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Chinese Scallion Cakes
This recipe is a bit unusual but quite good. These fried patties feature scallions trapped between the layers. In China, they're served alone as a light meal with tea or wine, but you may want to try serving them as a hot hors d'oeuvre. The recipe is adapted from Chinese Cooking by Yan Kit Martin.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon cold water
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons margarine, at room temperature
1-1/3 cups chopped scallions
canola or peanut oil
Sift the flour into a large bowl. Pour in the boiling water gradually, mixing with a fork as you pour. Work the dough with your fingers while it is still warm until well mixed. Add the cold water and knead for 2-3 minutes. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
Lightly wipe your rolling surface and a rolling pin with sesame oil. Place the dough on the oiled surface. Knead a few times, shape into a roll, and cut into four equal pieces. Adding oil as necessary, roll out one piece into a 6-inch circle. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, pressing the salt into the surface. Spread 1 tablespoon butter on the surface, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup chopped scallions.
Roll the circle of dough up like a jelly roll, taking care not to lose any scallions. Pinch the ends closed, then roll each end toward the center. Lift one end and put it on top of the other, then twist the two ends in opposite directions and press down to make a ball. (Although this sounds complicated, it actually happens almost in one motion.) With the rolling pin, gently roll the ball into a patty 6 inches across. Don't worry if a few scallions burst through the dough. Repeat for the other pieces of dough.
Heat a heavy frying pan on high until hot, then add 1 tablespoon of canola or peanut oil and reduce heat to medium low. Add as many cakes as will fit, cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until spotted brown. Turn over, recover, and cook the other side. Drain on a paper towel and keep warm. Repeat with other cakes, as necessary. Cut each cake into wedges and serve immediately. These can be made ahead of time and reheated. They also freeze well.