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Jianbing – Chinese Breakfast Crepes (Without Mung Bean Flour)

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Jianbing is one of the most popular Chinese street food breakfasts. The crepes are cooked with an egg layer and filled with sweet bean sauce, coriander, some crispy bacon, a hot dog sausage, cheddar, lettuce, and a crunchy fried wonton cracker. It’s the perfect breakfast to fill you until lunchtime!

a Chinese crepe for breakfast (jianbing guozi) made with a batter topped with an egg then filled with bacon, cheese and wonton cracker

“Don’t skip breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day” : )

I heard this sooo much when I was younger! As a kid, I used to skip breakfast then once I grew older, I started to feel like I needed breakfast for my body and brain to function.

My two types of breakfasts are totally opposite. I love a sweet breakfast (usually some filling oatmeal/overnight oats for weekdays and some fancy crepes or pancakes for the weekend) as much as I love a savory Asian-style breakfast (rice, meat, vegetables…)

So here is a recipe I’ve been wanting to make since I tried jianbing in Korea. These Chinese-style crepes are full of different flavors and textures: sweet, savory, crunchy… and they will fill you until lunchtime!

What Is Jianbing?

Jianbing is one of the most popular breakfasts in China. The reason for its popularity is that it’s freshly made in front of you, it’s inexpensive, and you can have it on the go while going to work or school in the morning. I wish I had that kind of stall on my way to work :’)

The Chinese term jianbing literally translates to “fried pancake“. It is similar to a crepe but has two layers – the second one being made with an egg you crack and spread over the batter.

Jianbing can be found in a lot of variations but the main ingredients are the crepe, an egg, sweet bean sauce and a fried cracker

Its origin dates back to 2000 years ago (from northern China). A legend says that jianbing was created to feed hungry soldiers who had lost their wok during the Three Kingdoms period in China.

There are two types of jianbing:

  • Shandong jianbing (regular jianbing) – this one tends to be more crispy as it is using millet flour which is a more coarse flour. It also has a fried cracker known as bao cui in Chinese.
  • Tianjin jianbing (jianbing guozi) – this type of jianbing uses mung bean flour and has a fried dough stick named youtiao.

In recent years, jianbing has become popular internationally, you can find shops/stalls in several big Western cities. Since 2019, 30 April has even officially become World Jianbing Day. The goal is to “spread the love for jianbing and to celebrate its many forms”.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE

  • Filling breaky. Jianbing is perfect to keep you going until lunchtime. All ingredients combined together make it a filling breakfast.
  • Multiple layers of flavors. Egg, bacon, hot dog sausage, coriander, lettuce, sweet bean sauce, wonton cracker and sesame seeds provide various flavors and textures that make this jianbing REALLY YUMMY!
  • No mung bean or millet flour required. These types of flour (used in traditional recipes) can be difficult to source so this recipe is using all-purpose flour. This is not traditional but everyone has it at home and the end result still tastes delicious!
  • Highly customizable. You can add any ingredients you like as a filling and use a mix of different sauces. You can also add ingredients in different proportions, YOU choose!

Does this recipe require specific Equipment?

Street food vendors are equipped with an edgeless crepe maker, a scraper to spread the batter, and another type of scraper to lift and cut the crepes.

In this recipe, I’m only using tools that we all have in our kitchen!

  • a non-stick pan – make sure you use a non-stick pan AND oil it well. The jianbing batter street food vendors make is usually a little thick but since we are making it in a pan, the batter must be thin enough to be swirled around the pan easily. Hence the batter can be a little more sticky than the traditional jianbing batter.
  • kitchen spatula – use a kitchen spatula to lift the crepe just like regular sweet crepes.
  • pastry brush – I use a brush to spread a THIN layer of sauce over the crepe, but if you don’t have it you can still spread it with the back of a tablespoon.

Jianbing Ingredients

Batter

  • all-purpose flour – as mentioned before, traditional jianbing is made with a mix of flour including millet flour or mung bean flour. Since these types of flour are hard to find abroad, this recipe is using all-purpose flour only. As a result, the batter is more sticky, so it’s important to use a non-stick pan AND oil the pan well. If you like wholemeal flour, you could also substitute it with that.
  • water – I calculated the water/flour ratio so that the batter has a similar consistency as regular sweet crepes, making it easier to swirl the batter around the pan.
  • salt – add a pinch of salt.
ingredients to make the batter of chinese breakfast crepes

