Chinese Scallion Pancakes: The Remake

The other evening, my friend Eternal Optimist and I went to see a movie (Friends with Benefits–surprisingly enjoyable, and I even liked Justin Timberlake in it!).  We both love watching the trailers before the film, but what struck us this time was how many of them were actually promoting remakes of old movies.  First was Planet of the Apes (okay, technically a prequel), followed by Straw Dogs.  Even the main attraction itself was sort of a remake (of When Harry Met Sallyoh, and pretty much every rom-com ever written). It got me thinking about the concept of remakes in general: you know, those revised, updated versions of established classics.

For instance, did you know that the movie King Kong has been made at least three times (seven if you count all the sequels and “Sons of–“)?  Dracula: seven times (not to mention and entire page on Wikipedia devoted to spinoffs and related films).  Invasion of the Body Snatchers: five times.  Heck, even Freaky Friday has had two remakes! And (in my humble opinion), each remake is just slightly less effective, less interesting, less engaging than the previous version.

I feel the same way about books made into movies, for the most part.  How many times have you read a book, then seen the movie, only to be bitterly disappointed?  (Though I must admit I’m really looking forward to The Help on the big screen; and most people would agree that The Godfather was a better film than novel). With novels, imagination allows for any manner of individual, idiosyncratic characters, appearances, voices, and so on.  When you see a movie, it’s all distilled into one face, one voice, one set of mannerisms–there’s no way you can envision anything that isn’t already right in front of you.

I have noticed that certain things, however, do improve with a little revision.  In the past, when I lectured at the college where I teach, I’d sometimes have to present the same course to three different groups of students. Each time I delivered the material, I’d think of a new detail to add, or an additional example to illustrate a point.  By the third class, I was really rocking, and those students always received the most detailed, most engaging lecture of the three. Similarly, working on refining a recipe usually leads to improvements each time you “remake” it.

When I switched to a gluten-free diet back in March 2009,  it seemed a little overwhelming to create tasty foods I could eat. Back then, it never entered my mind to “remake” any of the original recipes on this blog.  Eventually, once I was familiar with gluten free flours and low glycemic sweeteners, I began to play with some of the recipes in my cookbook, Sweet Freedom (and by the way–did you happen to notice who included my book in her “Going Vegan with Ellen” website?! Whooooopeeeee!!).  I’ve now re-made the Butterscotch Blondies, Fluffy Fruited PancakesCinnamon-Walnut Coffee Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Seed Jumble Cookies, and a few others using my all-purpose gluten-free flour mix in place of the spelt, and every one has come out great!

My sweet successes led me to experiment with other flour-heavy recipes as well, just to see what I could make of them.  Last week, I remembered these Chinese Scallion Pancakes, one of the most popular recipes on the blog (and one that the HH and I absolutely adored back in the days when we would meet for lunch during the workweek).  What if I could re-create those pancakes to taste just as appetizing as the original?  What if we didn’t need to frequent a restaurant to enjoy some chewy, salty, green onion-y flatbreads with our lunch?  What if I suddenly lost 15 pounds and had perfectly toned triceps (oops, sorry; wrong fantasy there).  What if–??

And so, I give you gluten free Chinese Scallion Pancakes.  I have to admit that the process was much easier than even I anticipated; I simply subbed a mix of all purpose flour and sweet rice flour (also called glutenous rice flour) for the spelt, and–presto–the recipe worked perfectly the very first time!  I’ve since made these two more times (just to be sure the recipe works, you understand) and they’ve come out beautifully both times. The exterior is browned and crisp; the interior is moist, delightfully chewy, with the murmur of caramelized green onion strewn here and there.  Great on their own, or with a spread or dip of your choice.

Now, if only I can figure out how to remake my triceps . . .

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I’m submitting this recipe to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Cybele’s Allergy-Friendly Fridays event and my Wellness Weekend event this week.

Last Year at this Time: Sweet Freedom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies: Gluten Free! (ACD Stage 3 and beyond; gluten free)

Two Years Ago: Feeling Snacky: Crunchy Stalks and Branches (homemade version of of Mary’s Sticks and Twigs) (ACD Stage 2 and beyond; gluten free)

You Might Also Like: Cheela (Chickpea Pancakes) (ACD All Stages; gluten free)

© Ricki Heller

[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]



  1. Oh YUM!

  2. what about organic toasted sesame oil in place of the Evoo or coconut oil for a more asian flavor?

    • Cristina, I think that would work, though I think sesame oil has a lower smoke point than coconut, so it might burn more easily? Most of the recipes online use peanut oil, but that’s out for me. 🙂

  3. You forgot Dexter–a much better show than the book, in my opinion. 🙂

  4. I wonder if I could use little chunks of asparagus in place of the scallions? Not a fan of things that taste oniony. Your pictures made me think of quesadillas. I bet your pancakes would be good with some salsa, sans onions of course 😉

    • Laureen, I don’t see why asparagus (or any chopped veggie) wouldn’t work. I like your idea of using these for quesadillas (though they’re a bit thick for that, I think). 🙂

  5. Wow I love the idea of you revisiting some of your old recipes – reminds those of us who can eat gluten about them and gives an alternative to the gf acd ones. I still must try these.

