Mandarin Pancakes

These thin pancakes are most often used for serving mooshu style dishes and Peking duck, but they make a great wrap for just about any stirfry, such as Vegetable Stirfry Wearing a Hat. The simplest way to make this is to use the food processor, in which case you may need less water than indicated.

ingredients:

  • 2 c all-purpose flour or you can use 1/2 AP flour and 1/2 whole wheat
  • 3/4 c boiling water
  • 1-2 T cold water
  • 2 T oil

method:

  1. Sift the flour, then gradually add the boiling water, mixing with chopsticks or a fork. If you’re using the food processor, pulse the flour a few times instead of sifting it, then with the processor running, add the boiling water in a thin stream. The dough should start to come together into a ball.
  2. Add the cold water until you have a soft but not sticky dough. You may not need to add any cold water if you’re using the processor.
  3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth and elastic – it will take about 1-2 m if you’ve used the processor, approximately 4-5 m if you are working by hand.
  4. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest for 15 m – this will relax the gluten and make the dough stretchier.
  5. Knead the dough gently and then roll it between your palms and the countertop into a “snake” about 18″ long.
  6. Cut the dough into 18 pieces, then flatten each piece with your hand.
  7. Brush the top of 9 cakes with oil, then place the remaining cakes over them like you’re making a sandwich.
  8. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low.
  9. In the meantime, roll a pair of pancakes into a 5-6″ circle: the most successful way to achieve a circle is to only roll the rolling pin with your right hand from the center of the cake to the edge, turning it slightly as you go with your left hand (reverse if you’re left-handed). Flip the cake over once you’ve made a complete rotation and roll on this side as well.
  10. Place the sandwiched cakes in the skillet while you roll the next one. It should take less than 1 m for them to turn lightly brown in spots and take on a dry look. Flip and cook until the other side is similarly brown in spots. You may have to adjust the heat to keep the cooking even.
  11. When you remove the cakes, quickly separate each sandwich into single cakes while they are still hot, then fold into a 1/2 circle or into 1/4 circles, pile on a plate, and keep covered with a towel.
  12. Before serving, steam the plate of pancakes for 5 m and serve, keeping covered in between uses.

do ahead:

The pancakes can be made through step 9 a few hours ahead – refrigerate with wax paper layered in between each “sandwich.” Return to room temperature before baking. Or you can complete through step 11, refrigerate (covered with plastic wrap or in a covered container), and briefly steam before serving.

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