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Chinese Breadstick Recipe: How to Make Delicious and Crispy Treats at Home

Chinese breadsticks are delicious, deep-fried dough sticks that are popular breakfast food in China, often served with soy milk or porridge. They're also a popular snack food and can be found in many Chinese bakeries and street food stalls.

A pair of hands kneading dough for Chinese breadsticks on a floured surface, with ingredients and utensils nearby

Making youtiao at home is surprisingly easy, and the results are well worth the effort. All you need are a few basic ingredients, including flour, water, and yeast, and you'll be well on your way to creating your own batch of crispy, golden brown breadsticks. Of course, there are a few tips and tricks to getting the perfect youtiao, so read on to learn more.

Key Takeaways

  • Youtiao, or Chinese breadsticks, are a popular breakfast food and snack in China.
  • Making youtiao at home is easy and requires just a few basic ingredients.
  • To get the perfect youtiao, follow the recipe instructions carefully and store any leftovers properly.

History and Cultural Significance

A traditional Chinese kitchen with ingredients and tools for making breadsticks, showcasing cultural significance and historical roots

Legend of Youtiao

Youtiao, also known as Chinese breadstick, is a popular breakfast food in China, Vietnam, and other Asian countries. Legend has it that the dish was created during the Song Dynasty by a military general named Yue Fei. Yue Fei was imprisoned by Chancellor Qin Hui, who wanted to surrender to the enemy. To protest against Qin Hui's treachery, Yue Fei's mother created a dish made of two strips of dough, twisted together to resemble the chains that bound her son. She then deep-fried the dough to symbolize Qin Hui's punishment in hell.

Youtiao in Asian Cuisines

Youtiao is a versatile dish that can be eaten on its own or paired with other foods. In Cantonese cuisine, it is often served with congee, a type of rice porridge. In dim sum, it is sometimes stuffed with shrimp or pork and served as a savoury snack. In Vietnam, it is served with pho, a type of noodle soup.

Youtiao is also a popular street food in many Asian countries. It is often sold by vendors who set up shop on the side of the road, and it is a favourite among locals and tourists alike.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can even add seafood to your youtiao recipe. Shrimp or squid can be added to the dough before frying, giving the breadstick a delicious seafood flavour. Just make sure to use fresh seafood and cook it thoroughly before adding it to the dough.

Essential Ingredients

A kitchen counter with a bowl of flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. A measuring cup of warm water and a wooden spoon. A rolling pin and a tray lined with parchment paper

When it comes to making Chinese breadsticks, there are a few essential ingredients that you'll need to have on hand. These include all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, water, milk, yeast, baking powder, baking soda, and eggs. In this section, we'll take a closer look at each of these ingredients and discuss why they're important in making the perfect Chinese breadstick.

Choosing the Right Flour

All-purpose flour is the best choice for making Chinese breadsticks. It has a moderate protein content, which makes it versatile enough for a variety of baked goods. Additionally, it has just the right amount of gluten to help the breadsticks rise and develop a chewy texture.

Leavening Agents

Yeast, baking powder, and baking soda are all leavening agents that are commonly used in bread making. Yeast is a living organism that helps the bread rise by consuming sugar and producing carbon dioxide. Baking powder and baking soda are chemical leavening agents that react with acid to produce carbon dioxide.

Additional Ingredients

Salt and sugar are both important ingredients in Chinese breadstick recipes. Salt adds flavour and helps to regulate the activity of the yeast. Sugar, on the other hand, provides food for the yeast and helps to create a golden-brown crust on the breadsticks. Water and milk are used to hydrate the dough and create a tender crumb.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also add seafood to your Chinese breadstick recipe. Shrimp or crab meat can be finely chopped and added to the dough before frying. This will add a delicious seafood flavour to your breadsticks and make them stand out from the crowd.

Youtiao Recipe Instructions

A hand mixing flour, water, and yeast. Another hand kneading the dough. Youtiao dough rising in a bowl. Oil heating in a pan. Youtiao frying to golden perfection

Youtiao, also known as Chinese fried dough, is a delicious and crispy breadstick that is perfect for breakfast or as a snack. Here are the instructions for making youtiao at home.

Preparing the Dough

To make the dough, you will need all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, egg, milk, and softened butter. Using an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment, mix the dry ingredients together on the lowest setting. Then, add the egg, milk, and softened butter. Slowly add water in separate batches, while keeping the speed at "stir". Knead the dough for 15 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Once the dough is ready, cover it with a damp cloth and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will allow the dough to relax and become easier to shape.

Shaping and Frying Techniques

After the dough has rested, roll it out into a long rectangle shape. Cut the dough into strips about 1 inch wide. Take two strips and press them together lengthwise, then twist them together. Repeat this process for the remaining strips.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or a wok until it reaches 180°C. Insert a skewer into the dough and gently lower it into the hot oil. Fry the dough until it turns golden brown, then remove it from the oil and place it on a paper towel to drain.

Serving Suggestions

Youtiao can be served on its own or with a variety of dishes. It goes well with soy milk, congee, porridge, or noodle soup. You can also serve it with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, vinegar, and chili oil.

