipping sauce.
More recipes for fried goodness:
The perfect fried oyster sandwich (Ok, that one's a little traif-y)