Sunday, May 24, 2009

"Shanghai" scallion flat bread


If the scallion bread is really from Shanghai, or what the one in Shanghai looks like, sorry I can't tell. But it is what Hongkong people like to call, and this is how the vendors like to make: a bit flaky, quite chewy, very aromatic and so highly addictive!

In the 80s and 90s in HK, vendors selling Shanghai/northern-style food were used to be everywhere, sort of like pizzerias in Roma or hotdog carts in NYC. But later, they one by one disappeared, is it due to the (bad) nature of HK people who always keep changing their taste, or due to the ridiculously high rent that killed their business? My husband and I are so sad that now we only find scallion bread at fancy restaurants. In order to charge a higher price, the bread is always overdone (creating excessive flaky layers and adding some lard bites), it is more like a pastry rather than a down-earth bread...

So a few years ago I decided to make my own... started from searching the recipes on internet, testing a few, improvised a bit here or there (no need for too much as the ingredients are so simple!). Since I have been making it many times, I can just estimate the amount. So when you make it based on my recipe, please do count on your eye-n-hand judgment as well.

You know how happy for a kid when the mom hands him/her a big lollipop? I saw the same happy face on my husband when I put down a plate of scallion bread :D


When I lived in US and now in Barcelona, there are not many local stores carrying scallion. They have something similar but that's from related onion family, however, in my opinion, they can't yield the best result (e.g. the green part is too fibery, tastes too dull... or too expensive). Scallion is available at all asian supermarket, and is very, very cheap :)

Ingredients (yield 12 - 13 bread, each about 9 cm in diameter x 1/2cm thick)
  • 320g flour
  • 1/4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of vegetable oil (but not olive oil)
  • 220 - 230 ml water, boiling hot
  • about 6 stalks (or more) of scallion
  • a small bowl of oil, set aside. With a brush
  • a small bowl of fine sea salt, set aside

Finely chop the scallion, I use the whole including the white part (but not the root though), but try to chop the white even finer as its taste is more pungent than the green part. Set aside.

Well combine the flour, 1/4 tsp salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl, set aside.

Boil the water, add in oil. Then pour most of the hot liquid into the flour mixture, stir very quickly and see how the texture goes, then pour the rest of hot liquid. The dough should be slightly sticky (it will dry up a bit when you work on it later), knead it a few minutes or until it looks smooth.

Place dough in a bowl, pre-greased, cover and rest for an hour.

Evenly divide the dough into 12 or 13 portions. Remember to cover those doughs that you are not working on.


Roll one ball of dough to a flat circle with a thickness of 0.2 or 0.3 cm thick. The dough is soft and tender, but shouldn't be sticky enough to require adding flour on work table.

Brush some oil, sprinkle a good pinch of sea salt and scallion. Check how much scallion I put on, it can go a little more, but not less.

Roll up the circle.


Coil the roll-up.


Gently press down the coil with your palm. Then roll it flatter to the thickness close to 1 cm.


Pre-heat a 9cm skillet, drizzle one teaspoon oil, place 3 slices of bread, cook for 3 or 4 minutes over medium heat. Then cook the other side for another 3 minutes.




Finla said...

I can imagine the delicous falvours in the bread.
Looks really yummy.
I totally agree here too they are expensive, .

aminah said...

yes they are expensive...I am looking forward to the good foods of france...nice to see your blog flourishing with good foods and wonderful photography!

Anonymous said...

That looks like an amazing onion croissent!

anna said...

Those look really tasty - I like scallions! They're often out of them at the grocery store I go to, I guess they're popular.

pigpigscorner said...

I love this snack! The crust looks really crispy!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your flatbreads look fantastic! A delicious speciality!



MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You know how happy for a kid when the mom hands him/her a big lollipop? I saw the same happy face on my husband when I put down a plate of scallion bread.
That is pure bliss!!!
This looks really wonderful!

Lisa Turner said...

Those look amazing. I've no doubt they are addictive!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I've only made scallion bread one time, and it was delicious. The trick is in the forming -- rolling and coiling and flattening. Thanks for reminding me how delicious homemade scallion bread can be.

Callipygia said...

You know I have never had them homemade, I had no idea they were that simple to make! I'd say these are much better than a lollipop, worthy of big smiles.

Claudia said...



Dominique said...

Looks tasty: I have to try (never eat that)... the recipe is simple!

Navita (Gupta) Hakim said...

Hi was in Hong Kong for a year (in Wan Chai) yet I only got to know about this bread today :(

Will mnake them for dinner tonight! Thanks :)

Jackie @ said...

amazing photos. I'm in awe. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I've always been intrigued about how to make scallion flat bread.

Janet @Gourmet Traveller88 said...

Oh I miss this! They are beautiful! I am drooling. I should try to make it too some time.

wennycara said...

Hi Gattina,
your blog is marvellous; I like so much your recipes and photos too...

Well done!

Karen Baking Soda said...

I'll have these over a lollipop anytime and I bet my kids will too! Lovely bread,bookmarked!

Navita (Gupta) Hakim said...

guess what I made them a HIT... thanks.

ChichaJo said...

That looks delicious! I have never tried scallion bread before but I can tell that I would love it!

kiki said...

Yummy!! I would like to try some, look delicious!

test it comm said...

These scallion flat breads look really good!

Australian Chef said...

Not only does this look really yummy but since cooking it the first time I have now added it to my restaurant recipe!!! Thanks!!!

radha said...

easy,lov it, it's my HK breakfast very often! i ll make it athome now soon thank u! :-)

mashi said...

yum, I made these over the Mother's Day weekend and it was a hit. Thanks for sharing this Gattina, will keep making these x

David T. Macknet said...

I've been hanging onto a link to this post for over a year, now. Perhaps this weekend I'll get around to making some!

Anonymous said...

Gattina, I tried your recipe today for the first time. I didn't have scallions, so I used garlic chives and chives from my garden. It was delicious! Thanks for the recipe.