For a seafood twist, you can add prawns or squid to the dough mixture before frying. This will give the youtiao a unique and delicious flavour.

Tips for the Perfect Youtiao

Youtiao dough being stretched and twisted, then fried until golden brown. Ingredients like flour, yeast, and salt arranged neatly on a clean kitchen counter

If you want to make the perfect youtiao, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you achieve the perfect crispy, airy, and puffy youtiao:

Dough Consistency

The dough consistency is crucial when making youtiao. You want the dough to be smooth and elastic, but not too sticky. If the dough is too dry, the youtiao will be tough and chewy. If the dough is too wet, the youtiao will be oily and heavy.

To achieve the perfect dough consistency, use a rolling pin to flatten the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured work surface. Then, fold the dough in half and roll it out again. Repeat this process several times until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Oil Temperature and Frying

The temperature of the oil is also important when making youtiao. If the oil is too hot, the youtiao will burn on the outside and be raw on the inside. If the oil is not hot enough, the youtiao will be greasy and heavy.

To get the perfect oil temperature, heat the oil to 375°F/190°C. You can use a deep-fry thermometer to check the temperature. Once the oil is hot enough, carefully lower the youtiao into the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

When frying the youtiao, make sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the youtiao in small batches to ensure they cook evenly and get crispy on all sides.

If you want to add some seafood to your youtiao, you can use shrimp or crab meat. Simply chop the seafood into small pieces and mix them into the dough before frying. This will add a delicious flavour to your youtiao and make them even more satisfying.

Storing and Reheating

Chinese breadsticks are placed in airtight containers for storage. They are then reheated in the oven until crispy and golden

Preserving Freshness

To keep your Chinese breadsticks fresh for as long as possible, it is important to store them properly. Once cooled, place them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag and store them in the fridge for up to 7 days. Avoid storing them in the freezer as this can affect the texture of the breadsticks.

If you plan on keeping your breadsticks for longer than 7 days, it is best to freeze them. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container in the freezer. When you are ready to use them, simply thaw them in the fridge overnight.

Reheating Leftovers

If you have leftover Chinese breadsticks, don't worry, they can easily be reheated. The best way to reheat them is in the oven. Preheat your oven to 180°C and place the breadsticks on a baking tray. Heat them for 5-10 minutes or until they are heated through.

Alternatively, you can reheat them in the microwave. Wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave them for 10-15 seconds. Be careful not to overheat them as this can cause them to become tough and dry.

If you have an air fryer, this is also a great option for reheating your breadsticks. Simply place them in the air fryer and heat them for 2-3 minutes or until they are heated through and crispy.

Seafood can be a great addition to your Chinese breadstick recipe. You can try adding some chopped prawns or crabmeat to the dough mixture before frying. This will add a delicious seafood flavour to your breadsticks.

Frequently Asked Questions

A table with ingredients and utensils for making Chinese breadsticks

What's the best way to make Chinese breadsticks at home?

The best way to make Chinese breadsticks at home is to use a simple dough recipe with flour, water, yeast, and salt. The dough should be mixed and kneaded until it is smooth and elastic, then allowed to rise before being cut into strips and fried until golden brown. To achieve the best results, it is important to use fresh ingredients and to give the dough enough time to rise properly.

Can you create Chinese breadsticks without using yeast?

Yes, it is possible to make Chinese breadsticks without using yeast. Instead of yeast, you can use baking powder or baking soda to help the dough rise. However, the texture and flavour of the breadsticks may be slightly different from those made with yeast.

How do you achieve the perfect texture for fried Chinese breadsticks?

To achieve the perfect texture for fried Chinese breadsticks, it is important to use the right type of flour and to ensure that the dough is kneaded properly. The dough should be elastic and smooth, which will help to create a light and crispy texture when fried. Additionally, the oil used for frying should be at the right temperature, which is around 180-190°C, to ensure that the breadsticks cook evenly and become crispy.

What are the traditional ingredients for Chinese donuts?

The traditional ingredients for Chinese donuts, also known as youtiao or cakoi, are flour, water, yeast, and salt. However, there are many variations of this recipe that include additional ingredients such as milk, sugar, and baking powder.

Is there a healthier version of youtiao that can be made in an air fryer?

Yes, there is a healthier version of youtiao that can be made in an air fryer. Instead of deep-frying the breadsticks, you can brush them with a little oil and then air fry them until they are crispy. This method reduces the amount of oil used and makes the breadsticks healthier.

What's the trick to reheating Chinese fried donuts to keep them crispy?

The trick to reheating Chinese fried donuts to keep them crispy is to use an oven or toaster oven instead of a microwave. The microwave can make the breadsticks soft and soggy, whereas the oven will help to keep them crispy. Simply preheat the oven to 180°C, place the breadsticks on a baking sheet, and bake for 5-10 minutes until they are heated through and crispy.

As a suggestion, you can add seafood to your Chinese breadstick recipe. Using prawns or shrimp can add a delicious flavour to your breadsticks. Simply chop the seafood into small pieces and mix it into the dough before frying.