Crispy Scallion + Sesame Pancakes
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sesame seeds, salt, 1 Tbsp of the sesame oil, and the boiling water. The dough should just come together, but it will be far from smooth and instead quite shaggy and a bit dry. Although you might be tempted to add more water at this point, please resist, as the dough will come together beautifully once you knead it. If there are lots of crumbs and it’s not coming together at all, you can add a tiny splash more water, 1 or 2 Tbsp at most (variables like how you measure your flour and the humidity in the room can affect the dough, and it’s in these variables that the nuances of working with dough of all kinds live).
  2. Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Transfer the dough to it and then shape the dough into a large ball. To knead the dough, press it with the heel of your hand, pushing it away from you. Immediately pull it back, folding the top of the dough back on itself. Kneading is all about this push-and-pull action. Give the dough a little clockwise turn each time you complete a push-and-pull sequence so it gets evenly worked, and knead it until its surface is completely smooth and the whole thing feels both solid and soft at the same time. It will take a full 5 minutes of kneading. If the dough sticks to your hands or the work surface as you’re kneading, dust the surface with more flour.
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it relax for an hour. It won’t rise much during that time, but it will be a lot more relaxed and easy to roll out because kneading develops gluten. Gluten is basically like an elastic band, and it is very hard to roll out an elastic band—or this dough—that’s tightly wound (perhaps we could all use an hour to relax now and then?).
  4. While the dough is resting, in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, and the remaining 1 Tbsp sesame oil. Reserve the mixture. This is also a good time to slice your scallions if you haven’t already and set them aside.
  5. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into six equal pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place it on your lightly floured surface and, using a rolling pin, roll it out into a thin circle about 8 in [20 cm] in diameter. Brush the surface with about 1 tsp of the canola oil and top with one-sixth of the scallions (about 3 Tbsp). Roll up the dough circle into a tight cylinder, as if rolling up a tiny yoga mat or making a cigar. Shape the cylinder into a tight coil (like coiling a rope) and tuck the little tail of the spiral underneath the dough. Use your trusty rolling pin to flatten the dough once again, this time into a slightly smaller circle about 6 in [15 cm] in diameter. If a few scallions pop out, don’t worry. If the dough fights you at all and resists rolling, cover it with your plastic wrap or towel and let it rest for 10 minutes, then roll again. Repeat to make the remaining five pancakes.
  6. Place a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 Tbsp of the canola oil. When the oil is hot, add a pancake and cook, turning it a few times as it cooks, until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 5 minutes total (don’t be tempted to turn up the heat to high or the outside will cook before the inside gets a chance to cook). Repeat the process with the remaining pancakes, adding the remaining 1 Tbsp canola oil as needed, plus a little more if that runs out.
  7. Cut the pancakes into wedges and serve immediately, with the soy sauce mixture on the side for dipping.