Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Around the World with Pancakes: Chinese Jian Bing

We're trying out pancakes from around the world, looking beyond fluffy pancakes and beyond breakfast food
On our last leg "in China", it was time we tried out Jian Bing, Chinese pancakes found on nearly every street corner and eaten for breakfast. It is similar to a crepe, fried on a griddle, with a filling of egg, scallions and chili sauce. 

Preparing Jian Bing at a food stall in Shanghai
Photo Credit: Tom Mascardo
Jian bing are made with wheat, rice, or bean flour, or a combination of these. They are often topped with youtiao (also known as Chinese crullers), a crispy piece of fried dough in the center of the crepe before being folded over, which apparently gives it a great crunchy texture. We couldn't find any, so ours went without. 

Finished Jian Bing
Photo Credit: Aaron May
With just one flat round pan, I could only make one pancake at a time, so we cut it in pieces for everyone to enjoy, the cook eating at the stove. Meant as street food though means you can enjoy it standing up, wrapped in a piece of paper towel. Everyone enjoyed these, and they make a great savory breakfast or light lunch.

Jian Bing

Recipe adapted from Food.com
Makes 4 pancakes


1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil + more for cooking
1/2 cup milk
1 cup water
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup hoisin sauce*
1/2 cup mild chili sauce (omit if you don't want it spicy)
4 small to medium eggs**

*I mistakenly thought I had hoisin sauce, therefore had to quickly whip up a substitute: 1/8 cup (1oz) dark soy sauce, 1/8 cup (1oz) light soy sauce, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, pinch of white pepper

** I used large eggs, because that's what we had, but they ran over the edges of the crepe and I wonder if that would not have been the case with smaller eggs. 

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oil, milk and 3/4 cup of the water. Stir well to make your pancake batter. Set aside.

2. Heat 1/2 tsp oil in small pan on medium heat and fry onions for 30 seconds. Add the hoisin sauce (or substitute), chili sauce and 1/4 cup water. Cook for one minute and set aside. 

3. Rub 1/2 tsp oil on a flat pan or griddle with a piece of paper towel. Heat pan on medium heat, and when heated through, pour 1/4 cup of batter. Using the tip of your spatula, spread the batter evenly on pan and cook for approximately 30 seconds.

4. Crack an egg into a small bow and beat well. Pour the beaten egg onto the pancake, spreading it if need be, and cook for approximately 1 min. After the egg has set a bit, flip the pancake over, egg side down. Let the egg cook through for approximately one more minute, then flip over again so egg side is up. 

5. Brush with green onion hoisin sauce mixture, and fold pancake over. Serve hot and enjoy!

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  1. Yummy! A post today about making Chinese Pancakes. Love it!

    1. They were yummy - I'm already planning on making more this week :) Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Sometimes you post about your food and I feel I need to give a medal for even attempting to eat it (the old, black eggs spring to mind!) but no medal needed here. They look so yummy, I just love pancakes!

    1. I think the rest of the family would think a medal way too generous for what they sometimes consider torture!


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