Saturday, July 15, 2006

deep fry saturday! Introducing....deep fried asian cruellers

Crisp, chewy, and just plain delicious. That's how I would describe these asian treats. The chinese name for these is You Tiao, but they go by many other names such as Yu Tiao, Yu Char Kway, etc, depending on where you're from. Although these are sold frozen in any asian store, nothing beats fresh from the fryer You Tiao, which is why my mission for today was to make these.
Since I'm an avid fan of asian cookbooks, I gathered about 5 different recipes from my cookbooks as well as a recipe from TT's site. Now the headache part comes in...which do I test first? Armed with a pencil and calculator, I begin comparing the ratio of flour/water/leavening agent from all of my sources. Pretty similar...I thought, so why not pick one that scales the easiest since I live alone. The important thing to avoid is to add any extra flour to the mixture. The dough will be sticky, and nearly impossible to use a rolling pin to roll out to the desired thickness. Instead, my creative approach was to spray a ziplock bag to put the dough in, and place a heavy object (a cutting board in my case) to rest on top of the dough. While the dough sits and rest, I went to the gym as a motivation to get back so I could eat these crispy goodness! (Yes, food is my best motivator to go to the gym, otherwise I'd be lazy and eat all day!). By the time I got back, the dough was thin enough so all I had to do was cut off the sides of the bag to get to the dough. So here's the following recipe that I picked, along with my personal notes and pictures taken during the process:

You Tiao
Adapted from Chinese Snacks, Wei-Chuan's Cookbook
makes about 10 seven inch pieces.

260 g bread flour (about 2 cups)
175 mL water (about 2/3 cup)
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp alum
1/2 tsp salt

1. Mix water with baking powder, baking soda, alum, and salt until dissolved. Pour this solution in the flour and mix until combined. The mixture will be sticky so make sure to wet your hands periodically to mix.
2. Let this sit for about 30 minutes and gently use your fingers to knead until dough is more elastic.
3. Spray a plastic ziploc bag with oil and place the dough in the bag. Place a heavy object on top to flatten the dough. Let sit for 4 hours.
4. Heat enough oil for deep frying to about 350-375 F.
5. Use scissors to cut a side of the zip loc bag to open. Cut dough in half, and slice each half to ten equal pieces, about 3/4 inch wide. Stack two pieces together and use the back of a knife to press the middle to make an indentation.

6. Gently stretch each piece and drop it into the hot oil. Fry until golden, making sure to turn the cruellers constantly, about 1-2 minutes each.

Enjoy best fresh from the fryer! I like mine mixed with sweet soymilk


Anonymous said...

Hi Diddy, mmmm... delicious! I would love to try this recipe, but I might just skip the alum though. Keep up the good work. Like you, I am badly deprived of authentic Asian goodies in a Western country, and have to make my own hehe.


evan said...

diddy, guess what. fried you tiao is MY favorite!! initially i was scratching my head over the title. cruellers? sounds like cruella from dalmatians 101 lol. i had salad youtiao the other day at a food court. they stuffed the you tiao with fish paste, coat with sesame seeds and deep fried. served with coleslaw...its yum~~

nice one diddy. keep going =)

Little Corner of Mine said...

This looks really good, like those sold outside! I like mine with bak kut teh. :)

diddy said...

Thanks, little corner of mine. Since I live in the middle of nowhere in the US, I can't get fresh ones outside, only store bought ones, and once those are reheated they lose their crispness and become dense and chewy!

kai said...

hi..i was gonna make your you tiao but i was just wondering, what is alum??
also could i use plain flour instead of bread flour?

diddy said...

Hi kai,
Alum is a leavening agent that is also used in canning. It makes the dough have a crisp but light texture. ou could use plain flour instead of bread flour, but the amount of water may need to be adjusted slightly for the different absorptions of each flour. Good luck trying it! Fresh cruellers are definately delicious!