Sourdough Dashi Scallion Pancakes Recipe

20200713 sourdough discard scallion pancakes tim chin 2

[Photograph: Tim Chin]

One of the trickiest parts of maintaining a sourdough starter is figuring out what to do with all that extra unused starter that accumulates as you feed your culture. Sure, you could be reckless and throw it out (it’s called “discard,” after all). But why not use your starter to make some other delicious carby concoction? Many sourdough-discard recipes fall into two camps: pancakes and crackers. In contrast to the painstaking process of baking a proper loaf, these discard recipes are meant to be quick, simple, and satisfying. Since you’re not relying on slow leavening, the starter is primarily there for its distinctive sour flavor.

Here’s one more idea to add to your sourdough-discard recipe card file: a funky take on thin, savory scallion pancakes that requires just a few staple ingredients. These pancakes are crepe-like, crispy on the edges and tender toward the center. They’re great for wraps, as a side for roast chicken, or just as a quick snack.

To keep the pancakes thin but lacy (and slightly crisp on the edges), I whisk in some milk to thin out the starter, forming the base of a batter. Milk provides subtle sweetness, and the milk solids allow for enhanced browning due to caramelization of the milk sugars. A healthy dose of instant dashi powder evokes flavors of Japanese okonomiyaki—complementing the sourness of the starter with smoky and subtle seafood notes.* The best part? This recipe uses just one bowl and one pan, embodying the ethos of a quick, efficient discard recipe.

* Say all you want about the perils of MSG and processed ingredients, but I love “Hondashi” and find it to be a powerful tool in the kitchen. And so does Sho, apparently. Plus, Ajinomoto, the company behind “Hondashi” is arguably the world’s leading authority on all things related to umami. What other company in the world is chock full of scientists and engineers who have dedicated their lives to pushing the limits of savory flavor?

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