A Different Kind of Pancake

7 Sep

When I was about five years old, my aunt came to visit from Beijing, China. Sometime after that, my dad started making onion pancakes using the recipe he had learned from my aunt. At this point, anyone who is not very familiar with Chinese food is probably thinking something along the lines of, “Chinese people put what on their pancakes?” But really, it is a most delicious dish, not eaten for breakfast.

The usual onion pancake recipe calls for salt, chopped green onions, and sesame oil in addition to the obvious flour and water that makes it a “pancake”. This in itself is amazingly tasty, but, as the years went on, it seems my dad and I had a similar idea–what if we made a dessert pancake?

One weekend, my dad and I brought out the sesame paste and sugar in addition to the usual ingredients for onion pancakes. We replaced the green onion with sesame paste and the salt for sugar, leaving only the sesame oil for flavoring and frying. Three hours later, a sesame dessert pancake was born and we had enough onion and sesame pancakes made for lunch and enough left over for a later snack.

What surprises me now is that we had created essentially an entire meal out of these pancakes, from the entrée to dessert, and by using almost the same recipe for both types of pancakes. Not only that, but our entire meal had been completed with no rice involved. Who would have thought? Asians don’t have to eat rice with every meal after all.

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