Vegan Grandma

Friday, November 10, 2006

"The vast majority of those who eat meat never consider its rights and wrongs; society condones it, and that is sufficient reason to think no further. So it is the vegetarian who is called upon to explain his odd behavior, and not those who support the unnecessary slaughter that meat-eating requires. It requires very little moral sense to realize that the taking of a life is an important matter, yet for most people the choice between a nut cutlet and a beefsteak is about as important as that between chipped and boiled potatoes; a matter of taste, not morality."-John Harris, Animals, Men and Morals
Vegan Scallion Pancakes and Some Interesting Things About Scallions

Whenever I’m in Philadelphia, I love to go to the Kingdom of Vegetarians Chinese vegetarian restaurant for dim sum. Among other things, they serve really good scallion pancakes. I found the following recipe in The Best Recipes in The World, by Mark Bittman, published by Broadway Books, (page 78). It’s easier than I thought it would be to make these. I substituted vegetable oil for the non-vegetarian fat that is traditionally used in China.

Vegan Scallion Pancakes
makes 8 servings

You can cut these into small pieces to serve as a finger food, or in wedges to serve as part of a Chinese dinner.

2 cups flour, plus a little more for rolling the dough

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup boiling water, or as needed

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil or as needed

1 cup finely chopped scallion

neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed oil

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Slowly pour in the water while stirring rapidly with a fork until the mixture forms a ball around the fork. (You can also do this in a food processor-put in the salt and flour, turn on the food processor, slowly add the water through the feed tube until the mixture forms a ball.)

Knead by hand for about one minute until the dough is smooth. Place it in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rest for an hour (or up to a day, refrigerated).

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into 2-inch balls, then flatten the balls into disks. Lightly brush one of the disk with sesame oil and sprinkle a few scallions on top. Place another disk on top of the first one and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 5-inch long oval. Lightly brush one side of the oval with sesame oil, sprinkle a few scallions on top, and fold the oval in half. Roll into a circle about 1/4 inch thick, adding flour as necessary. Repeat with the remaining dough. This should make about 6 pancakes.

Generously coat a large, deep skillet with vegetable oil, and turn the heat to medium-low. When the oil is hot, place a pancake on the skillet. Cook until lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes, then turn the pancake over and brown the other side. Repeat with the other pancakes. Sprinkle with coarse salt, cut, and serve warm.

Some Interesting Things About Scallions

Scallions are members of the onion family.

Scallions are sometimes called spring onions or green onions, and spring or green onions are sometimes called scallions. True scallions have straight sides an the white part while true spring onions and green onions are young onions that will develop a rounded bulb at the base.

True scallions have a milder flavor than immature spring or green onions. if this mild flavor is desired for your recipe, look for scallions with straight bases.

The bases of scallions should be firm and white, and the tops should be crisp and bright green.

Scallions are available all year long and are at their peak during spring and summer.

Store scallions unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper for up to a week. If the scallions are wet, dry them on paper towels before storing them. Rinse them just before using, and remove any wilted outer leaf tops.

Scallions can be eaten raw or cooked in numerous dishes from soups to salads. Chop scallions into salads, toss into cooked rice or bean dishes, or use as a garnish for polenta or soup.

When adding scallions to a recipe, saute the white part briefly. Add the green parts at the last minute of cooking.

The thin, inner leaves of scallions can be used in place of chives.

To dice scallions quickly, cut each scallion lengthwise twice, line them up in parallel rows, and cut them crosswise.

When you are chopping the white parts of scallions, chop extra and freeze in an airtight container. Do not freeze the green tops. They will change color and become limp.

Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tips, by David Joachim, published by Rodale