Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chinese Donut Sticks - You Tiao or Oil-Fried Ghosts

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Some folks called them Chinese donut sticks, but these long strips of fried dough are far more like bread sticks than donuts or crullers. You tiao, or oil-fried ghosts, are usually served with a traditional Chinese breakfast of rice congee or salted soy milk. Both are bland and are an acquired taste for the Western palate. The salty bread sticks help add a recognizable dimension of flavor to an Eastern breakfast. The strips are made so they can be torn, lengthwise, into two long pieces after deep frying. Chinese folklore tells us that two dough strips, one male, one female, were layered and joined in the center, as an act of protest against the official Qin Hui and his wife who plotted to kill, or dishonor, a revered general named Yue Fei. It's believed that their traitorous behavior was punished by boiling in oil. I leave the fate of their remains to your imagination. Keeping in mind the fact that most Chinese homes have no ovens, I think you can see how these salty sticks became popular. I'm featuring them here as a curiosity for most, but as an exploration for those with more adventuresome palates. They are really simple to do and are worthy of a one-shot. I do ask you to keep in mind the fact that these are nothing more than exotic bread sticks. Please don't slay the messenger. Here's the recipe.

Chinese Donuts Sticks - You Tiao or Oil-Fried Ghosts


1-1/4 cups self-rising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

6 to 8 tablespoons lukewarm water

Vegetable oil for deep frying


1) Combine flour, baking powder,salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Make a well in center of mixture and add 6 tablespoons of water, stirring to mix with a spoon until a soft dough forms. If necessary, add additional water, a tablespoon at a time, to form dough. Knead lightly in bowl until soft dough forms, about 30 seconds. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes to relax gluten in flour.

2) Lightly flour a work surface. Turn dough onto surface and knead for about 30 seconds. Roll dough into a strip that is 16 x 4-inches in size. Cut crosswise into 20 3/4-inch strips. Pair and stack strips. Press each pair down the center with a chopstick to seal. Lightly stretch dough, working from center to ends, until each strip is about 10-inches long. Cover lightly with plastic wrap.

3) Using a high sided saute pan or a wok, pour in oil to a depth of 2-1/2 inches. Set over high heat and bring oil to a temperature of 350 degrees F. Place three to four strips of dough into pan and fry, turning often, until they turn golden brown, about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on layers of paper toweling. Continue procedure until all dough strips are cooked. Serve at room temperature. Yield: 10 donut strips.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Privacy Policy