Cong you bing is a green onion flatbread from China, also known as Scallion Pancakes. The dough is made from wheat flour and water. Once the dough is formed, it is rolled out into a rectangular shape and topped with green onions or scallions. The dough is rolled into a loose log then sliced. The slices are rolled out into thin discs and cooked in a pan.
The rolling technique is what creates the attractive green swirl in the flatbread and creates flaky layers. Traditionally the flatbread was brushed with lard to keep the layers from sticking together. This is the most common appearance but cong you bing has many forms. They can be super thin or made thick and in different shapes. Besides pan frying, they can be fried in heavy oil or baked.
While cong you bing is often called a pancake, it’s closer to a flatbread because it is made with dough and not batter.
Cong you Bing is just as popular in Taiwan as it is in China and it’s also known as Taiwanese scallion pancake. Some Taiwanese variations include using garlic chives and other greens such as fennel greens and sesame seeds in the filling. The are enjoyed as a snack and can be found sold by street vendors everywhere.
Origin & Cultural Significance
The exact location and origin story of cong you bing is unknown though it’s believed to have been influenced by Indians living in China because of its similarity to Indian naan bread. It’s even credited for the creation of the modern pizza.
The story goes that after returning to Italy from China, Marco Polo the Italian explorer missed cong you bing so he instructed a similar dough with filing to be made and the first pizza was born. It’s enjoyed not just in China but similarly, Taiwan and has gained popularity in other Asian countries like Hong Kong, Korea, Vietnam and of course gaining popularity in the West.
- All purpose flour – 2 cups + 2 tbsp
- Hot water – 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp
- Vegetable oil – 1/3 cup
- All purpose flour- 1/4 cup
- Scallion whites - 5
- Green onion or scallion, chopped – 2 cups
- Oil for brushing and pan-frying
- In a bowl, slowly stir the hot water into the flour.
- Wait until it cools down and knead it into a smooth dough
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a wet cloth and rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat oil over medium fire and fry the green onions until browned.
- Discard the green onion and keep the oil.
- Pour the ¼ cup of flour into a small bowl and slowly stir in the hot oil.
- Roll the dough out into a large rectangle.
- Sprinkle with salt and top with a layer of oil-flour mixture and then a layer of chopped scallion.
- Starting with the long end, roll the rectangle up into a log.
- Cut into 4 pieces and let rest for another 15 minutes.
- Roll each portion to a large pancake. The cut swirly end should be rolled down flat.
- Add about 3 tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry the flatbreads until golden brown on one side (takes 3-4 minutes over medium fire).
- Turn over and fry the other side for 3 minutes.
- After turning over, slightly press the center of the flatbread so they can fry evenly. Serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 241Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 150mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g