Dim sum at home paired with tea

May 12, 2009 4:37:44 PM PDT
A simple recipe for a dim sum dish, paired with a universally healthy drink.

Green Onion Pancakes
Makes: 3 pancakes, enough for 6 servings for a snack

This recipe is from Grace Fong of Imperial Tea Court with locations in San Francisco and Berkeley, CA. The Green Onion Pancakes are popular on her dim sum menu. These tasty pancakes are typically served as an appetizer, hot or at room temperature, with a mild tea such as green tea. Some people like to dip them into a spicy chili sauce. Note that Imperial Tea Court sells tea seed oil which it imports from China.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups organic unbleached flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Salt
  • Oil, such as tea seed oil, or peanut oil (for both flavoring and cooking)
  • 3 to 5 green onions, coarsely cut (use the whole onion, both white and green parts)
Process:
  1. Mix flour and water well. Form into a ball, then cover and let rest for about 20 minutes. You will have about one pound of dough.

  2. Divide the dough into three parts and roll out thin like pizza dough. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Brush lightly with oil. Spread the chopped onions on top. Fold over one edge and roll up like a small jellyroll, closing the ends. Hold both ends and twist by hand until each roll feels tight, and then flatten the roll. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Roll out flat to form pancakes that are 6 - 7 inches in diameter.

  3. To cook, heat a small amount of oil in a heavy skillet. Place pancakes in skillet and cook over medium heat. Cook about 4 or 5 minutes until pancake bottom is golden brown, then flip over and cook the other side.
Ferry Building Teahouse
Ferry Building Market Place
1 Ferry Building Plaza, #27
San Francisco, CA 94111
415-544-9830
Website: http://www.imperialtea.com

Berkeley Teahouse
In the Epicurious Garden
1511 Shattuck Avenue
(between Cedar and Vine)
Berkeley, CA 94709
510-540-8888
Website: http://www.imperialtea.com

About Roy Fong:
When one meets the affable Roy Fong, one might not immediately realize that he is one of the most serious tea practitioners in the world. He modestly describes himself as a "messenger" for tea. Fong is a native of Hong Kong who has now established his position as an international authority on Chinese teas. His book, The Great Teas of China, is due out in June 2009. The book will be a comprehensive guide to the teas of China, including sections concerning the history of tea in general, the origins of the varieties we know today, the various methods of tea processing and detailed discussions of the different methods of tea preparation and service.

In addition to maintaining active relationships with many tea growers and purveyors, he has built close ties with the historic pottery workshops of Yixing in Jiangsu province and imports dozens of exceptional "purple sand" teapots to the United States each year, many of which are his own special designs and commissions.

During his term as Head of Research & Development for the International Tea Masters Association, an organization he co-founded, Fong spent several years directing and personally overseeing the award-winning "Lotus Heart" Dragon Well tea program in the renowned West Lake area of Hangzhou, China. In 1997 an international jury awarded his "Imperial Green" tea first place at the Tea Masters annual conference.

In 1998, he was invited to participate in ceremonies commemorating the restoration of the tea gardens at Jingshan in Zhejiang province, one of the oldest and most significant tea sites in China, dating to the Tang dynasty (618-906 AD). An account of the historic event was published in the July/August 1998 issue of TEA magazine. Over the years Fong has served as a consultant and International Director for TEA, providing numerous articles on a wide variety of topics including tea history, production, and culture.

Presently Fong, an ordained Daoist priest, is endeavoring to reestablish the ancient rite of tea dating back to the time of China's greatest tea master, Lu Yu, who lived during the Tang dynasty and wrote his famous book the Cha Ching ("Tea Scripture") around the year 780. He continues to be active in the international tea industry, for example, serving as a judge at major tea competitions.

About Grace Fong:
Grace Fong grew up in Beijing, and immigrated to San Francisco in 1983 at the encouragement of her paternal grandmother who had moved to the Bay Area in 1960. As a child, she enjoyed being around her parents when they cooked. She describes her food at Imperial Tea Court as "Northern style home cooking," and says she prefers foods that are "simple, clean and use good ingredients." Before coming to the United States, she lived in Xian in the inland region of China during the Cultural Revolution of the early 1970s. Living there also influenced her approach to food. In San Francisco, she attended City College where she studied graphic design. She met her husband, Roy Fong, through friends in the United States and they jointly opened their original, highly esteemed Imperial Tea Court (now closed) in San Francisco's Chinatown.

Grace is known for giving as much attention to food as Roy gives to tea. For Grace, good ingredients are those that are organic and as fresh as possible. She says that another formative influence on her cooking was that Roy has been a picky eater at restaurants, so she has developed her cooking at home. The Fongs travel to China several times each year, yet another influence on her cooking. While meat and poultry are popular throughout China, Roy leans toward vegetarian dishes so Grace cooks both vegetarian and traditional recipes containing meat, seafood and poultry at Imperial Tea Court.

The Fongs have two girls, ages 19 and 12, who sometimes travel to China with their parents during school breaks. Grace's older daughter likes to bake and her younger daughter likes to watch Grace cook, though doesn't cook on her own.


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