News / Edmonton

Green onion cakes proposed as City of Edmonton's official dish

They’re circular, they’re edible and green onion cakes are Edmonton’s unofficial dish of choice, according to one Edmontonian.

Salma Kaida has been working hard at convincing locals the deep-fried food has become a staple at local festivals and restaurants much like Quebec’s poutine dish and Halifax’s donair claim.

With a blog and a Make Something Edmonton web post dedicated solely to the dish, Kaida wants to make it official.

“There’s something about green onion cakes and this city that really get along,” she said.

Green onion cakes aren't native to Edmonton and as explained by Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) officials, the popular dish is a traditional northern Chinese food. It was first brought to Edmonton in the 1980s after the city saw an influx of Chinese immigrants, many of which came from northern parts of the country.

One of those immigrants decided to open up a restaurant and after needing a supplemental income, he started making green onion cakes at festivals, said museum officials. Since then, it has become a popular food staple at many local festivals such as Taste of Edmonton and Edmonton International Fringe Festival.

“It’s one of those trusted dishes that everybody just loves,” said Paul A. Lucas, general manager of Events Edmonton.

But not everyone agrees the dish should be the official meal of Alberta’s Capital City.

Linda Tzang, curator of cultural communities with RAM agrees the Chinese dish is popular but it isn’t widespread enough to be classified as the “it” dish of Edmonton.

“I don’t know if it’s Edmonton’s signature dish but it is one of those anomalies,” she said. “Until I see green onion cakes on the menu at a bar, I wouldn’t call it a signature dish. To me, it’s just not widespread enough.”

Lucas agrees, saying the food is popular but that it doesn’t quite have the qualities of an official dish.

“I think it would be a bit of a stretch to think that green onion cakes are representative of Edmonton’s cuisine because it is so varied.”

Kaida continues to tell newcomers and Edmontonians about the popular food and aspires to recruit people in embracing their appetite for green onion cakes.

“Nobody outside of China has embraced green onion cakes like we have so let’s be proud of that.”

Green Onion Cake recipe

Courtesy of Renee Lavallee, Feisty Chef blog

Ingredients:

•    2 1/2 cups white flour

•    1 cup hot water

•    1 teaspoon coarse salt

•    2 teaspoons olive oil

•    1 bunch of green onions chopped

•    canola oil for frying

•    Sambal Olek & soy sauce for dipping

Directions:

Mix the flour, salt, oil, and a little water together. Slowly add more water until dough forms a ball. Knead slightly until smooth and let rest under a damp cloth for an hour.

Roll out on a floured surface (add more flour as necessary so as to not let dough stick to the counter) as thin as possible.  Rub dough with olive oil and evenly cover with chopped green onions. Starting at one end roll dough tightly onto itself.

Slice the roll of dough into pieces anywhere between 1"- 3" in length. With each slice gently press the dough on the ends into itself, sealing the ends. Then with the slice standing upright in your palm, use your other hand to squish it into a patty like shape. Roll out this patty as thin as you can (without ripping).  Heat up a skillet over medium heat with oil. One by one, fry the green onion cakes until each side is golden brown.

Slice into wedges and serve immediately with Sambal Olek and soya sauce.

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