Chef Shirley Chung is sharing a personal family-inspired recipe!
The Top Chefseason 14 runner-up and Beijing native knows that food brings families and different cultures together. Chef Chung, who first competed in Season 11 of the cooking reality show and came in third place, grew up in the kitchen and blending her Chinese and American background to make delicious cuisines.
“My cooking style is based on the flavors and dishes that I grew up around and grew into… from traditional Northern Chinese noodles and dumplings to Beijing’s unique melting pot of all eight Chinese regional cuisines,” Chef Chung tells ET. “And as a professional chef on the West Coast I have the luxury of being able to incorporate an abundant amount of fresh produce into a melting pot of international flavors … my heritage cooking reflects old traditions blended with my new experiences.”
In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Chef Chung shares the recipe to make her Scallion Pancakes With Hazelnut Pesto.
“When I was growing up, I used to bug my mom or grandma to make scallion pancakes for me. They were always a special treat and were my ultimate comfort food,” she shares. “Now, I pair my hot scallion pancakes with pesto and Italian cured meats creating a perfect salty and savory dish. It even became a staple dish at my family’s Thanksgiving feast at my home.”
“I learned how to make traditional scallion pancakes from my mom and grandma. But I came to love hazelnut pesto from years of cooking Italian food professionally and I found that the two paired perfectly together,” she adds. “If you’re not familiar with scallion pancakes, they have been around for thousands of years and like the result of a pizza and croissant having a baby – savory and round but filled with layers.”
Check out the recipe below:
- 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
- 2½ tsp (15 g) kosher salt, divided
- ½ cup (120 ml) boiling hot water
- ½ cup (120 ml) cold water
- 5 scallions (green onions)
- ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
- 10 tbsp (150 ml) canola oil
- Hazelnut Pesto
- ½ cup (75 g) toasted hazelnuts
- 2 cups (40 g) Italian parsley leaves
- 1 tbsp (9 g) minced garlic
- ½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 2 tsp (12 g) kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
1. To make the pancakes, add the flour and ½ teaspoon of salt to a large mixing bowl, and pour the boiling hot water all over the flour. Use a fork or chopsticks to stir and mix so all the flour is damp from the hot water. As soon as all the hot water is absorbed, pour cold water all over the dough and knead the dough with your hands. When the dough is formed and there aren’t any visible dry flour lumps (be careful not to over knead it), cover the dough with plastic wrap and rest it for a minimum of 30 minutes
2. Clean the scallions and finely mince them, making sure there aren’t any chunky pieces. Put the minced scallions, 2 teaspoons (12 g) of salt and the five-spice into a heat-safe bowl. Heat up the canola oil in a small pot. When the oil is smoking, pour the hot oil onto the minced scallions. Let it cool down before using
3. Divide the well-rested dough into 4 equal balls. Roll out 1 ball on a well oiled, flat surface as thin as possible into a large circle, about 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. Use a pastry brush and slotted spoon to spread the oiled scallions onto the pancake. Leave a little rim. Roll up the dough tightly into a long rope, then pinch both ends lightly and roll up this “log” into a cylinder. Repeat and roll the other 3 balls. Cover them with plastic wrap and rest them for 15 minutes before cooking
4. Heat up a 12-inch (30-cm) nonstick skillet over medium heat. Press the stuffed dough flat and roll it out to a thin pancake about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick. Lay it flat in the skillet and start cooking it without adding oil. Cook one side for 1 minute, then flip to the other side and cook for 1 more minute. Repeat this a couple more times. When the pancake starts to puff up a little in the middle and both sides are golden and crispy, the pancake is ready
5. For the pesto, combine the hazelnuts, parsley, garlic and extra-virgin olive oil in a vegetable chopper. Pulse them together and keep it a little chunky. Finish with the lemon juice, salt and pepper
6. Cut the pancakes into quarters and dip in the hazelnut pesto
Chung’s cookbook, Chinese Heritage Cooking From My American Kitchen, is available in select bookstores nationwide, on Amazon.com. She signs a copy for every one ordered on Goldbelly.com (as an add-on to a food or cooking class order). She owns Ms Chi Café, a restaurant in Culver City.
For those that prefer not to cook, Chef Shirley can ship her scallion pancakes, dumplings, tea smoked duck and more at Goldbelly.com.
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