When I first read through the recipe for Yau Char Kwai on foodbuzz, I was intimidated. The recipe was daunting perhaps because of a couple of ingredients in there which I'd never used before: Ammonia Bicarbonate and Alum. The rest of the recipe seemed familiar enough and the method was pretty simple, almost like making doughnuts but I hesitated a little before giving the recipe a go.
But the temptation was too great. I love Yau Char Kwai. I've loved it since the first time I tried them when I was a kid. Sunday morning breakfasts always comprised some sticks of Yau Char Kwai. Some eat them in porridge or dip them in soup but I like to eat them as they are.
They look like the Mexican/Spanish churros but these are savoury, rather than sweet. Some say the churro owes its roots to these deep-fried Chinese crullers but there are as many origin theories as there are variations of this dish.
The process of making these crullers is pretty simple and the most challenging part turned out to be waiting for the dough to proof (it took 2 hours and I could hardly wait!). The end result was perfect, I am quite pleased.... heck, I am deliriously happy at how they turned out. Deliciously salty, chewy, crunchy... oh yum. Oh yes, nice and oily too :)
Yau Char Kwai
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp tepid water
250 ml water
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp alum
1/2 tsp ammonia bicarb
300g bread flour
1 tsp salt
Combine the ingredients in A together and let it sit for 10 mins or till it starts frothing.
Combine the ingredients in B.
Sieve flour and salt in a large bowl. Add A and B to the flour and mix with a wooden spoon till a dough forms. Use your hands and knead for about 5 mins. If it's too sticky, add a little (just a little) more flour.
Leave in the bowl, cover with cling film, and let it proof for 2 hours.
Once risen, transfer to a well floured surface and shape into a rectangle. Cut into 1cm slices (mine were too thick and I had to cut each slice in half before frying) and pile one piece on top of another.
Heat about 3 inches of vegetable oil in a deep wok. To test if its hot enough, drop a small piece of the dough in the oil. It should bubble and sizzle immediately.
Lift the two pieces of cut dough, pressing them together, stretch them a little and gently drop them into the oil. You can fry two or three together, depending on how large your wok is. Keep turning them in the oil using a pair of chopsticks. Cook until they are golden. Remove and drain. Eat immediately!!