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Chinese Donut Stick Recipe: How to Make Delicious Youtiao at Home

If you're looking for a unique and delicious breakfast or snack, you might want to try making Chinese donut sticks, also known as youtiao or 油条. These crispy and airy fried dough sticks are a popular street food and breakfast item in China and other Asian countries. Making them at home is easier than you might think and allows you to customize the flavour and texture to your liking.

A hand is shown dipping a long stick of dough into hot oil. The dough turns golden brown as it fries, creating a crispy Chinese donut stick

To make Chinese donut sticks, you will need a few basic ingredients such as flour, water, and yeast. However, there are many variations of the recipe that include different types of flour, baking powder, milk, and other ingredients. You can also experiment with adding seafood such as shrimp or crab to the dough for a unique twist on the classic recipe. Once you have prepared the dough, you will need to shape and cut it into long strips before frying them until golden brown.

Whether you enjoy them plain or with a dipping sauce, Chinese donut sticks are a tasty and satisfying treat that you can enjoy any time of day. In the following article, we will guide you through the steps to make your own Chinese donut sticks at home, including tips for ingredient substitutions, dough preparation, shaping and cutting, cooking methods, and serving and storage.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese donut sticks are a popular street food and breakfast item in China and other Asian countries.
  • Making Chinese donut sticks at home is easy and allows you to customize the flavour and texture to your liking.
  • You can experiment with adding seafood such as shrimp or crab to the dough for a unique twist on the classic recipe.

Ingredients and Substitutions

A countertop with flour, sugar, yeast, and oil. Bowls of water and soy milk. A wooden spoon and rolling pin. A plate of freshly fried Chinese donut sticks

When it comes to making Chinese doughnut sticks, the right ingredients are crucial to achieve the perfect texture and flavour. Here are some key ingredients and their substitutes that you can use to make your doughnut sticks.

Choosing the Right Flour

The type of flour you use will determine the texture and taste of your doughnut sticks. All-purpose flour is the most commonly used flour for making doughnut sticks. However, you can also use bread flour, which has a higher gluten content, to achieve a chewier texture. If you want a lighter and fluffier texture, you can use cake flour, which has a lower protein content.

Leavening Agents and Their Roles

Baking powder is the most commonly used leavening agent in doughnut stick recipes. It helps the dough rise and gives the doughnut sticks a light and airy texture. You can also use yeast, which gives the doughnut sticks a slightly tangy flavour and a chewy texture.

Wet Ingredients: Water and Milk

Water is the most important wet ingredient in doughnut stick recipes. It helps to hydrate the flour and activate the leavening agents. You can also use milk, which adds richness and flavour to the doughnut sticks. If you want to make your doughnut sticks vegan, you can use plant-based milk such as almond milk or soy milk.

When it comes to substitutions, you can use seafood such as shrimp or crab to add a unique flavour to your doughnut sticks. Simply chop the seafood into small pieces and mix it into the dough before frying. Be sure to use fresh seafood and cook it thoroughly before adding it to the dough.

Dough Preparation

A pair of hands kneading dough for Chinese donut sticks on a floured surface, with a bowl of ingredients nearby

Preparing the dough for Chinese donut sticks is an essential step in the recipe. The dough preparation process involves mixing and kneading techniques and resting time for dough development. Here are some tips to help you prepare the perfect dough for your Chinese donut stick recipe.

Mixing and Kneading Techniques

To make the dough for Chinese donut sticks, you need to mix the ingredients together and knead the dough. The mixing technique involves combining the flour, baking powder, salt, and other dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Then, add the wet ingredients, such as water and milk, and mix well until the dough comes together.

When kneading the dough, it's important to use the right technique to develop the gluten and create a smooth, elastic dough. You can knead the dough by hand or use a mixer with a dough hook attachment. Knead the dough for at least 15 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Resting Time for Dough Development

After kneading the dough, it needs to rest for a while to allow the gluten to develop and the dough to become more elastic. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This resting time is crucial for the dough to develop and become easier to work with.

During the resting time, you can prepare your cooking oil and get your frying pan ready. You can also take this opportunity to prepare other ingredients, such as seafood, that you may want to add to your recipe. For example, you can add shrimp or squid to your Chinese donut stick recipe for a seafood twist.

Preparing the dough for Chinese donut sticks is a simple process that requires mixing and kneading techniques and resting time for dough development. By following these tips, you can prepare the perfect dough for your Chinese donut stick recipe and impress your friends and family with your cooking skills.

Shaping and Cutting

A pair of hands shapes and cuts dough into long, thin strips for Chinese donut sticks. Oil sizzles in a hot pan nearby

Rolling Out the Dough

Once you have allowed the dough to rest for about 30 minutes, it is time to roll it out. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and place the dough on it. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a rectangular shape that is about 1/4 inch thick.

Creating the Perfect Shape

To create the perfect shape for your Chinese donut sticks, follow these steps:

  1. Use a sharp knife to divide the dough into strips that are about 1 inch wide and 8 inches long.
  2. Take one strip and press it gently with your fingers to flatten it slightly.
  3. Roll the strip out into a long, thin rope that is about 3/4 inch thick.
  4. Fold the rope in half and press the ends together to attach them.
  5. Twist the rope a few times to create a spiral shape.
  6. Repeat these steps with the remaining strips of dough.

