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Mandarin Pancakes

Serves 4-5.


250 g/8 oz/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
185 ml/6 fl oz/3/4 cup boiling water,
plus 1 tablespoon extra
1 tablespoon oriental sesame oil


Measure unsifted flour into a bowl. Bring water to the boil and pour at
once onto the flour, stirring with chopsticks or the handle of a wooden
spoon for a few minutes. As soon as it is cool enough to handle, knead
for 10 minutes until the mixture is a soft, smooth dough. Form into a
ball, wrap closely in plastic and let it stand for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into a cylindrical shape and cut it into 10 slices of
equal width. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. Take one
slice at a time and cut into 2 equal pieces. Form each one into a
smooth ball, then roll out on a lightly floured board to circles about
8 cm (3 in) in diameter. Brush one circle lightly with sesame oil,
taking it right to the edges. Put the second circle on top of the first
one and roll again, both circles together this time, until the pancakes
are 15-18 cm (6-7 in) across.

They must be very thin. Cover each pancake with plastic as it is made.
When all are rolled out, heat a heavy frying pan or griddle and cook
pancakes one at a time on the ungreased surface. Cook over low heat
until the pancake develops small bubbles. Turn it frequently so that it
cooks on both sides. A few golden spots will appear.

Remove from pan and gently pull the 2 circles apart. The sesame oil
they were brushed with makes this quite easy. Pile cooked pancakes on a
plate, and cover tightly or they will dry out. Pancakes should be soft
and pliable, not brittle. To re-heat, arrange the pancakes in a steamer
lined with a clean towel, cover and put over simmering water for 1-2
minutes. To serve, fold each pancake into quarters.

Serve with Peking Duck. They can also be used to enclose a variety of fillings such as shredded pork or chicken.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)

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