Cong you bing
|Cong you bing|
|Place of origin||China|
|Main ingredient(s)||Dough, scallions|
|Cong you bing|
|Literal meaning||scallion oil pancake|
A cong you bing (Chinese: 葱油饼; Mandarin pronunciation [tsʰʊ́ŋjǒʊpìŋ]) or scallion pancake is a savory, non-leavened flatbread folded with oil and minced scallions (green onions). It originates in Chinese culture. Unlike a true pancake, it is made from dough instead of batter. Variations exist on the basic method of preparation that incorporate other flavors and fillings (see below).
Scallion pancakes are available in China, and other areas of the world with ethnic Chinese populations, in restaurants and as a street food item, and are also commercially available packaged fresh or frozen solid in plastic packages (often in Asian supermarkets).
Variations and accompaniments
Other ingredients, such as chopped fennel greens and sesame seeds are sometimes added with the green onions. In some variants, green onions may be omitted and replaced by another filling of choice such as corn and diced bell peppers.
Another method for cooking scallion pancakes is to fry them with eggs coated on one side. There is another snack found in Taiwanese culture called the egg pancake (蛋餅), which is almost identical to the scallion pancake except that the dough of the egg pancake is thinner and moister.
A similar pancake may be made with garlic chives (jiucai) instead of scallions. Such a pancake is called a jiucai bing (韭菜饼) or jiucai you bing (韭菜油饼).
One variation involves leavening the dough and not flattening up the coil into a pancake. The coil is then fried or baked into a bread.
A Chinese dessert, the red bean pancake (豆沙鍋餅), is a variant in which green onions and salt are replaced with a sweet red bean paste.
Chinese legend surrounding the invention of pizza
There is a story in China that pizza is an evolution of the scallion pancake, brought back to Italy by Marco Polo. A humorous newspaper article, that also includes Marco Polo inventing cheese fondue when he is lost in the Alps and wants to eat Chinese hotpot, describes the invention of pizza this way:
Marco Polo missed scallion pancakes so much that when he was back in Italy, he tried to find chefs willing to make the pancake for him. One day, he managed to meet a chef from Naples at a friend's dinner party and persuaded him to try recreating the dish. After half a day without success, Marco Polo suggested the filling be put at the top rather than inside the dough. The change, by chance, created a dish praised by everyone at the party. The chefs returned to Naples and improvised by adding cheese and other ingredients and formed today's pizza.
Historical evidence in Europe suggests that pizza was not transmitted to Europe by Marco Polo, but existed in the Mediterranean long before his time. The first recorded use of the word "pizza" dates from 997 AD (in a Latin text from the town of Gaeta in southern Italy), more than 250 years before Marco Polo was born.
Similar dishes in Chinese culture, and in other cultures, exist:
- Laobing (Chinese culture)
- Paratha (Indian)
- Pajeon (Korean)
- Bánh xèo (Vietnamese)
- Negiyaki (ねぎ焼き?) variant of okonomiyaki (Japanese)
- Xinhua, 12 September 2007, "Pizza and Ice Cream: The Chinese Delicacies Marco Polo Brought Back to the West." (Chinese)
- "The History Of Pizza." The Nibble. Retrieved 2013-05-31.
- "Marco Polo & the Merchants of Venice." The Food Timeline. Retrieved 2013-05-31.
- Ceccarini, Rossella (2011). Pizza and Pizza Chefs in Japan: A Case of Culinary Globalization. Leiden: Brill. p. 19. ISBN 978-90-04-19466-3.