Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beef Wrapped in Green Onion Pancakes

   If you are reading this, welcome to my first post! I will be sharing with you the recipe for these delicious Chinese-style beef wraps. Tender chunks of shredded beef stewed in soy sauce and five-spice are smothered in sweet Hoisin sauce and then rolled up inside savoury, crispy green onion pancakes - which are also delicious on their own.  The total prep time may be long but there isn't much actual work involved in making these wraps. Once the beef and pancakes are done, it's just a matter of preparing the simple sauce and then assembling the wraps. Not something you want to attempt if you are looking for a quick meal, but these wraps will definitely impress your guests at a dinner party.

Beef Filling:

What you will need:
3 lbs Beef shank/chuck
1 chopped shallot
6-8 cloves of garlic, crushed
1-2 dried red chilies
1 teaspoon of Chinese 5-spice powder
2 shitake mushrooms, dried or fresh
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
¼ cup of dark soy sauce
2 star anise
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into about 4 slices
3-4 cups of water, just enough to submerge the beef
2 tablespoons of cooking oil

  1. Add the oil to the pot and sear the beef on all sides on high heat. Then remove the beef and set it aside.
  2. Throw the chopped shallot, ginger and garlic into the pot and saute for a few minutes on medium heat until the shallot and garlic turn slightly brown.
  3. Put the beef back into the pot and add enough water to cover the beef. Then stir in the rest the ingredients - the five-spice powder, brown sugar, soy sauce, star anise, mushrooms and chilies.
  4. Bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for about 3 hours.

While waiting for the beef to finish cooking, go ahead and prepare the dough for the green onion pancakes.

Savoury Green Onion Pancakes:
What you will need (Makes 4):
2½ cups of all purpose flour (I use unbleached)
1 cup of hot water
1 teaspoon of salt
A good amount of vegetable oil
2-3 stalks of green onions, finely chopped
Sesame seeds
  1. Put the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt into a bowl and give it a good mix with your hands.
  2. Slowly stir in the water using a wooden spoon. Then, using your hands, form the mixture into a ball. 
  3. Take the dough out and knead the dough with your hands for a good 10 minutes or so on a flat surface. The dough should be soft, moist and a little sticky, but no so sticky that it leaves clumps of dough on your hands. If you find that it's too dry, wet your fingers with water and continue to knead. If it's too wet and sticky, dust it with a little flour and knead.
  4. Dip your fingers in some oil and rub a generous amount all over the dough. Then put the dough back into the bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let it rest for about 2 hours at room temperature.
  5. After 2 hours the dough should be moist and elastic. Divide it in two, then divide the halves in two again to make 4 equal portions.

  6. Shape one of the portions into a ball and then press it down flat with the palm of your hands. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a round shape of about 12 inches in diameter. Grease your fingers with some oil and then pull the edges of the dough and stretch it out to make the dough thinner. Don't worry if you make a small rip in the dough.

  7. Smear the surface of the dough with a little oil and then scatter a handful of green onions over the dough. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

  8. Roll up the dough into a long, thin cylindrical shape. Then starting from one end of the dough, roll it up again into a spiral-shaped bun. Tuck the loose end under the bun, bring it over to the top and press it down into the center of the bun.

  9. Flatten the bun with the palm of your hand and then roll it out with a rolling pin into a circle of about 10-12 inches in diameter. It will start to get messy as some of the green onions burst out from the edges of the dough. That's ok, just pick them off and continue rolling. Grease the rolling pin with oil if it sticks to the dough.
  10. Sprinkle the top with some sesame seeds and give it one last roll with the rolling pin to embed the seeds into the dough.

  11. Coat the frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the pancakes over medium heat. Fry on both sides until they're browned. Use a little more oil for crispier pancakes.

What you will need:
½ cup Hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons of the broth from the stewed beef

Put all the ingredients for the sauce into a bow and give it a good mix.

Assembling the wraps:
Shred the beef and spread some of the beef over a pancake. Drizze the sauce over the beef  and then roll up the pancake. Cut the wrap in half and serve.


  1. wow! you're really good at cooking. :) I was craving these, so I searched for a recipe and I just happened to find your first blog post. You have a really nice blog. I look forward to your future blog posts.

  2. Thank you for the kind words Esther! These pancakes take time to make but so worth it. Let me know how they turn out.

  3. Great recipe! I tried using store bought green onion pancakes (frozen and uncooked) but cooked my own beef shank. It's much easier saving time from working on the dough for the pancake. Yes, I cheated, but still taste great!

    1. Hahah ya actually I do that sometimes too...and no one has to know you cheated cuz u already know the recipe right? lol

  4. Thank you so much for your post! My hubby has been obssessing about beef rolls since we visited Canada! He has had 2 failed attempts. I will surprise him with these! Thanks again

    1. Lol you make it sound like these beef rolls are exclusive to Canada. Glad you like them and let me know how it goes.

  5. Do you have a favorite brand of store bought scallion pancake. I will try and make from scratch but for now, need a good store bought brand. Thanks again!

    1. I do but can't remember them off the top of my head. I have to do some grocery shopping over the weekend. Will take note and let you know.

    2. Here's what I usually get:
      The brand is King's Cook I believe.

  6. I went to Taiwan last year and ate "Beef Rolls" that were delicious, and sound very similar to your recipe... When I got back I was craving them so much that I started searching around and came across your recipe.

    A couple of months have passed, and I've just remembered that I wanted to try making them, so I started searching again, found your recipe, read all the way through it, only to find I had already bookmarked it! I'll be giving this a shot on the weekend, thanks ;)

  7. Good luck, hope it turns out well =) If you live in North America, most Chinese restaurants here are Cantonese so they may be a little harder to find. But if you know of any Chinese restaurants that specialize in northern Chinese cuisine, they will most likely have them on their menu.

  8. Just came across this. Do you know what hey are called in China? I ate something similar in Sichuan province. I don't know the name though.

    1. No I don't. Unfortunately my mandarin is a little rusty lol.

  9. Yum yum yum I love this stuff. Too bad it's not super good for you. Still, once in a while is OK. Like, once a week. Or day. :)

  10. hurray! hen hao, Kenny! I'm from Taiwan, live in Belize, & cook Asian alot of course. I will make this for the hubby--have retired from my restaurant of over 20 years, still love to cook. xie xie!

  11. Thanks for the recipe, I had this at a local restaurant recently. It will save me money just to make them home instead. The only difference is that they use short ribs.

  12. Man! Thanks a lot for the recipe. First time I ever had this was in Taiwan when I lived there as a kid. They are so good!. I think, no wait, I know I became chubby because of beef rolls ( well and a lot of sweet deserts).

    Move not to Van and they have this joint, Peaceful Noodle, and they serve a killer Beef roll. You should check it out if you around the area.

    Anyway. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. If you live in Alhambra, California, go to 101 Express Noodle. They serve a killing beef roll and cheap.

  14. Yummy, one of my favorites. thanks for sharing.