Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sesame Salty Fried Dough (Sabah Style)

Firstly, a big thank you to my Aunt MC who actually went and asked for the recipe of this lovely snack from the vendor who prepares and sells this snack at the open market in my hometown state of Sabah, Malaysia. Aunt MC is one of my favorite aunts and I am always glad to hear from her and her kids. The recipe was already given to me last year and yet I haven't really thought about making it until now.

Known as 'Hum Chien Piang' in Sabah, Malaysia, this particular bread like snack which is deep fried at very low heat to produce a crispy crust outside while maintaining the softer bread texture inside is one of my favorite. There is another version of this deep fried bread in Hong Kong which has the same Chinese name but is shaped more like a round bun shape with sweeter fillings and without the sesame seeds. Needless to say, I like the Sabah version better as the taste is a bit salty with the sesame seeds swirled into the bread itself, giving it a pretty and fun appearance.

The original recipe called for red bean paste for its filling. Since it is spread very thinly and mainly there to give a color to the swirls rather than giving an overbearing taste to the end product, I substituted with black sesame paste, of which I preferred. I am sure anyone from Malaysia knows the brand name Maggi which supplies cooking condiments and sauces and there is this one Maggi ingredient which I didn't have over here, and again I substituted with dried chicken stock powder. I attempted this recipe 3 weeks ago and true to the fact that business people never give out all their secrets in their recipes, hence the dough then was too wet and sticky to be even rolled out for the filling in the first place. And I was clueless then as to how to form the swirls and shape of the dough until I looked far and wide on every recipe books for ideas. And 3 weeks later, I finally gathered my thoughts and re-do it again with some amendments to the original recipe that was given to me. Talk about obsession!

This snack is normally sold at open market stalls and I normally grab one for breakfast when I was really busy then rushing into the office. Slightly greasy on the hands from the deep frying and yet the mouth does not feel oily when eating it. The taste is a combination of savoury and a tinge of saltiness with the occasional subtle sweet taste from the paste filling. It is best eaten on the day it is made and can be slightly toasted the day after.

Overall, I would say making this fried dough was fun as long as you know the texture of the dough at the time it is kneaded. It cannot be sticky and yet it feels wet in your hands and definitely not dry. Adding the flour in 2 batches is important to achieve the right consistency and the stretchiness is not too much and yet can withstand the weight of a rolling pin and rolls out without much elbow grease. And the oil for the deep frying part must not be too hot as it cooks quickly and also to ensure that the whole dough is cooked throughout.

Ingredients :

Starter Dough :
100 gm all purpose flour
1/2 tsp yeast
150 ml warm water

Main Dough :
100 gm sugar
150 ml water

1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp chicken stock powder
480 gm all purpose flour

Other Ingredients:
5 tbsp of black sesame paste or red bean paste
2 tbsp of white sesame seeds
6 to 8 cups of oil and a sauce pan. (If making larger sizes, will require bigger pot and more oil)


1)Mix all the ingredients for starter dough in a bowl. Mix in well and cover and let dough rest for 2 hours. Note that this dough is very wet.
2)Mix 250gm of the flour in the main dough ingredients with all the other ingredients and knead with hook attachment on mixer for 10 to 12 mins.
3)Add the Starter dough mixture into the main Dough mixture and continue to knead for 5 mins. Add in the remaining 230gm of flour from the Main Dough ingredients into the mixer bowl and continue to knead again for 7 minutes on low speed.
4)Remove bowl from mixer and cover and let rest for 2o mins.
5)Attach the bowl to mixer again and knead for 5 minutes on low speed.
6)Cover and let dough rest and rise for 2 hours.
7)Divide the dough into 3 equal batches. Work with 1 batch at a time.
8)Roll out each batch into a square or rectangle with 1/2 inches thick. Spread the surface of the dough thinly with the black sesame paste and sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds. From the edge nearest to you, roll up the dough into a log.
9)Use a serrated knive to cut the log into 2 inches pieces. Approximately 1 log will yield 5 to 6 pieces. Sprinkle some flour on the working surface before the next step. And sprinkle some flour on your hands.
10)Take one piece and turn it vertical so that the swirls faces up. With a flat spatula, gently flatten the dough piece and use your fingers to pinch the edges so that it forms a round circle shape. Place the flatten dough on a flour surface and continue with the rest.
11)Heat oil for deep frying. Always start with low medium heat. Drop a small piece of dough into the oil to check its readiness and if the dough rises up and sizzles, it is ready. Roughly around the same temperature for frying donuts.
12) Slowly drop 2 to 3 pieces of the flatten dough and deep fry each side for 20 to 25 seconds and turn. It is ready when it is golden brown. Lift and place on paper towel to drain the oil from the fried dough.
13)Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of fried dough when it is still hot. Serve.

Yields: 15 to 18 pieces of sizes randomly at 3.5 to 4 inches (If required, larger sizes can be made by rolling out a bigger size rectangle and cutting to bigger pieces before the flattening of the dough)


Agnes said...

Gosh Jie!!! Finally you done it!!! Saranghaeyo~~~~ ^o^

Shabbymom said...

wow...it sure looks yummy....

lilyng said...


from one lily to another, i know how you feel about this dough, i have been through it.

i found out that kneading this dough is difficult, so i left this dough to sit after mixing and knead it at 1/2 hr intervals. not vigorous kneading, just bring the edges of dough in and then turn over, rest and repeat until the dough is smooth and elastic. i would let dough in the fridge overnight before forming.

hope this helps