My dad was born in China to missionary parents. My grandparents along with their children left China at the end of World War II after spending almost two years in a Japanese-run internment camp.

My Grandma Baltau learned to make gyoza and scallion cakes there (though she used lard and white or brown onions). It was my dad’s favorite food. Gyoza, dumplings or some version of potstickers can be found most places nowadays, but the scallion cakes are hard to find.

Labor intensive, but they require few ingredients (water, flour, salt, butter and scallions or onions). I’ve made them for as long as I can remember.

Today I made two batches of them. Took most of the day. Took my boys less than 15 minutes to eat them all… Well, I might have hid a few in the freezer for a future treat.

Neil said it made him think of home.


I start with 2-3 cups of flour, add less then a cup of boiling water. Mix it till a dough ball forms. I add water or flour until the dough is formed and it is not sticky. I divide the ball in half and put on a plate and cover it before tucking it into the refrigerator. Let it sit an hour.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface (lots of flour). Get it about 1/4 inch think. Spread butter across it, sprinkle with salt and chopped scallions. Roll it up like a jelly roll. I cut this in 4-5 sections.

Take each section and press the ends together to keep the butter and scallions inside. Then roll it into a ball, then roll it out to the size of a pancake. Keep going till they are all done. I stack them, separated by parchment paper.

Fry them up and serve with soy sauce. We put soy sauce in a bowl, dilute with a little water and dip away. It’s pretty close to heaven.

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