Easy Mandarin Pancakes

When it comes to cooking, it’s pretty clear that we’re big on tradition at The Woks of Life. But when we discover a quick and easy kitchen shortcut, we’re also eager to bring it to our readers’ attention! These mandarin pancakes, made with dumpling wrappers, are our latest discovery.

What Are Mandarin Pancakes?

Mandarin pancakes are thin pancakes made from a simple dough of flour, salt, and boiling water. The pancakes are cooked in a wok or frying pan and served as a “wrap” for dishes like Peking duck or moo shu (check out our recipes for moo shu chicken and vegetable moo shu).

Things to Serve with Mandarin Pancakes

Mandarin pancakes are like the Chinese version of a flour tortilla. Like a burrito, you decide what goes into it. In addition to the Peking duck, moo shu chicken, and vegetable moo shu dishes already mentioned, here are a few other dishes that would go nicely with Mandarin pancakes:

You can serve these along with lettuce leaves, sliced red onion, and/or julienned cucumber, scallions, cantaloupe, or carrots. You may also want to serve with some hoisin sauce or spicy bean sauce, depending on the filling. 

As you can see, with some cooked char siu pork, I was able to quickly put together the spread shown in these photos. 

Mandarin Pancakes with char siu, scallions, and canteloupe, thewoksoflife.comMandarin Pancakes with char siu, scallions, and canteloupe, thewoksoflife.com

In short, Mandarin pancakes are extremely versatile. So instead of taco night, how about a Mandarin pancake night? Sounds fun to me! 

The Shortcut: Dumpling Wrappers

If you’re looking for a traditional mandarin pancake recipe, we have that too. Click here to see it. While that recipe is relatively easy, making mandarin pancakes with dumpling wrappers is even easier. So if you’re short on time, this method is perfect. 

Making dumpling wrappers into a mandarin pancakes is a simple matter of stacking them, rolling them out, and steaming them. 

Each dumpling wrapper turns into one Mandarin pancake, so if you have leftover wrappers, simply wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag with all the air forced out of it. Then transfer to the freezer. Or better yet, turn them into scallion pancakes (another dumpling wrapper shortcut we shared this year)! 

Who knew a pack of dumpling wrappers could jazz up a meal this much? 

Other Shortcuts to Authentic Chinese Dishes!

Before we go into the recipe/method for these Mandarin pancakes, here are a few other shortcuts to Authentic Chinese dishes for you to try: 

  • Shortcut Scallion Pancakes: as we already mentioned, this is another winning application of dumpling wrappers, yielding a crisp, chewy scallion pancake that you’ll have to try yourself to believe! 
  • Asian Milkbread: a soft, fluffy milk bread recipe that you can make without the trouble of using tangzhong (a water/flour paste common in Asian bread recipes).
  • 20-Minute Congee: a simple technique to make a congee with slow-cooked flavor in just 20 minutes! 
  • Chinese Garlic Chive Boxes: Instead of making dough from scratch for these, we use spring roll wrappers!  

Ok, on to the recipe!

Easy Mandarin Pancakes with Dumpling Wrappers: Instructions

On a large, clean cutting board, place a dumpling wrapper in front of you. Brush the top lightly with oil, and stack another dumpling wrapper directly on top of it.

Brushing oil on dumpling wrapper, thewoksoflife.comBrushing oil on dumpling wrapper, thewoksoflife.com

Brush lightly with oil and repeat these steps until you have 8-10 layers. Each wrapper should be brushed with oil except the very top layer (the oil keeps the layers separated, even after rolling and steaming). 

Brushing layers of dumpling wrappers with oil, thewoksoflife.comBrushing layers of dumpling wrappers with oil, thewoksoflife.com

Gently press the stack with your palm to flatten. You can also gently press with the side of your rolling pin, moving the rolling pin up and down the circle so that it flattens evenly. Make an effort to keep the stack even! Turn the stack upside down and repeat the same actions on the reverse side. 

Pressing stack of dumpling wrappers with rolling pin, thewoksoflife.comPressing stack of dumpling wrappers with rolling pin, thewoksoflife.com

Once the stack has increased by about 50% of its original diameter, start rolling. Every so often, turn the stack a quarter turn to the right or left to maintain its round shape. Roll until the diameter of the stack is around 7 inches (about 18 cm).

Repeat the above steps to ensure you make enough pancakes. You can steam up to 2 stacks together (just remember to brush oil between the two stocks so they don’t stick). If you need to make more, you can do so using a multi-level steamer or steam them in batches. 

Steaming stack of mandarin pancakes, thewoksoflife.comSteaming stack of mandarin pancakes, thewoksoflife.com

Set up your steamer, and bring the water to boil. Steam each batch for 10 minutes. Once the steamed wrappers are cool to the touch, peel each layer to separate. Thanks to the oil, they should come apart easily. Keep them covered under a warm, damp kitchen towel before and during serving to prevent them from drying out.

Note: It’s also important to keep the dumpling wrappers under a damp kitchen towel or paper towel while you’re rolling the wrappers to prevent them from drying out. When exposed to air, especially in dry climates, they will dry out quickly.

Keeping dumpling wrappers under damp towel, thewoksoflife.comKeeping dumpling wrappers under damp towel, thewoksoflife.com

Once the pancakes are done steaming, you can gently pull them apart.

Pulling apart mandarin pancakes, thewoksoflife.comPulling apart mandarin pancakes, thewoksoflife.com

We then folded them and put them on a plate.

Folding mandarin pancake for serving, thewoksoflife.comFolding mandarin pancake for serving, thewoksoflife.com

Folding mandarin pancake, thewoksoflife.comFolding mandarin pancake, thewoksoflife.com

A folded mandarin pancake, thewoksoflife.comA folded mandarin pancake, thewoksoflife.com

At this point, you can keep them on the plate and hold them until you’re ready to serve. Right before serving, you can steam them again for a few minutes to reheat.

Plate of mandarin pancakes, thewoksoflife.comPlate of mandarin pancakes, thewoksoflife.com

We served our mandarin pancakes with char siu, hoisin sauce, and julienned scallions, cucumber, and cantaloupe.

Mandarin pancakes with fixings, thewoksoflife.comMandarin pancakes with fixings, thewoksoflife.com

To assemble, spread a little hoisin sauce on the pancake…

Putting hoisin sauce on mandarin pancake, thewoksoflife.comPutting hoisin sauce on mandarin pancake, thewoksoflife.com

Followed by your other fixings.

Mandarin pancake with fixings, thewoksoflife.comMandarin pancake with fixings, thewoksoflife.com

Then roll it up into a burrito…

Rolled mandarin pancake, thewoksoflife.comRolled mandarin pancake, thewoksoflife.com

And enjoy!

Mandarin pancake roll, thewoksoflife.comMandarin pancake roll, thewoksoflife.com


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