The resting of the dough at all stages is very important and guarantees the flakiness of the pancakes. Spring onions are referred to by many people as green onions.
250g plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp lard or peanut oil
220ml boiling water
6 spring onions
2 tsp salted black beans (optional)
2cm piece ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame oil, mixed with
2 tbsp peanut oil
Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Chop lard into 2-3 pieces and drop into measured boiling water to melt (or add oil to boiling water).
Make a well in the flour, pour in the liquid and, using a wooden spoon, mix to combine. Continue to work the dough in the bowl with your hands until it comes together. Tip on to floured workbench and knead for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Return to bowl and cover with a cloth for 20 minutes.
Discard the floppy green ends of the onions. Wash, dry and then finely slice the remaining green tops of onions and a little of the white part. Crush the black beans with the back of a spoon and mix with the onions. Mix in ginger.
To shape pancakes
Divide dough in half and roll each half into a sausage shape with your hands. Cut each roll into 8 pieces. Place cut end on a floured board and roll to a 10cm circle. Do the same with the other 15 pieces. Brush each circle with roasted sesame oil. Scatter over the onion mixture. Roll each pancake over the filling, pinching ends to seal. Each pancake should now resemble a cigar. Flatten very lightly with your hand. Roll up the pancake from the end like a snail. Pinch ends to seal and leave to rest on a plate, coiled side uppermost. Continue until all are done. Leave for 30 minutes, covered with a tea towel.
Flatten lightly with your hand and then dust workbench and rolling pin again with flour and roll out each flattened roll very thinly to a 12-14cm circle. Leave on a floured tray, not touching, and again covered with a tea towel for another 30 minutes.
Heat a heavy-based frying pan and brush with the oil mixture. Place in as many pancakes as will fit easily without overlapping (one or two for most pans) and cook over moderate heat 2-3 minutes each side. The pancake should bubble and develop golden-brown patches. Drain briefly on kitchen paper and serve at once. (Alternatively, keep warm in a low oven until all are fried.)
Makes: 16 pancakes