Multi-layer pork and vegetable pancake

 

Multi-layer pork and vegetable pancake

Multi-layer pork and vegetable pancake, is one type of thousand-layer pancakes (qian ceng bing, 千层饼).

I started to make this dish last April. For the first time I did not make it well. For the second time, I added much fewer spices. It turned out to be really delicious! Since then, I have never failed. Not only adults but also many kids love the pancake. Between every two layers of thin and crispy crusts, there is one layer of flavorful pork and vegetables. Crusts and fillings are scented with each other perfectly. It’s another nutritious dish for kids to use fingers to pick up easily. It takes both time and some techniques to make pancakes well.

Let’s make the dough first. I prefer adding some coarse grains to increase the nutrition value. The water must be lukewarm to ensure soft and crispy crusts. Otherwise, crusts will taste tough.

Crusts Ingredients:

  • 320 grams all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 50 grams wheat germs
  • 200 grams lukewarm water

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and wheat germ first.
  2. Add the water little by little to knead the mixture to form a dough. Set the dough aside and cover with a damp cloth. Let it rest for at least one hour until you can feel the dough becomes soft. (In summer half an hour is enough)

Secondly, prepare the fillings.

Fillings’ ingredients:

  • Half a pound pasture-raised pork, 30% fat and 70% lean,  minced
  • Two pieces of one-inch ginger, minced
  • One tablespoon LEE KUM KEE premium dark soy sauce
  • One tablespoon SUPER SPECIAL KIMLAN Soy sauce
  • Haft a tablespoon LEE KUM KEE oyster sauce
  • One quarter teaspoon ground white pepper
  •  Half tablespoon sesame oil
  • Half a pound pao pao qing (泡泡青), finely chopped (You can substitute with carrots, potatoes, cabbages, napa cabbages, zucchini,etc.)
  • One bunch of Longkou mung bean vermicelli, soaked until soft and finely chopped ( This is optional. Some vegetables are too watery and vermicelli can absorb water to prevent nutrient loss. Otherwise, you have to blanch the vegetables first and squeeze water. If the vegetables are not watery, do not need to add. )
  • Salt to taste

I am proud to introduce my hometown’s ancient (Suizhou, Hubei Province, China) specialty- pao pao qing (泡泡青). The characters literally means a dark green vegetable with bubble-shape leaves. It is a winter vegetable. Frost-frozen and snow covered, it still shows exuberant vitality.  Frost and snow can make its texture greater- pulpy, soft, tender and fragrant. Thanks to my high school alumnus Liao Hongzhong who photographed the picture below.

The modified Pao pao qing in the above picture was gotten from Philadelphia: bubbles are not apparent and stalks are more taller. Once Pao Pao Qing seeds leave my hometown’s soil,  the shape, the size, the color and the texture will all be changed. My friends in China can enjoy pao pao qing mailed from my hometown. The modified ones are enough to relieve my nostalgia.

 

Method:

  1. In a bowl, mix pork, ginger, all the sauces, white pepper and sesame oil evenly. Set it aside and let them marinate for 15 minutes.
  2. Mix pao pao qing and mung bean vermicelli (Pictures are as below).
  3. Finally add salt to taste

Thirdly, make the pancake.

Ingredients:

  • Some cooking oil for pan-frying

Method:

1 Divide the dough into four smaller doughs.

2 Roll one small dough into a 9-inch square with a rolling  pin.

3 Cut one slit from the middle. (See the picture above)

4 Use a spoon to spread a thin layer of fillings onto three quarters of the square and leave a little space between the fillings and the edges so that the fillings will not come out when you pinch the edges later. (See the picture above)

 

5 Fold from the quarter without fillings to cover another quarter. Keep doing until a pocket is shaped. Pinch and pleat the edges to seal. Use your hands to pat down the pocket to make it  about 1.5 times bigger or take your rolling pin to do this. (See pictures above)

6 Heat one teaspoon grape seed oil on the pan. Cover the lid and fry two sides with low flame until golden yellow, about ten minutes. (See the picture above)

7 When the pancake is in the pan, making another pancake. Keep making and frying until four pancakes are done.

8 Cut each pancake four portions and serve hot with thin rice or millet porridge. (See the picture above.) (This a typical meal in North China where wheat flour foods are staple foods. )

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