Scallion rolls. Hua Juan. (花卷）。
These little crispy, fluffy, chewy pillows of scallion-y deliciousness were a must-order at the Chinese grocery store we used to frequent in the vast wild blue yonder of suburban NJ (as opposed to the vast, wild gray setting we find ourselves in now. Harumph). So, as a continuation of our recent all-purpose Chinese bun (man tou) dough post from three days ago, we’re a-gonna teach ya’ll how to make these here twisty thingies.
So normally, these scallion rolls, or hua juan (literally in Chinese, flower rolls), are twisted or braided into much more intricate, structurally ambiguous shapes (never fear! we have an easier way). We decided to roll them and cut them much like one would with cinnamon rolls, and then press them into these sort of “butterfly shapes” to keep them from expanding and rolling apart. Simplicity wins the day again!
Now, you can make the traditional (also vegetarian) version, which is largely just scallions. Or you can get crazy and add:
Anyone seen How I Met Your Mother recently? Ted realizes that the lifelong “bacon allergy” he’s harbored is all just a cruel ruse concocted by his controlling mother, and proceeds to eat an entire hotel pan full of the stuff. I believe his exact words were, “I have seen the face of God.”
If you would like to join Ted in emerging from “the bacon-less Hell he’s been living in his whole life,” then by all means, sprinkle as much of the stuff as you want in the middle of these rolls. There are many Chinese bakeries out there that combine bacon and scallions into a whole range of baked goods, so you have cultural permission to follow suit.
In any case, we encourage you to try both the traditional scallion version and the Ted-Mosby-loves-bacon version. To the
- 1 recipe mantou dough
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 4 oz. cooked bacon, chopped or 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Take half of the dough and roll it out into a rectangle about a half-inch thick.
Stir together the chopped scallions, a few tablespoons of oil, and salt, to taste. Spread half of the scallion mixture evenly over the dough.
Sprinkle over half the bacon or 1 tablespoon sesame seeds. Or both the bacon and the sesame seeds, you party animal, you.
Roll the dough into a long cigar shape.
Slice into 3-inch pieces.
Use a chopstick to make a big crease through the middle of each roll. Yes, they do look a little bit like……..well. The point is, they won’t expand and come apart too much when cooking. Get ‘yo mind outta the gutter, yo!
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Place the rolls in the pan and let fry for a minute or two.
Pour a half cup water into the pan and cover. Steam for about 12 minutes. Check regularly to make sure the pan isn’t drying out and add a little more water if necessary.
Remove the cover and allow the water to evaporate. Continue to fry, adding additional oil if necessary, until the bottoms of the rolls are golden brown. Because……crispy.
Serve! You can use the rest of the ingredients to make another batch, or wrap up the dough and store in the refrigerator for later.