    Agree with you about remakes and esp about books to movie – I am reading Eat Pray Love and enjoying it but when I mentioned it to my mum she wasn’t interested because she didn’t like the film.

    BTW I just posted a remake of a recipe I posted ages ago – makes me realise how much my cooking has changed over a few years even without the sort of drastic changes you have made.

    • Yay! Thanks, Johanna! I’ve been asking myself, “why can’t you have that? Or that? Or THAT?” as I go through old blog posts, so it seemed a natural outcome. 🙂 And I also agree with your mum about Eat, Pray, Love (then again, it stars Julia Roberts, so no wonder I was “meh” about it). Must go check your your remake as well!

  6. Movie remakes? Just think about stories like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice! They never stop! And absolutely, most remakes are “less than”. That horrific teenybopper-giggly Keira Knightley P&P versus Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth? No contest!

    Wait, where was I? 😛

    Thank you for this recipe. Despite the fact that my family and I often ate in Chinese restaurants growing up, we never had these as my mum has always been wheat intolerant (at least, as long as I’ve been alive). So wonderful to know I can treat her to something entirely new for her, safely!

    • I agree totally–I thought the Gwyneth Paltrow version was the best. And glad to know that this recipe will bring some at-home culinary enjoyment to your family! 🙂

      • Sorry to butt in here, wasn’t that “Emma”? I only saw a bit of the Keira Knightley remake of “Pride and Prejudice” (only because someone else had it on) and wholeheartedly agree that the Colin Firth one is hands-down the best.

        Getting back to the subject, I don’t think I’m familiar with these pancakes; I’ve had Chinese food countless times but pancakes were never ordered. I’d definitely like to give them a try. Thanks, Ricki!

        • Um, oops. .. yes, you’re right! How could I have forgotten? But I’m pretty sure about the pancakes, though (I definitely ordered them at a Chinese restaurant!). 🙂

  7. this looks fantastic, ricki!!

  8. I love the original Freaky Friday with Jodi Foster! So good…I haven’t seen it for years, but now I really really want to 🙂

    I am excited to try your blondies with your gluten free flour mix! I love those blondies, and I have been missing them…I am glad to know your gluten free mix works for them.


  9. I can almost taste these little savories just by looking at the picture. And, bonus, no oven heat added to our already too hot weather! Thanks Ricki!!

  10. LOVE this recipe Ricki!

  11. Ricki,
    I love your writing almost as much as your recipes! These pancakes must be on the menu this week. And, as for the Ellen mention, congratulations!

  12. You’re so right about teaching the same stuff to more than one class. That last group gets the best lecture!

    Until recently, I’ve been leary of veganizing, or “re-making” old, favorite recipes that may include dairy or eggs. I’ve tried a few, mostly desserts, and so far, so good!

    Maybe re-makes of food are better than re-makes of movies!

    • Just to clarify, this isn’t a vegan re-make of an omni recipe; it’s a gluten-free remake of a glutenous recipe. The original was vegan, too. 🙂

  13. These are awesome Ricki! I might have to whip some of these up! I’m going to see The Help on Monday night! Can’t wait.

  14. I love scallion pancakes and haven’t had them in years! I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  15. just tweeted this, so that everyone out there can enjoy scallion pancakes. yum!

  16. OMG! You are on Ellen’s Web site! Woohoo!

  17. Oh yumm I would much rather eat your Chinese scallion pancakes than the ones at the restaurants!

  18. My pancakes came out dense and chewy rather than flaky like the gluten filled ones I know from living in China. Was that poor execution on my part or a difference with your recipe? They were delicious either way. I paired them with a sweet sauce made with coconut aminos, rice wine vinegar, and honey reminiscent of the traditional dipping sauce. Thanks.

    • Mine are a little more chewy than the traditional ones, but do have a bit of flakiness as well. It might be cooking time? I find if they’re the least bit undercooked, the GF ones tend toward moist/chewy in the middle–that might be it? Your pairings sound delicious in any case! 🙂

  19. Hi, I know I’m late to the party only finding this recipe now, but it looks delish. I was wondering if the xanthan gum could be replaced with psyllium husk powder, or would it not be a suitable substitute? Thanks for such tasty recipes!

    • Hi Elle, for this particular recipe, I do recommend the xanthan gum, as the texture will be much more like the traditional pancakes. Psyllium is great (I love it and use it in lots of other recipes), but I fear it might create a bit too gummy a product here. Sorry!


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