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Spring onion cakes

Makes 8

Taken from Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion (which is a fantastic field to fork book that I highly recommend).

This is a simple recipe, but it requires several steps with waiting periods in between. So you need to set aside two hours to make these cakes (which really are a side dish), more if you have little helpers.

Ingredients

125g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp salt
20g hard fat (the original recipe said lard *shudder*; I used butter)
100ml water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp salted black beans (these are preserved black beans that you will find in any Asian supermarket. Alternatively, contact Mike & Jessica who have a large pot they’re more than willing to share!)
1cm piece fresh ginger
3 spring onions, trimmed & finely chopped

oil for frying

Directions

  1. Mix the flour & salt in a bowl.
  2. Melt the fat in the water in a small saucepan over a low heat, then tip into the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon to form a dough.
  3. Once the dough is cool enough to handle, remove it from the bowl and knead for a minute.
  4. Then pop it back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel, & leave to rest for 30 mins.
  5. Rinse the black beans, and then mush them up in a small bowl with the back of a teaspoon.
  6. Mix the mushed beans, ginger, and spring onion together.
  7. Take the ball of dough & divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a small round and brush lightly with sesame oil.
  8. Divide the filling between each dough round, spreading it lightly over the top of each piece.
  9. Then roll each piece up like a cigar, squash down the ends, and roll the cigar up to make a little snail shape.
  10. Leave the dough snails to rest for 30 mins, covered with a tea towel.
  11. Dust the dough snails with flour, and then roll them into small rounds. Cover with the tea towel & leave to rest for 30 mins.
  12. Put your oven on its lowest heat (100C/gas ¼) and put a tray or oven-proof plate with kitchen towel on inside.
  13. Now you’ll need either a reasonably large frying pan, or a wok, with a generous amount of oil. Heat the oil, and then fry the cakes - as many as you can fit into your pan in a single layer - on both sides until golden brown. While each batch cooks, put the ones already fried onto the plate in the oven to keep warm/drain off excess oil.
  14. Serve hot with some kind of Chinese food, such as a lovely fresh vegetable stir fry. You could even make a black bean sauce of your own to go with that!

This recipe tastes even better made with vegetables from Community Harvest Whetstone :)
Spring onion cakes close up

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