If you eat out a lot, like I do, you have standbys: dishes that most restaurants offer and by which you judge their overall success. For me, I consider the cheese, or margherita pizza, in any pizza place and the scallion pancakes and hot and sour soup from a Chinese restaurant. I know what I like too. I know that I want my hot and sour soup to knock me flat and stop a cold dead in it’s tracks. And I want my scallion pancakes to be crispy, salty, hot, and light. I’ve had both terrible versions and transcendental versions of both.
My favorites come from Myers + Chang in Boston’s South End. The hot and sour soup is perfectly tangy there and the scallion pancakes appear regularly in my dreams – hot, crispy, and with a magical dipping sauce. This minor obsession with M+C food means that when I got my hands on Flour, Too (and read it cover to cover within three hours), I actually cried out loud upon seeing recipes for BOTH of my favorites. I did a happy dance! I called my mom! I plotted an afternoon of baking!
The soup was pure love. It was incredibly filling and the addition of ground pork gives it great flavor and body without a long low simmer (genius). I plan to be eating a lot of this soup when winter and cold season rolls around. It’s exactly what I crave on those short, cold, sniffly days.
Ingredients for the Pancakes:
- 1 lb ball pizza dough
- 8-9 scallions, green and white parts, minced
- ¼ cup sesame oil
- 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
- About 1 ½ cups vegetable oil for frying
Ingredients for the Dipping Sauce:
- 3 Tbs Soy Sauce
- ½ tsp Sriracha sauce
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbs peeled and finely minced ginger
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbs sugar
- 1 Scallion, white and green parts, minced
- In a small bowl combine the scallions, sesame oil, and salt, set aside.
- Split the dough into thirds. On a well floured surface roll a section of dough out to a 5”x10” rectangle. Spread one third of the scallion mixture evenly over the dough. Roll the dough up jelly roll style from the long end and pinch the seams together. Spiral the cylinder into a tight coil and tuck the end under. Repeat this procedure with the remaining pieces of dough.
- Set the coils of dough aside in a warm area to relax and rise. This takes about two hours.
- Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set it aside.
- Heat your oil until it shimmers – about 300 degrees, hot hot hot!
- Whisk all of the dipping sauce ingredient together while the oil heats. Continue to whisk them until the sugar is dissolved.
- Roll the coiled dough out into 10” circles – I found that these were easier to handle if I cut them in quarters, ten inches just barely fit in my pan.
- Fry the rolled out pancakes in the oil until they are golden and crispy – about 3 minutes per side.
- Serve with liberal dipping sauce.
Hot and Sour Soup
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 1 Tbs peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 scallions, green and white parts minced, plus a bit extra for garnish
- 8 oz ground pork
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 lb tofu, soft or firm (not extra firm), cut into ½ inch cubes
- 4-5 medium button mushrooms, sliced thinly
- ⅔ cup rice vinegar
- 1 Tbs Sriracha
- 1 Tbs sesame oil
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 3 Tbs Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- white pepper, for garnish
- In a large saucepan heat the vegetable oil. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions and ground pork and cook, stirring occasionally for about a minute, until the pork is mostly cooked. Don’t worry about breaking it up – that will happen as it cooks
- Add the stock and bring it to a simmer.
- Add the tofu, mushrooms, vinegar, sriracha, sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce, and black pepper. Bring the soup back up to a simmer over medium high heat (taste it and adjust for your preference: sriracha for hotter, vinegar for more sour).
- With the soup at a steady simmer start to move it around in the pot, stirring gently. Stream the whisked eggs into the soup – maintaining heat and movement the entire time. This allows the eggs to form glorious, delicious strands.
- Bring the soup back to a simmer.
- Serve with a drizzle of sesame oil, a few scallions, and some fresh white pepper.
- Enjoy with mass quantities of scallion pancakes. That’s how I like it best.
All photos taken and styled by Kathy.
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