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Jan 30, 2010 10:47 AM

Chinese cruller (you tiao) recipes

Does anyone know of a really good Chinese American cookbook containing these?

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  1. I think they are in the Wei-Chuan Chinese Snacks and possibly in Florence Lin's book on noodles and dumplings - will check and let you know. They require an unusual leavener I believe.

    10 Replies
    1. re: buttertart

      They are in Florence Lin's.

      She calls for alum and ammonium carbonate powder; she says the alum makes the dough harder, and therefore crispy after being fried, and the ammonium carbonate "gives the dough air, making it puff up."

      Her ingredients are
      2 tsp coarse salt
      1 tsp alum
      1 tsp ammonium cabonate
      1 tsp baking soda
      1 tsp baking powder
      1 1/4 c room temperature water
      approximately 3 1/2 c flour

      6+ c peanut or corn oil for frying

      1. re: willownt

        thanks. i've tried ammonium carbonate w & w/o baking soda, but never with the alum and with baking powder.

        I don't have the Lin book, does she say how long to rest the dough?

        1. re: qianning

          She says at least 4, up to 8, hours at room temperature.
          The yield is 20 - 8 inch pieces. She says they'll keep well wrapped for a week in the frig and a month in the freezer.

          I also found them in Wei-Chuan's Chinese Snacks:
          6 c (1-1/2 lbs) high protein flour
          2 c water
          2 t ammonium bicarbonate OR 1 T baking powder
          1 1/2 t alum (says if unavailable, just omit, no substitute given)
          1 1/2 t salt
          oil to fry

          It says after mixing, let sit at room temp for 4 hours, and if a large batch is made, cut into 1 1/3 lb pieces first before letting it sit.

          1. re: willownt

            thanks.really appreciate the info on the Florence Lin recipe.
            i have the wei-chuan book, last time i tried it, though, i didn't have the ammonium, so used b. powder,and no alum, it was not very successful. i thought we had alum in the cabinet, but just learned that mr. qn tossed it, so will have to pick some up, at least it is easier to find than the ammonium.

            1. re: qianning

              Um…thank you all, four years later?! I rarely check the board anymore and lo and behold!

              1. re: qianning

                Just keep this thread "current"!,,,,,we've been using the wei-chuan recipe, with high protein flour one time, with AP + wheat gluten another time, and using ammonium bicarb, baking soda, & alum, with pretty decent results. We've cooked half the you tiao after the long rest, But have also frozen half the dough before the long rest, then defrosted overnight to cook for breakfast with good results.

                Will definitely try the Florence Lin version, ie with all of the above plus baking powder, at some point.

                1. re: qianning

                  I just saw a recipe for Mini Chinese Doughnut from Don Yong (from Malaysia) in Bread Winners that has the ammonium bicarb but not alum:
                  500 g all purpose flour
                  28 g baking powder
                  2 g instant dry yeast
                  3 g sugar
                  7 g salt
                  5 g ammonium bicarbonate
                  370 g water

                  He recommends you stir around the bowl after 20-30 min of rest, three different times, and then let rest in the frig for 2+ hours.

                  (If you search for "doughnut," you can pull it up from Amazon's look inside feature -- it's on p 32.)

                  1. re: willownt

                    Now that's an interesting recipe--yeasted. I'll be looking into that. Its funny because I have a "Malaysian Favorites" book that also has a yeasted you tiao (Ewe Char Kuay) recipe, but that one calls for "lye water", which I've never tracked down.

                    1. re: qianning

                      I've seen it in Chinese groceries. Clear with white sludge at the bottom. Baking ammonia is put out by Krinos and is in Greek/Mediterranean stores here.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Thanks BT, I'll look for lye water next time I'm in C-town or at Kam Man.

                        I've got the baking amomonia, and have used it several times in the Weichuan recipe and others (some Swedish cookie recipes also call for it). The Weichuan recipe is not bad at all, and certainly the best home-made we've tried yet, but not totally perfect either, as they are a tad heavy, and the "puff" factor can be uneven.

      2. This is what I've heard isn't bad. But no one in my family has ever tried to make them, maybe because we're terrified of all that oil. We just buy the frozen ones at the store or the ones they sell in the food stalls in Malaysia, and having tasted both, I'd say the frozen ones are pretty similar to the ones that people make.
        6 C. ( 1 1/2 lbs) high protein flour
        2 C. water
        2 t. ammonium bicarbonate or I T. baking powder
        2 t. baking soda
        11/2 t. alum* (food grade)
        1 1/2 t. Salt

        Preparation instructions:
        1: Place ingredients A in a mixing bowl; add water and stir until the ingredients have dissolved. Add flour and mix well; let stand for 15-
        20 minutes. Use your hand to take some dough around edges and drop it into the center of the dough; let stand for 15-20 minutes. Continue to
        drop the dough in the center of the bowl 3 or 4 times until the dough is elastic and smooth. Turn the dough over and lightly coat the surface
        with oil so that the dough will stay moist. Let it stand for I hour.Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a sheet of plastic
        wrap; wrap the dough and form it into a rectangular shape. Let it stand for 4 hours. If a large batch is made, cut the dough into several I I/; lose
        pieces then wrap each piece in a sheet of plastic wrap.

        2: Unwrap the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough and attech if into a long strip (Fig. 1). Roll the dough into a rectangular shape, 3" wide and
        1/16 thick (Fig. 2). Crosswise cut the rectangular shaped dough into strips, 1/3 wide (Fig. 3). Put two strips on top of each other Fig, 4); Use
        a thin rod (skewer) or the back of a cleaver to press lengthwise in middle of the strips (Fig. 5); this will attach them securely to each
        other. Follow the same step for the other strips. Heat the oil for deep-frying; pick up a strip from the ends and gently stretch it to make it
        longer (Fig. 6). Carefully drop it into the hot oil and turn it over continuously with chopsticks until the cruller expands and turns golden
        brown; remove.

        The hot cutlers may be placed in split "Flaky Sesame Flat Breads" (''Shau Bing") or served with "Salty or Sweet Soy Bean Milk".
        * Alum may be omitted if it is unavailable.

        4 Replies
        1. re: lyntc10

          Does anyone know what the alum does, chemically, in the above recipe?

          1. re: qianning

            An acid that reacts with the baking soda. But there is also ammonium bicarbonate and/or baking powder.

            Some of those acid/basic ingredients affect properties like browning and texture (chewy, tender etc).

            I'd be tempted to use just baking powder, at 1 tsp/cup of flour - 2T in all.

            1. re: paulj

              The other leaveners give the distinctive texture.

              1. re: buttertart

                Yep. Just baking powder &/or baking soda doesn't work well in my experience.

        2. Has anyone found a good frozen version of you tiao, either already cooked or in dough form? Or is it just better to try to make them if you want to have them available at home?

          1 Reply
          1. re: emily

            There's one brand of frozen that we find OK, but unfortunately i don't know the brand name-- most of the package is see through, but the picture/brand logo area has a black rectangular background with orangey-red script, IIRC, &, if that helps. We also find that good bakery ones from Chinatown freeze OK. We re-heat straight from the freezer into a toaster oven. Still never as good as fresh.