Fillings

  • eggs – the egg is added to form a second layer on top of the crepe. I use large-size eggs.
  • hot dog sausage – before adding it to the crepes, cook the hot dog sausages for a few minutes.
  • sweet bean sauce (Peking duck sauce) – the traditional jianbing recipe uses both sweet bean sauce (tianmianjiang) and spicy bean sauce (la doubanjiang) but I’ve never found the latter hence I usually only use sweet bean sauce or hoisin sauce according to what I have at home.
  • lettuce – I used small lettuce leaves in this recipe but you can pretty much use any type of lettuce you have.
  • cheddar slice – before removing the crepe from the pan, add the cheese on top of the crepe and wait until it melts.
  • bacon slices – cook the bacon until crispy. Add two slices, it’s the perfect amount so the saltiness of the bacon counterbalances the sweetness of the sweet bean sauce.
  • wonton cracker squares – fry the wonton wraps so they become crispy, bubbly and golden brown. They add this crunchy texture, don’t skip it if you can! 🙂
  • coriander – I love the taste of coriander and it goes really well with all other ingredients in this recipe but if you like you can substitute it with any other herbs you like or some chopped green onions.
  • black sesame seeds – sprinkle some black sesame seeds on top of the egg layer. This is optional, just for the visual 🙂
ingredients for the filling of jianbing guozi (chinese breakfast crepes)

How To Make Jianbing?

  1. Fry the wonton crackers – Take one wonton wrapper and wet one side with water. Place another wonton wrapper on top so that they stick together. Slice the wonton wrapper into two equal parts. In a fryer or in a pan, heat the oil to 180°C/350°F, and fry the wontons for about a minute or until golden brown. Remove from the oil and let them cool on a paper towel.
how to make fried wonton wrappers for jianbing
  1. Cook the bacon – In a pan, cook the bacon slices on both sides until they get crispy.
  2. Cook the hot dog sausages – Use the same pan to cook the hot dog sausages (about 2 minutes over medium heat).
  3. Make the batter – In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt and water.
  1. Cook the crepes – Heat up a pan over medium heat and use a paper towel to wipe the pan with a generous amount of oil. Pour ¼ of the batter and let it cook until the crepe has set.
  2. Crack one egg on top. Using the back of a tablespoon, break the egg and spread it all over the crepe. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds.
  3. Once the egg looks cooked, carefully flip the crepe over.
jianbing crepe cooking in a pan
  1. Assemble –  In the middle of the crepe, add a handful of coriander. Lay the cheddar slice (cut in half) on top. Once the cheese has melted, transfer the crepe to a plate.
  2. Add the rest of the fillings: bacon slices (x2), hot dog sausages, fried wonton cracker and lettuce.
jianbing fillings added on top of the crepe
  1. Fold one side of the crepe, then fold the left and right sides (just like a burrito). Last, roll the crepe to close it.
  2. Serve as soon as it is cooked and wrapped.
two Chinese crepes for breakfast (jianbing guozi) made with a batter topped with an egg then filled with bacon and cheese

Jianbing Filling Variations

I made this recipe according to the jianbing I remember I had. But you can definitely make it more simple with fewer ingredients. Feel free to customize the fillings however you like. Just like regular sweet crepes, it’s really up to you.

I usually like to add some chili oil to it to make it a little spicy. You could also try sriracha. And if you want to really westernize it, try mayonnaise or aioli.

You could add other types of vegetables such as onions, capsicums, bean sprouts, carrots, tomatoes, radish, combinations are endless.

For the meat, you could add chicken, pork, beef or skip meat to make it vegetarian!

How To Store and Reheat?

It’s best to have jianbing when it’s just been cooked. Reheating it makes the crepes a little harder since it is only made of water and regular flour.

The best if you prepare it in advance is to make the batter and leave it in the refrigerator until ready to use. Prep all other ingredients and keep them in the refrigerator as well. Fry the wontons in advance and leave them at room temperature.

Emma’s Tips

  • Turn the heat down to low heat – in between cooking each crepe, turn the heat down to low heat or remove the pan from the heat for a minute. This way, the batter won’t set straight away when you pour it into the pan and will leave you time to swirl the batter around the pan.
  • Thin batter consistency – the batter should be quite thin to be able to spread it around the pan. If it is still too thick, add a little more water, one spoon at a time.
  • Egg layer – make sure you wait until the crepe batter has totally set before you crack the egg on top. Otherwise, you risk breaking the crepe when spreading the egg. Also use the back of a spoon, not a fork (I’ve tried that!) to spread the egg. That will prevent you from ruining your crepe!
  • Don’t stuff the crepe with too many fillings – you just won’t be able to close your crepe. Yep, I tried that too! Keep it to the minimum – or maximum required : )

RECIPE FAQ

Jianbing tastes sweet because of the sweet bean sauce but also savory thanks to the bacon and hot dog sausage. If I had to describe it, I’d say it’s like a British bacon and egg breakfast but “Asianized”.

