I was really surprised at the positive feedback I got for the basic Chinese brown sauce I posted last week. I've made it many, many times, but last week was the first time I figured it was okay to photograph the little bit I had leftover from dinner. Certainly, a better photograph would have included the roasted baby bok choy and baked tofu that was dressed in it, but none of those were left over. Ha!
So, if you like really easy ways to make Chinese(ish) food at home, this will thrill you. It doesn't get much easier than this without using a microwave. I discovered this recipe while researching the pancakes, which are a popular appetizer at two Chinese restaurants here in Nashville (owned by the same people). These pancakes aren't quite as good as the restaurants, but they are very close and very tasty.
But they are not low-calorie. Each biscuit has 170 calories and 6 grams of fat; adding oil to fry them adds a bit more of each. Something I wish I'd realize before I ate four of them. FOUR. That's pretty incredible considering I hate flaky biscuits. I can't even stand to watch the ads for these biscuits because I remember how much I hated when my mom served them when I was a kid. Her homemade biscuits were fluffy and crumbly and divine. These were...not good. A layered biscuit is a crime against humanity. However, when pressed into pancakes, they turn out great!
Adapted from Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest entrant Gary Chiu
serves 4-8 (makes 8 4-inch pancakes)
1 can Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers refrigerated biscuits (Original, Butter Tastin' or Buttermilk)
1/3 cup finely chopped scallions/green onions (dark green part only)
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
Pour one tablespoon of the oil into a large skillet and heat on medium to medium high.
Cut a biscuit in half lengthwise and press out each layer into 4-inch rounds. Sprinkle one half with freshly ground pepper and a few pinches of scallions. Cover it with the other half and press the two sides together and back into a 4-inch round.
Place the pancake in the pan and cook about 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and press the pancake lighlty and cook 1-2 minutes until no longer doughy. Flip again if necessary. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Repeat for the remaining biscuits, cooking 2 or 3 at a time. Add oil half-way through the batch.
1. It's not easy, but just cut the biscuits in half. I tried to smash down a single biscuit into a larger pancake as a shortcut and it just didn't work out right.
2. I substituted one tablespoon of oil with toasted sesame oil, which I keep on hand for stir frying (it's particularly good for frying green beans and roasting baby bok choy). But if you don't have any, a mild vegetable oil like canola oil is just fine.
3. I served these with just a little ponzu, but ended up eating them plain. They'd also be good dipped in a bit of sweet and sour sauce, sweet chili sauce, or sriracha.4. Serve as a side dish with a plate of steamed vegetables and rice with basic Chinese brown sauce.
5. Only a portion of two pancakes is pictured...because that's all that was left to photograph. 🙂