Scallion shaobing (蔥燒餅) is a kind of baked flatbread filled with flavorful scallion and loaded with toasted sesame on top. The crunchy outer layer is contrasted by the slight bite of the bread within. On top of all that is the combination of the aromas of scallion and toasted white sesame. All these elements combine to make this shaobing so addicting. It is something that people in Taiwan enjoy for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.
A lot of work went into this recipe, but I think it paid off. In addition to experimenting with different versions myself, I even asked my mom (who's in Taiwan right now) to ask a popular shaobing vendor about the secret of making delicious scallion shaobing. Ultimately, I am very satisfied with the results from this final recipe, and if you like scallion pancake, I believe you will definitely like this recipe as well.
Scallion shaobing is not as commonplace as the scallion pancake or the breakfast shaobing that I've posted before. It's usually sold at more traditional shaobing vendors alongside many other different kinds of shaobing.
After trying several recipes online and not being fully satisfied with any of their results, I asked my mom if she could go ask the owner of a famous shaobing vendor near where she lives about the secret of making a good tasting shaobing so I can try to reproduce it at home. My mom told the owner that her daughter who lives overseas miss eating shaobing, and the owner was so kind that he told her all the details of how they make their shaobing!
Even though it's not practical for us to prepare our shaobing in exactly the same way that they do, I incorporated useful tips I learned from them into my recipe and came up with this method that I'm personally very satisfied with, and I'm sure you all can easily reproduce this at home.
Make a sponged the night before
In Chinese we call this "old dough", which is basically a pre-fermented dough that adds flavor and improves the texture of your bread when you incorporate it into your bread dough. A sponge is very easy to make, all you need to do is combine flour, water, salt and yeast, let it sit on your counter overnight and add it into the main bread dough when you make it the next day. This method can also be used when making steamed buns.
Secret of making flavorful scallion filling
Other than salt and pepper (I like to use both black and white pepper), the secret weapon to make the scallion filling more flavorful are lard and chicken bouillon powder, which I like to replace with "better than bouillon chicken base". Of course, the vendor will mix in other things as well, but these two are the main ingredients for making their secret flavor mixture that they put in. So next time, when you fry pork belly, don't forget to save some lard!
Brush the top with a good amount of sugar water
Before I always thought that sugar water is just operating as a glue to help the white sesame to stick to the top of the shaobing, but I've discovered that it has another function in this recipe as well. One time I couldn't find my pastry brush so I drizzle the sugar water on top and applied it with my hands, which resulted in more sugar water being applied than usual. The top of the shaobing came out, surprisingly, much crunchier than before!
Try scallion shaobing with egg
Taiwanese people loves eating eggs, we think that almost everything taste better after adding eggs. So of course, when you buy scallion shaobing, they will also provide the option of adding an egg in your shaobing. You can either add omelet, scrambled eggs or a fried egg, and your shaobing experience will be enhanced in each case.
If you plan to do so, cut the shaobing into six pieces instead of eight, as that will more room for the egg.
How to store and reheat.
The shaobing taste great when it's fresh out of the oven, I always can't help but try to bite into that piping hot shaobing right after they come out from the oven. However, I've found that I like it even better after it's reheated in toaster oven! The top shell becomes extra crunchy, which I really like. The texture will become chewy and bready after it's completely cooled, but all you need to do is to bake it in a 350°F (180°C) oven or air fryer for 3-5 minutes to bring back the crispiness.
Once the shaobings cool down, you can store them in an air tight container. However, if you cannot finish them within a day, store them in the freezer, and when you are ready to eat, just bake it 350°F (180°C) for 10-12 minutes or until the center is heated through.
I hope you all can give it a try and let me know how it turns out!
Don't forget to try my
Taiwanese Scallion Shaobing (baked sesame flat bread with scallion filling)
- 100 g water, a little bit less than ½cup, room temperature
- ⅛ tsp instant yeast
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 120 g all purpose flour , 1 cup
- sponge dough
- 200 g bread flour , 1½ cup + 2 tbsp
- 80 g water, ⅓ cup
- 20 g vegetable oil , 1½ tbsp
- 20 g sugar, 1½ tbsp
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp fine sugar
- 2 tsp water
- 4 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
- a small handful black sesame seeds for decoration , optional
Make the sponge the night before
- In a big bowl or container, mix all the sponge ingredients together, stir until combined with no dry flour left in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for 8-14 hours. You can also store it in the fridge after 8 hours and use it within 24 hours.
Prepare the scallion right before making the dough
- Wash the scallions and pat dry with paper towel or dish towel. Chop and let them dry on the chopping board or a shallow plate. We will need 2 full cups of chopped scallion.
Prepare the sugar water for brushing
- Mix sugar and water (preferably hot water) in a small bowl and set it aside to allow it to dissolve.
- In a stand mixer, add all the dough ingredients and knead with medium low speed until the dough is formed, then continue to knead for another 5 minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball by tucking the edges into the bottom. The dough will be very sticky but after it's formed into a ball, it shouldn't be as sticky when you touch it with a clean hand. If it's too sticky to handle, then add a little bread flour and knead for another 1~2 minutes
- Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. This step will allow the dough to be easier to work with later.
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C)
- After the dough is done resting, transfer it onto a floured working surface, roll the dough into an approximately 10" by 17" rectangle with long edge closer to you.
- Mix the lard and chicken base before mixing with chopped scallion, and then stir in salt and pepper. Mixing in oil first will prevent the scallion from becoming too wet and hard to work with. You want to do this step right before you put it in the dough.
- Place the the scallion mixture in the middle part of the rolled out dough and fold the top ¼ down and bottom ⅓ up. Please see the gif in the post for reference.
- Brush the top and sides with sugar water. You will need to use up all the sugar water.
- Spread a thick layer of the sesame seeds on the surface, and use a rolling pin to roll the folded dough a bit flatter to eliminate the air.
- Cut the dough into 6-8 even pieces and transfer them onto a lined baking sheet (it will be easier to do it with a turner spatula). Feel free to use the bottom of the shaobing to pick up any sesame seeds that fell off the shaobing.
- Pick up any scallions that fell out of the shaobing and stuff them back in. Let the shaobings rest in the room temperature for 5-10 minutes before baking. If you prefer a more bready (and less crunchy) texture, then let it sit for 20-30 minutes instead.
- Bake the shaobings for 16-18 minutes until the top and sides are golden brown.
- Transfer the shaobings onto the cooling rack and enjoy while they are warm.
Storing and reheat
- Once the shaobings are cooled, store them in an airtight container if you plan on finishing them within one day, otherwise store in the freezer.
- To reheat, simply bake them in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 3-5 minutes, or 10-12 minutes from frozen. You can also try heating up with a air fryer for the extra crispiness.
Different ways to enjoy
- You can eat it directly or stuff it with a fried egg or omelet, for a perfect breakfast/brunch. My daughter loves spreading some cream cheese in her shaobing, which is also very delicious and satisfying.