No, this recipe is not traditional. It is created with substitute ingredients since millet flour and mung bean flour can be difficult to find. The same goes for some Chinese sauces which can be hard to find.

BUT don’t worry, these crepes are still really delicious even without being traditional!

Yes, you can prepare the batter in advance and keep it in the refrigerator. You can also fry the wonton crackers and leave them at room temperature. Then prep all your vegetables and keep them in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

When you’re ready to eat, cook the crepes and assemble the jianbing. I don’t recommend making the entire jianbing and keeping it for the next day, the crepe will become harder (as it is made of flour and water only). Furthermore, the bacon and sausage need to be reheated while the lettuce and wonton cracker cannot be reheated. So the best is to assemble right before serving.

You will find a fried cracker (baocui) in regular jianbing and a fried dough stick (youtiao) in jianbing guozi.

Chinese crepes (jianbing guozi) on a wooden board with a bowl of salad and some eggs

More Ideas For Your Breakfast? Try These

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a jianbing (chinese breakfast crepe) on a wooden board

Jianbing – Chinese Breakfast Crepes (Without Mung Bean Flour)

Jianbing is one of the most popular Chinese street food breakfasts. You will love the various layers of flavors and textures! The crepes are cooked with an egg layer and filled with sweet bean sauce, coriander, some crispy bacon, a hot dog sausage, cheddar, lettuce, and a crunchy fried wonton cracker. It's the perfect breakfast to fill you until lunchtime!
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 jianbing
Calories per serving: 521kcal
Author: Emma Choi

Equipment

  • 26-28cm / 10-11” non-stick pan
  • kitchen spatula
  • pastry brush

Ingredients

Filling

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 hot dog sausages
  • 4 tbsp sweet bean sauce | or hoisin sauce
  • lettuce
  • 4 cheddar slice
  • 8 bacon slices
  • 4 wonton cracker squares
  • coriander
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds

Batter

  • 100 g all-purpose flour (Note 2)
  • 300 ml water
  • salt
  • cooking oil

Instructions

  • Fry the wonton crackers – Take one wonton wrapper and wet one side with water. Superpose another wonton wrapper so that they stick together. Slice the wonton wrapper into two equal parts. In a fryer or in a pan, heat the oil to 180°C/350°F, and fry the wontons for about a minute or until golden brown. Remove from the oil and let them cool on a paper towel.
  • Cook the bacon – In a pan, cook the bacon slices on both sides until they get crispy.
  • Cook the hot dog sausages – Use the same pan to cook the hot dog sausages (about 2 minutes over medium heat)
  • Make the batter – In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt and water.
  • Cook the crepes – Heat up a pan over medium heat and use a paper towel to wipe the pan with a generous amount of oil. Pour ¼ of the batter and let it cook until the crepe has set (Note 1).
  • Crack one egg on top. Using the back of a tablespoon, break the egg and spread it all over the crepe. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds.
  • Once the egg looks cooked, carefully flip the crepe over.
  • Assemble –  In the middle of the crepe, add a handful of coriander. Lay the cheddar slice (cut in half) on top. Once the cheese has melted, transfer the crepe to a plate.
  • Add the rest of the fillings: bacon slices (x2), hot dog sausages, fried wonton cracker and lettuce.
  • Fold one side of the crepe, then fold the left and right sides (just like a burrito). Last, roll the crepe to close it (Note 3).
  • Serve as soon as it is cooked and wrapped.

Notes

1. Batter: the batter of these crepes only consists of water and flour therefore it is a little sticky as opposed to regular sweet crepes. For this reason, it’s important to oil the pan properly AND to be very gentle when flipping the crepe.
2. Flour: traditionally these crepes are made with mung bean flour (which can be difficult to source abroad). If you can find it, you can use 60g all-purpose flour + 40g mung bean flour. Mung bean flour also helps with the consistency of the batter, and the crepes usually don’t stick at all.
3. Folding the crepe: if you’ve been too generous with the amount of filling and you’re having a hard time folding the crepe, you can also just roll it like a tortilla rather than fold it like a burrito 🙂

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1 jianbingCalories: 521kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 20gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 214mgSodium: 982mgPotassium: 275mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 256IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 73mgIron: 4mg
Tried this recipe? Take a pic and mention @thatcutedish on Instagram, I’d love to see all your creations! Don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below : )

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