This dish, a specialty of the Chiu Chow, calls for a vegetable native to southern China, the water squash, or soi guah in Cantonese. It gets its name from the fact that it is customarily planted along riverbanks, lakeshores, and the edges of fish ponds so that its vines can draw nourishing water. It’s a summer vegetable and only occasionally available in Chinese markets, but zucchini can be used in its place. The squashes have a similar texture and both are green and long, though the water squash tends to be larger, growing to 18 inches in length with a diameter of more than 3 inches. Look for zucchini about 7 inches long and weighing about 12 ounces each.–Eileen Yin-Fei Lo
LC Unexpected And Exceptional Note
We quite fancy these unexpected and exceptional appetizers, which juxtapose sweet and salty, crisp and tender. Sorta gotta experience them to truly understand.
Squash Pancakes Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 25 M
- Serves 4 to 6
- 2 tablespoons raw peanuts
- 1 1/2 cups peeled zucchini cut into 1/2 inch thick slices and then cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
- 3 tablespoons scallions cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
- 4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- Pinch white pepper
- 3 1/2 to 5 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1. First, dry roast the peanuts. Heat a wok over high heat for 30 seconds. Add the peanuts, spread them in a single layer, lower the heat to medium, and let roast for 30 seconds. Turn the peanuts over and stir continuously for about 5 minutes, or until they are light brown. Turn off the heat and transfer the peanuts to a dish. Allow them to cool completely, then place them on a sheet of waxed paper and crush them with a rolling pin.
- 2. In a large bowl, combine the peanuts, zucchini, scallions, egg, soy sauce, wine, flour, sugar, and pepper and stir until a smooth batter forms.
- 3. Heat the wok over high heat for 1 minute. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil and, using the spatula, coat the wok with the oil. If making a single pancake, pour in the batter and spread in a thin layer. Using both handles of the wok, move the wok over the burner in a circular motion so the pancake moves around as well and does not stick. Cook for about 2 1/2 minutes, or until the bottom browns. If making individual pancakes, separate the batter into 4 equal portions. Then, cook each smaller pancake, 1 at a time. Using both handles of the wok, move the wok over the burner in a circular motion so the pancake moves around as well and does not stick. Cook for about 2 1/2 minutes, or until the bottom browns.
- 4. Slide the pancake from the wok onto a large, flat plate. Invert the pancake onto a second plate of the same size. Lift off the top plate. Slide the pancake, browned side up, back into the wok and lower the heat to medium. Cook, occasionally patting the pancake down with the spatula, for about 3 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed so that the pancake is neither undercooked nor burned, and add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil only if the pan becomes too dry and the pancake begins to stick. The pancake is done when the zucchini has softened and tiny brown spots appear on the second side.
- 5. Turn off the heat. Slide the pancake(s) onto a heated platter, cut into wedges, and serve.
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Squash Pancakes Recipe © 2009 Eileen Yin-Fei Lo. Photo © 2009 Susie Cushner. All rights reserved.