This is my all-time favorite family dinner.  Not because it’s the most delicious or quickest meal I cook, but because nobody complains about it.  Even the one who habitually glares at every plate like I’m trying to poison her can’t muster a grimace.  And why would she?  Scallion pancakes are everything kids love:  mildly flavored, wedge-shaped, and dippable.

This version of the Chinese restaurant favorite is surprisingly easy to make at home and, less surprisingly, much healthier than take-out.  We like them with a huge plate of raw and steamed vegetables (carrots, red peppers, snow peas, and broccoli are good) and a tangy sauce or two for dipping.

Scallion pancakes

Yield:  24 wedges, serving at least 4

1 1/2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 c. white whole wheat flour

1 c. warm water

3 – 4 tbsp. canola oil, for brushing and frying (or use toasted sesame oil for brushing)

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

4 scallions, tender green parts only, thinly sliced

Measure flours into a large mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon.  Pour in water and stir again until dough comes together into a shaggy ball.  Turn dough out on a clean counter and knead until smooth but still tacky, adding a bit more flour if necessary to prevent sticking.  Lightly oil bowl, then drop in dough ball and turn once to coat.  Cover bowl with a clean dish towel and set aside to rest for at least 20 minutes.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured counter and roll into a long rectangle of roughly 12 x 20-inches, dusting with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking.  Brush surface of rectangle with oil (canola or sesame) and sprinkle evenly with salt and scallions.  Starting at one of the longer edges, tightly roll dough into a rope.  Divide rope into four equal lengths.  Tightly coil each rope into a spiral, tucking open end under to make a round shape.  Flatten each round with your palm, then, adding flour as needed, roll from the center outward in all directions to make a flat pancake roughly 9-inches wide and 1/8-inch thick.  Lightly flour each round to prevent sticking, and stack between pieces of wax paper.

Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Drizzle in just enough canola oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan.  Lay one pancake into the hot skillet and cook until lightly browned on the bottom, 2-3 minutes.  Flip and cook another 1-2 minutes.  Remove to a cutting board and slice into 6 wedges.  Keep warm in a towel-covered bowl or plate while you cook the remaining pancakes.  Serve hot.

Soy-ginger dipping sauce

3 tbsp. tamari or other soy sauce

2 tbsp. rice vinegar

2 tsp. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. finely grated, fresh gingerroot

Whisk all ingredients until sugar is dissolved.

Ersatz duck sauce

1/4 c. apricot preserves (look for one without high-fructose corn syrup)

2 tbsp. rice vinegar

1/4 tsp. finely grated, fresh gingerroot (or more, to taste)

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl.  Whisk well and remove from heat.  Cool to room temperature.  (If your preserves are very chunky, you can puree your sauce for a smoother texture.)

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