Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jamie Oliver's Sher Ping Pancakes

Dear Jess,

On Mondays I do the grocery shopping. So on Sundays I always ask Jason, 'What would you like to eat this week?' He then goes through some cookbooks and picks one or two things he would like to have. I then add a third 'new' thing that I would like to try to make.

This week I was craving Sher Ping Pancakes from Jamie's America. That's right. I'm back to Jamie. I missed him and his creative food genius. I have, in fact, made this once before when I first got this cookbook. Probably just over 2 years ago. I made them the day Jason asked me on our first 'official' date. I remember I had trouble with the dough and was interested to see if I could do better. Also: they are delicious. Jamie says:

'Sher ping translates as "pan-cooked filled pancake," and they are one of the best things I've eaten in ages. A lovely lady from the north of China taught me how to make them at her food counter in the Roosevelt Food Court. It sounds like a cheat to explain how to make these pancakes, but it's well worth mastering, because you can swap the pork for other delicious fillings like chicken or seafood.' - Jamie's America, page 49

If you make these (which I definitely think you should) keep in mind that you will need the whole afternoon. The dough has to sit for a couple hours, and then after stuffing them they need to chill in the fridge for 20 minutes before you cook them.

I doubled this recipe and used whole wheat bread flour instead of white. (I know... risky... but it turned out so good!) I am going to try to freeze half of them and see how they turn out. (One single batch will make 8. A double makes 16.)

On last thing that is very important... I find you need way more water or less flour. You want your dough to be really stretchy. Whenever I do it exactly like the recipe it's always too dry.

Sher Ping Pancakes
from Jamie's America, Page 49

For the dough
3 1/4 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting (I used whole wheat bread flour)
scant 1 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the filling
14oz ground pork, the best quality you can afford
a handful of finely grated white cabbage (No Frills didn't have any... so I used Savoy cabbage)
a small bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves and stalks finely chopped
a thumb-sized pieces of root ginger peeled and finely grated
4 scallions, trimmed and finely grated
sea salt
freshly ground Szechuan pepper (I used Cayenne pepper)

To serve
sweet chile or hot chile sauce
soy sauce
2 limes, cut into wedges

Make the dough by mixing the flour, water, vegetable oil, a bit of pepper, and a pinch of salt with a fork. Then use your hands to knead it until smooth and elastic. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for a couple of hours.

When you're ready to make your pancakes, mix all your filling ingredients together in a large bowl. Use your hands to really scrunch everything together, and season well with a good pinch of salt and Szechuan pepper.

Dust a clean surface with flour and cut the dough into 8. Divide your filling into 8 even piles. Oil a sheet pan and your hands. Pick up a piece of dough and create a patty like a mini pizza about 4 3/4 inches across and 1/2 inch thick. (I just do it as thin as I can while pretending I'm making a pizza with Dad's secret recipe dough.)

Take one of your piles of filling and pop it into the middle of the dough. Pat it flat with your fingers, then slowly stretch the edges of the dough out, folding them back in over the pork mixture. Do this all the way around and, once closed, press down on the stuffed pancake with your hand. It should be about 1 inch thick and 3 1/4 inches across. (mine were wider because I find it easier than doing it on the frying pan...)

Do the same with the other 7 pancakes, then lay them on your oiled sheet pan and put them into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or so. After that, get a large dry frying pan on a medium heat. Add a tiny drizzle of oil and lay each pancake, folded side down, in the pan. Gently push down on them with a spatula to flatten them slightly. Keep doing this until they're about 1/2 inch thick and about 4 inches wide. Be careful that the pan's not too hot, though, otherwise your pancakes will brown before they're properly cooked through.

After about 4 minutes you'll have a nice golden color happening, so turn the pancakes over, push them down lightly, and cook them for 4 minutes on the other side. Only push down once on this side. When they're golden and crisp, the meat will be perfectly cooked, but you can always break one open to check.

To serve, pour some chile sauce into one bowl and some soy sauce into another. Pop a few wedges of lime on the side for squeezing over, and dunk away in your sauces. These pancakes hit all the right spots!

So yummy!

I have so much to tell you about Spain! The trip was incredible (duh!) and I will post an entry all about the food we tried once I get all the pictures together! I have already tried to make a couple of them at home!

I love you and miss you. I hope we can get together soon.


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