Most countries have to their credit some type of dish using the ubiquitous pancake. In China, Mandarin pancakes are used as wrappers for Peking duck or a moo shu dish made with shredded ingredients. They are similar to Mexican tortillas but are thinner and chewier. They are easy to make, and the ones you don’t use freeze very well. Rolling out and cooking them in pairs ensures the thinnest and most delicate pancakes possible. If you have leftover pancakes, you can use them as a wrap for scrambled eggs.

MAKES 12 PANCAKES

1 cup unbleached white flour

ВЅ cup boiling water

1 tablespoonВ Asian sesame oilimage

  1. Put the flour in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the boiling water. Gradually incorporate the water into the flour by stirring with a wooden spoon from the center outward. When the flour and water are mixed, turn the dough onto a lightly floured board or work surface.
  2. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, at least 7 minutes. Leave the dough on the board or work surface, cover it with a damp cloth or towel, and let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Cut the dough in half. Roll each half into a 6-inch log. Cut each log into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a round ball, then flatten each ball into a 3-inch circle. Lightly brush some sesame oil on 6 of the circles. Place each oiled circle face down on an unoiled circle. You should now have 6 pairs.
  4. On a lightly floured board roll each pair into 6-inch circles, turning the dough occasionally as you roll in order to keep the circles as round as possible.
  5. Heat a medium or large skillet over medium heat. Cook the pancakes, 1 pair at a time, for 30 seconds on each side; they should have a few brown flecks on them when they are done. After each pair is cooked, gently separate the halves and stack them. Keep them covered with a dry towel.
  6. Serve immediately, or reserve and reheat by folding each pancake into quarters and steaming them in a steamer for about 3 minutes. (A vegetable steamer works well.)

NOTE: To freeze, thoroughly wrap the stack of pancakes in aluminum foil, then place in a plastic bag. Defrost before using. Reheat as in step 6.