Onion Pancakes with Five Spices

Onion pancake is  a flat bread.  Not sure why it is called pancake.  My family L-O-V-E-S bread.  We can go through one loaf for breakfast and lunch, or a stack of 30 onion pancakes in one sitting.  Did I mention we love bread? 🙂  Onion pancakes are addictive but expensive.  This addiction necessitated learning how to make these at home. So my good friend showed me how to make homemade onion pancakes. It took me several tries and modifications to make the recipe works for me:

    1.  Thermometer is useful  to make sure lukewarm water is around 90 degree F.  I think if the water is too hot, it will make the dough tougher
    2.  Be aware of humidity in the kitchen, add more lukewarm water to the flour if the room is drier
    3. Work the dough with hands so you can tell when the dough is “pliable”…soft and elastic at the same time
    4. Instead of using lard to make it flaky layers, use baking powder and many twists and presses of the dough to help pancake rises a little and give layer-effects
    5. For more ooomph to the onion pancakes, add five spices powder
    6. Don’t give up after first two attempts at making these pancakes, try several more times.  You will get the result you are looking for


To Make Dough:
4 cups All-purpose flour
13 ounces lukewarm water (around 90 degree F)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

To Make Green Onion Pancakes:
1 bunch green onions, washed, dried, thinly sliced cross-wise
cooking oil to coat dough and to cook
five spices powder (optional)


In a big mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, and baking powder and whisk several times to combine all dry ingredients. Add in 13 oz of lukewarm water to the dry ingredients. If flour is not able to form a dough, add a little more lukewarm water to help mix in all the dry ingredients to slightly wet dough.

Knead the dough in the mixing bowl for 2-3 minutes until dough becomes smooth and pulls away from the edge of the bowl. If dough is still a little sticky, sprinkle little flour to the side of the inner bowl and continue to knead until it comes together into a smooth ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let  dough rest for at least 30 minutes or over night.

Divide the prepared dough equally into 3 smaller dough. Cover 2 of the dough until you use them.

On a lightly floured surface, take one dough and roll it out into rectangle shape until edge is about .5 cm thin.  Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon of five spices, and 1 teaspoon cooking oil.   Using hand spread all 3 seasonings evenly across the dough. Add a handful of green onions to the seasoned dough and again spread the green onions evenly.

Rolling and tucking in dough

From the edge closest to you, start rolling and tucking the longest side of dough into a roll.

Rolling and smoothing dough

Pinch and divide dough

Once it is rolled, lightly dust your hands and the surface with flour if necessary before rolling and stretching the rolled dough several times so it becomes a smooth roll. Then divide the roll into four or five 12cm pieces.

Twist and Press first

Twist and press second time

Twist and press third time

Spiraled dough

To form a pancake disk – take one 12cm piece, twist and press the dough 3 to 5 times together so it will make spiral and layer effects. Do the same with the rest of the pieces.  Cover and let rest for 5 minutes before using.

Rolling and shaping into pancake

On a floured surface, use a rolling-pin to roll out a seasoned dough into a 5 to 6 inch round pancake.

Over a medium-low heat, leave an iron skillet to heat up until it is hot.  Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of cooking oil to the hot skillet, and then add the pancake dough to the skillet.  Cover and let cook for 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip it over and repeat until both sides are golden brown (not burnt).

Cut into wedges and serve hot.



17 comments on “Onion Pancakes with Five Spices

    • I think it will works, just different texture…more similar to roti i think if you use chickpea flour. Let me know how it turns out for you if you substitute with Chickpea flour. I am going to try it too to see how it works. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • My friend told me it’s for layer-effects. I stumbled upon this blog, after I posted Onion Pancakes, which worth a look before you try to make yours. I cannot make anymore this month because I think my family and I have reached our quota of pancakes for this month! 🙂 If you do follow the method from that blog please share some pictures and let me know how it goes.

    • Do what I did. Try to follow the recipe as exactly as it is written on the first two tries, and then tinker with it until it works for you. Took me after third-attempt to get it the way I like it. Don’t give up and have fun with it.

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