Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chinese Fried Dough ('Yau Char Kwai'/'Yiu Tiao')

Who doesn't like deep fried food? I have never known a human being who would eat steamed and braised food only and if there is anything deep fried besides the 2 more healthy options, all appetites normally break loose and the hands reach out to the deep fried plate first.

While we quickly chow down anything good, crispy and light from the deep fried wok, it takes so much time and effort to deep fry anything in the first place. I am definitely not a big enthusiast in this method of cooking and yet, when I have an appetite and yearning for something that must be done in that way, I have no choice but to do it once and for all and satisfy my cravings.

This fried dough is found in every small eateries in Hong Kong which serves breakfast and teatime snacks. In Malaysia, we normally get it from the small stalls in open market or food court that cater to teatime hours. Basically it is a mixture of wheat flour and usual flour, baking powder and yeast and a big wok of hot oil produces the crispy dough that is eaten fresh and warm. I dip mine in congee and sometimes, I go the Malaysian way of slapping a spoonful of sweet coconut egg jam on the dough itself. Recently I have found out that some smart people have started to put fillings on the dough itself before the deep frying. That I will leave to next time and for today, I am just glad I made it through with the hot wok.

I think the most important thing in achieving a light dough with hollow textures in the inside when it is deep fried is to allow it to rest, raise and expand for long hours before the shaping and frying. In my case, I let the dough rested for 5 hours. The deep frying must not be rushed with over heated oil as to allow the inside of the dough to cook evenly before the outside part browns too soon. I had to engage my father in law in helping me shape the dough as he has more delicate hands than mine in the rolling part of the very wet and sticky dough.

Making this 'Yau Char Kwai' gets very messy when the shaping and rolling starts. The hands and all utensils must be coated with flour prior thereto or else the dough will stick like leech! As this is my first attempt, I only managed to do mini size ones and the stickiness when handling the dough actually made me preferred the deep frying part. I was so ready to dump the whole batch into the oil and make everyone just pull from one round whole dough like the American fried dough. The frying part was quicker than I thought.

After last night's rendang, we opted for congee tonight for dinner. And we will be eating like the Hong Kong people, dipping these oily goodies into those hot rice gruel. Well, no one ever said that these 'Yau char Kwai' is for breakfast and snack only.


Agnes said...

<3~ Nice one Jie!

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