Summer al fresco dining is a favourite Australian pastime and there’s no better way to whip up a few snacks for sunset than via Stevan Paul’s book Dining at Dusk (Murdoch Books). Stevan’s wonderful recipes include tapas, antipasti, mezze, ceviche and aperitifs from around the world. He even offers world music suggestions to play while enjoying his dishes (see below). This Chinese spring onion pancakes recipe from the book is a great start!
(makes 12 pancakes)
360 g (1½ cups) flour (type 405, plus extra for dusting)
1 level tsp baking powder
220 ml (7½ fl oz) warm water
1–2 drops sesame oil
4 spring onions
Oil for frying
6 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp hot sweet chilli sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
Combine the flour, baking powder and a little salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with dough hooks. Add the warm water. Combine and knead to a smooth dough. Continue to knead at low speed until pliable, about 5 minutes. This can also be done manually or with the dough hook of an electric mixer. Shape the dough into a ball. Brush thinly with sesame oil, cover with a clean dish towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 even pieces and shape into balls. Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the balls into thin rounds. Slice the spring onions finely, season lightly with salt and divide among the dough rounds. Roll up the dough and shape the rolls into snails. Roll out the snails into thin rounds again.
Preheat the oven to 80°C (175°F). Heat a little oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the pancakes until golden brown, about 3–4 minutes per side. Keep the cooked pancakes warm in the oven. Slice and serve with dipping sauce.
For the dipping sauce: Combine the soy sauce, chilli sauce and rice vinegar and serve with the pancakes.
MUSIC: Chinese Man is a French music project whose founders, Zé Mateo, SLY and High Ku, collaborate with various artists to create music that fuses trip hop and jazz grooves with hip-hop and sampled world music. Their 2009 album “The Groove Sessions, Vol. 2” is just perfect for the sunset.