Good Mandarin pancakes are very, very thin. Much more so than flour tortillas which are frequently substituted for them. Sigh. The rolling method is ingenious. You basically roll two at a time, back-to-back, then peel them apart. So simple it’s beautiful, no? You’ll need:
10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour
6 ounces (3/4 cup) boiling water
Sesame oil for brushing
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the flour and boiling water. Stir it on low until the shaggy dough starts to come together into a ball. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough until it smooth, 2-3 minutes. Alternately, use a bowl and wooden spoon, then knead by hand for 5 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest about half an hour.
When you’re ready to shape, roll the dough into a cylinder about 1″ wide. Cut the cylinder into ten equal pieces. Flatten them slightly with the heel of your hand, then with a rolling pin roll each piece into a circle roughly three inches across. Brush sesame oil onto the tops of each pancake, then lay them on top of one another in pairs, oily sides inward. Roll each pair into a seven-inch circle.
Meanwhile, heat a seasoned cast iron skillet or nonstick fry pan over medium heat. Brush it lightly with peanut or vegetable oils and lay in a pair of the pancakes. Cook them about 3 minutes per side until they are just golden. Remove them from the pan and peel the pancakes apart. Stack them and keep them under a clean towel until you’re ready to serve.