I cannot remember when or where I first tried this technique, but we used our pasta maker to roll out Mandarin pancakes for 7 people who joined us for dinner on Christmas day, 2012. The original recipe comes from “The Cooking of China”, Time, Inc., 1968.
You cannot believe how simple, time-saving, and effective this technique is.
- 1 pound sifted plain flour
- 2 cups boiling water
- Toasted Sesame Seed Oil
Instructions for Making Mandarin Pancakes:
- Sift flour into a mixing bowl.
- Make a well in the center and pour the boiling water into it.
- With a wooden spoon, gradually mix the flour and water together until a soft dough is formed.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough gently for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
- Cover with a damp tea towel and leave it for 15 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a circle about 1/4 inch thick.
- With a 2-1/2-inch cutter or a glass, cut out as many circles of dough as you can.
- Knead scraps together, roll out again and cut out more circles.
- Arrange the circles side by side, brush them all thoroughly one one side with sesame seed oil and place one circle on top of another, oiled sides together, making many little “sandwiches”.
- Set the pasta machine roller to #1 (thickest) and while turning the handle, feed the dough sandwich between the 2 rollers.
- Set the thickness to #2, rotate the pancakes 90 degrees, and feed between the rollers.
- Continue with #3 and #4 thickness rollers.
- Keep the rolled pancakes covered with a dry tea towel as you make them.
The pancakes will turn out to be exactly the right thickness, and very uniform. Don't worry if the pancakes become longer than wide. They cook quickly and can be easily separated, much more easily than the hand-rolled ones.
Instructions for Cooking Mandarin Pancakes:
- Place a heavy fry pan, griddle or crepe pan over a high heat for 30 seconds. We set our electric crepe pan at 2-1/2.
- Reduce heat to moderate and cook the pancakes, one or more at a time, in the ungreased pan, turning them over as they puff up and little bubbles appear on the surface.
- Regulate the heat so that the pancakes become specked with brown after cooking about 1 minute or less on each side. Do not overcook. The pancakes will puff up with internal steam. You do NOT want to cook them until they are crisp.
- Remove the hot pancake from the pan and gently separate the 2 layers and stack them on a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap a stack of pancakes. Fold the corners of the foil over the top of the pancakes, so they don't dry out.
- Wrap up the pancakes in the foil in packs of about 14 pancakes.
- Continue to make the pancakes and wrap in foil until all of the dough is used.
- About 15 minutes before dinner is served, preheat the oven to 350 deg F or 180 deg C.
- Place a packet of pancakes, still wrapped in their foil into the oven for 10 minutes.
This is a two part process for cooking the pancakes. First, the skillet cooks them enough to be separated. Second, the oven completes the cooking of the pancakes.
Serve with Peking Duck.
You can freeze the packs of pancakes wrapped in foil. To reheat them, no need to defrost the pancakes first. Cook in oven for 10 minutes as above.