Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Beijing style courgette pancake 老北京糊塌子

I didn't know they have courgette (zucchini) in China, all the time I thought courgette is a Western vegetable. Oriental courgette (zucchini) is similar to western type but the skin is usually much lighter in colour, like pastel green. In China they called courgette 'si hu lu 西葫蘆'.

There is one Beijingnese favourite snack 'xiao chi 小吃' it's courgette pancake which the Beijingnese given it a funny name called 'hu tat zi 糊塌子or 葫塌子' loosely means fallen paste. This pancake is very easy to make and nothing special about the ingredients. What I love is the dipping sauce its strong and tasty but not too friendly if you are on a date or expecting to kiss someone :-)

Here is the recipe:

1. Dipping sauce

4 tbsp Chinkiang black rice vinegar
1.5 tbsp light soy
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1.5 - 2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

Mix everything together and leave for a while. This sauce is very garlicky if you don't like it too strong use less garlic.

2. Pancakes

2 - 3 courgettes (zucchini) about 500g, grated using a coarse cheese grater, I used a extra coarse microplane

2 large eggs

150 - 170g white bread flour, you can also use plain or all purpose. I find bread flour makes better pancakes is easier to flip without worrying pancake will break.

1 tbsp light soy

1/2 tsp chicken stock powder (optional if you don't like using it)

plenty of freshly ground pepper

about 80 - 90ml water

oil (for frying pancakes use only not for batter)

Mix everything together except water, then gradually add enough water to make a spreadable pancake batter consistency. Amount of water depends on juice content of the courgette and flour used. Leave for about 10 - 15 minutes before cooking.

To make the pancakes, I used a 8 inch frying pan. Heat the pan till hot. Lightly brush the pan with oil (I used a silicone brush). Pour in about 1/3 cup batter then spread the batter as thin as possible with a cooking spatula. You can also make mini pancakes or larger one if using a large frying pan. Fry the pancakes at medium to medium high heat. When the top layer is almost dry, brush lightly with a touch of oil. When the bottom is brown, flip over and fry the other side till brown. Fold into quarters. Cover cooked pancakes with clean tea towel to keep them warm while you make the remaining pancakes.

Serve pancakes with dipping sauce.

Great for lunch or snack with plenty of beer.


  1. Never considered the origins of courgettes (zuchinni) either. I know that in HK it tends to be the paler green varieties too - lebanese types that you can find in the Turkish Food shops. They don't seem to have the dark green variety that we see commonly here.

    Saying that, when we moved into our home (4yrs ago) I started growing a few of our own veggies and I did successfully grow pale green courgettes. They fruited prolifically and I gave so many away to friends and my mum - (she gave some to her friend who said they were so tasty and incredibly sweet!). I believe HK people call it 脆玉瓜 (maybe mis-spelt!).
    Am happy to say that I have these courgettes growing again in the agrden this year!

  2. You're right they called it 'choi yuk kwa 脆玉瓜' in HK.


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