If you want to add a seafood element to your Chinese donut stick recipe, you could try adding some chopped shrimp or crab meat to the dough before rolling it out. This will give your donut sticks a delicious seafood flavour. Alternatively, you could serve your donut sticks with a side of seafood dipping sauce, such as a spicy chilli crab sauce or a sweet and sour shrimp sauce.

Cooking Method

A wok sizzles with hot oil as a long strip of dough is carefully lowered in. It fries to a golden brown, then is lifted out and sprinkled with sugar

Deep-Frying Essentials

When it comes to deep-frying Chinese doughnut sticks, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to achieve that perfect crispy texture. First, you need to use the right type of oil. Vegetable oil is the best choice because it has a high smoke point and neutral flavour. It's also important to use a wok or deep-fryer to ensure that the oil stays at a consistent temperature throughout the frying process.

To get the best results, you should also use a kitchen thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil. The ideal temperature for deep-frying Chinese doughnut sticks is between 180-190°C. If the oil is too hot, the doughnut sticks will cook too quickly on the outside and be raw on the inside. If the oil is too cold, the doughnut sticks will absorb too much oil and become greasy.

Achieving the Ideal Temperature

To achieve the ideal temperature, heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer over medium-high heat until it reaches 180-190°C. Once the oil is hot enough, carefully lower the doughnut sticks into the oil using tongs or a slotted spoon. Fry the doughnut sticks for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and crispy.

Make sure you don't overcrowd the wok or deep-fryer with too many doughnut sticks at once, as this will cause the temperature of the oil to drop and result in uneven cooking. Once the doughnut sticks are cooked, remove them from the oil using tongs or a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also try adding some seafood to your Chinese doughnut stick recipe. Shrimp or squid are great options that will add a delicious flavour and texture to your dish. Simply chop the seafood into small pieces and mix it into the dough before frying.

Serving and Storage

A plate of freshly fried Chinese donut sticks sits beside a jar of dipping sauce, with a pair of chopsticks resting on the side

Pairing with Traditional Beverages

Chinese doughnut sticks are traditionally served with soy milk or congee. Soy milk is a popular beverage in China and is made from soybeans. It has a creamy texture and a slightly sweet taste. The combination of the savoury doughnut sticks and the sweet soy milk is a perfect match. You can also pair it with congee, which is a rice porridge that is often eaten for breakfast. The mild flavour of congee complements the savoury flavour of the doughnut sticks.

If you want to try something different, you can also pair the doughnut sticks with seafood-based soups or broths. For example, you can serve it with a seafood congee or a seafood-based soup. The doughnut sticks will add a crunchy texture to the soup, making it more interesting to eat.

Storing and Reheating

If you want to store the doughnut sticks, make sure they are completely cooled down before storing them. You can store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat them, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and place the doughnut sticks on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until they are heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

It is best to consume the doughnut sticks fresh, as they are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside when they are freshly made. However, if you have leftovers, you can still enjoy them by reheating them properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

A chef mixes flour, sugar, and yeast in a bowl. They then roll the dough into long sticks and deep fry them until golden brown

How do you make Chinese doughnut sticks with yeast?

To make Chinese doughnut sticks with yeast, you will need to mix flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and water together to form a dough. After letting the dough rise for a few hours, you can roll it out and cut it into strips. Then, you will need to deep fry the strips until they are golden brown and crispy.

What's the simplest way to prepare Chinese doughnut sticks?

The simplest way to prepare Chinese doughnut sticks is to mix flour, baking powder, and water together to form a dough. Then, you can cut the dough into strips and deep fry them until they are crispy and golden brown. This recipe is quick and easy to make, and it doesn't require any yeast.

Which recipe is considered the best for Chinese doughnut sticks?

There are many recipes for Chinese doughnut sticks, and which one is considered the best can vary depending on personal preference. However, recipes that use yeast tend to produce doughnut sticks that are light and fluffy on the inside, while recipes that use baking powder tend to produce doughnut sticks that are denser.

What are the main ingredients for making Chinese doughnuts?

The main ingredients for making Chinese doughnuts are flour, yeast or baking powder, sugar, salt, and water. Some recipes may also include milk, eggs, or other flavourings.

Can I freeze Chinese doughnut sticks for later use?

Yes, you can freeze Chinese doughnut sticks for later use. After frying the doughnut sticks, let them cool completely and then place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. To reheat, simply place them in a preheated oven or toaster oven until they are crispy and heated through.

What does 'Yau char Kwai' translate to in English?

'Yau char Kwai' translates to 'oil-fried devil' in English. This is a Cantonese name for Chinese doughnut sticks, and it is believed to have originated from the stick-like shape of the doughnuts and the fact that they are deep-fried.

If you want to add a seafood twist to your Chinese doughnut sticks, you can try adding some chopped shrimp or crab meat to the dough. This will give your doughnut sticks a unique flavour and texture that pairs well with savoury dips and sauces.