Why You Should Not Make Green Onion Cakes

I spent an hour yesterday trying a new recipe. I saw an article in the Edmonton Journal about a woman who makes green onion cakes that are immensely popular. People join long lines just to buy some, and at festivals, she is the most popular woman in town. I have never tasted them, but I thought that, since they were such a big hit, I’d see if I could make them and find out if I liked them.

Now I know why people line up to buy them. It’s because they take so darned long to make! After you make the dough, you have to leave it to sit for thirty minutes before you can divide it up and roll it out. Then after you have added the minutely chopped-up green onions (aka spring onions) and whatever else you want to add (I added salt, pepper, and a little bit of grated cheese), you have to roll each one all up into a ball and then roll it out again to flatten it.

IMG_1867This task was made a whole lot more difficult for me because I don’t have either a pastry brush or a rolling pin in this apartment, so I improvised.  I basted the dough by using spray-on olive oil, and I used a straight flower vase as a rolling pin.  Not ideal, but better than going to the store to buy the real things.

This project only began because I was using up things that were about to go past their best-before dates in my fridge.  I had already made several pints of lemonade because when I had a cold a month ago I had bought a bag of lemons, thinking I was going to make lots of hot lemon juice to soothe my throat. But then I got better, and the lemons just sat there getting smaller and smaller by the day.

After I had successfully used up the ageing lemons, I remembered the article about the green onion cakes. I had half a bunch of green onions in the bottom drawer of the fridge and they were getting dry at one end and slimy at the other. So, clearly, it was time to either do something with them or throw them out; hence the cooking marathon.

IMG_1865I suspect that another reason people will line up to buy green onion cakes that someone else has made is that the process is a bit smelly. You have to cook them by pan-frying them in vegetable oil, and at two minutes per side for each cake, this means a lot of frying.  Despite my attempts to draw out the fumes with the extractor fan, my apartment still smelled like cooking oil. The thing about cooking is that you don’t really acknowledge the smells you are creating as you are making them.  It’s only when you come in from outside that they really become apparent. So, yes, I stunk up the apartment.

But, after I had tasted my nice warm green onion cakes, I recognized a third reason why people line up for them. They are really good!  At least, I thought mine were. Maybe in future, though, I’ll let someone else make them for me, and I’ll throw out my ageing green onions. There’s a lot to be said for fresh air.


  1. What to do with aging veggies… throw them into the freezer …… then when you’re ready… make “dump” soup…. pull our all the strange frozen things and use store bought broth you like, keep working it till you like it!! Well that’s what I do! enjoy! but your onion cakes also sound great!

  2. Great improvising! And they sound delicious! Maybe making them at a time of year for open windows would help dissipate that grease smell. I too am usually surprised when I return to the “scene of the crime” and smell the remains in my home.
    I too, put aging veggies in the freezer, for either soup, or cooked down to make vegetable broth.

  3. They sure look purty. I love potato cakes. You are so right about frying smells. We have a townhome and the smells linger on ‘up there’ even after we have aired things out downstairs. Makes a good case for eating healthier. 😉

  4. Exactly! I am developing an aversion to the smell of frying on the whole. Still love some fried chicken now and then though I don’t dare do that in my kitchen. I do make a mean schnitzel that is a darned nice substitute, happy cooking. My green onions last longer if I cut the white bottoms off from the tender green. Those are easily frozen. The green tops I use in everything from sald to scrambled eggs.

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