Monday, January 18, 2010

Chinese Donut Sticks - You Tiao or Oil-Fried Ghosts



Food for the body and eye candy for winter-weary souls.




From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...
Some folks called them Chinese donut sticks, but these long strips of fried dough are far more like bread sticks than donuts or crullers. You tiao, or oil-fried ghosts, are usually served with a traditional Chinese breakfast of rice congee or salted soy milk. Both are bland and are an acquired taste for the Western palate. The salty bread sticks help add a recognizable dimension of flavor to an Eastern breakfast. The strips are made so they can be torn, lengthwise, into two long pieces after deep frying. Chinese folklore tells us that two dough strips, one male, one female, were layered and joined in the center, as an act of protest against the official Qin Hui and his wife who plotted to kill, or dishonor, a revered general named Yue Fei. It's believed that their traitorous behavior was punished by boiling in oil. I leave the fate of their remains to your imagination. Keeping in mind the fact that most Chinese homes have no ovens, I think you can see how these salty sticks became popular. I'm featuring them here as a curiosity for most, but as an exploration for those with more adventuresome palates. They are really simple to do and are worthy of a one-shot. I do ask you to keep in mind the fact that these are nothing more than exotic bread sticks. Please don't slay the messenger. Here's the recipe.

Chinese Donuts Sticks - You Tiao or Oil-Fried Ghosts...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, courtesy of Jacki Passmore

Ingredients:
1-1/4 cups self-rising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 to 8 tablespoons lukewarm water
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Directions:
1) Combine flour, baking powder,salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Make a well in center of mixture and add 6 tablespoons of water, stirring to mix with a spoon until a soft dough forms. If necessary, add additional water, a tablespoon at a time, to form dough. Knead lightly in bowl until soft dough forms, about 30 seconds. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes to relax gluten in flour.
2) Lightly flour a work surface. Turn dough onto surface and knead for about 30 seconds. Roll dough into a strip that is 16 x 4-inches in size. Cut crosswise into 20 3/4-inch strips. Pair and stack strips. Press each pair down the center with a chopstick to seal. Lightly stretch dough, working from center to ends, until each strip is about 10-inches long. Cover lightly with plastic wrap.
3) Using a high sided saute pan or a wok, pour in oil to a depth of 2-1/2 inches. Set over high heat and bring oil to a temperature of 350 degrees F. Place three to four strips of dough into pan and fry, turning often, until they turn golden brown, about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on layers of paper toweling. Continue procedure until all dough strips are cooked. Serve at room temperature. Yield: 10 donut strips.

This post is being linked to:

Smiling Sally - Blue Monday

Mellow Yellow Monday

47 comments:

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Fantastic shot and nice recipe !! Great post !!

fickleinpink said...

i like the story behind the doughnut sticks...

and pretty flower, too!


Come and visit me sometime!
have a great day!

xoxo,
fickleinpink, the dark side

Icy BC said...

You're right! Yummy for the belly and beautiful flower to see!

Terie said...

What a pretty little flower pot and flower. These chinese donut remind me of Churros without the sugar.

Cindy said...

Lovely photo and recipe.
cindy

Pom Pom said...

You've reminded me that I MUST buy a little pot of pretty today. I will!

A Year on the Grill said...

as always, a great story... as usual, i want to add or change, just some powdered sugar this time

Cathy said...

As always, Mary, a very interesting and informative post. Primroses are a colorful sign that spring will be here soon, although that is hard to believe on a day like today.

Claudia said...

Lovelypots - these doughnut sticks look tempting right now. And the flowers... oh the flowers.

SmilingSally said...

They might be tempting, but right now, I'd like something warm, like beef stew. I need warming up. Happy Blue Monday, Mary.

George Gaston said...

Mary, fascinating story. I must admit I thought these would be a sweet donut stick, but I bet that they are great just the same.

The small flower pot does remind us that Spring is just around the corner... many thanks.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Pretty, sunny flowers, Mary! I have never heard of the doughnut sticks before, and love that you introduced me to them.
♥, Susan

Pie said...

I've never tried a doughnut stick, it sounds yummy. Lovely flower too.

Happy Blue Monday!

Carly said...

Those look SO yummy! I'm sure they are healthy too... right? I can't wait to try and make them!

bj said...

ahhh...loved your story, as always. The flower is a delight.

This recipe sounds much like my deep fried puffs...it's a wonderful recipe and can be used many ways.
Thanks so much...
xo bj

Judi said...

Thank you for sharing a yummy recipe again. I might just have to give that a try.
Your pictures are very tempting..yum!
have a lovely day
Judi

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Ghost sticks! You come up the most interesting dishes!
Looks very tasty indeed. :)

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove said...

Hi Mary,

I have never heard of or seen these before. I'd like to try them!

Have a wonderful Monday!

ellen b said...

Well you've inspired me to get Chinese take out for lunch today :0)
That Tuscan bean soup below this is also calling my name!
Have a good week Mary!

Shelia said...

Hi Mary! Love the beautiful flower and those little ghost strips look good enough to eat! :)
Thanks for your visit.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

life's journey said...

wow that is great shot and the recipe is awesome. Happy MYM!

storyteller said...

Pretty yellow flowers in your blue planter. I don't think I've ever tried these before but as a bread lover, I suspect I'd like them.
Hugs and blessings,

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Great recipes girl...YUM!! Thanks for coming by...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

Cherie said...

OH I do want to ditch the diet to try this recipe. What is the calorie count on this??? ahahahahaha Much love to you this week, Cherie

noble pig said...

Love the story behind them. Would be interesting to taste.

Maria said...

Donut sticks. I learned something new today:)

chubskulit said...

It looks so crispy and delicious. I love the plant too.

Birthday Cake for mellow yellow monday!

xinex said...

Hi Mary, I betcha these would be perfect with coffee in the morning...Christine

Chef Aimee said...

Oh those look so delicious.

chubskulit said...

Party Favors for blue monday!

Vanillastrawberryspringfields said...

Those pics are so beautiful and love ur write up and precious knowledge.
Never had these before and would love to cunch one perfect bite *them all...

Marice said...

thanks for sharing! that looks interestingly yummy :)

u may view mine here

"Guppy" Honaker said...

Those Chinese doughnut sticks look like a bite of heaven!

Keep up the good work on you blog. - David

Aloe Vera 101
Holistic Health Info.
Healthy Recipes

NatureFootstep said...

I love the flowerpot. Or shall I say cup? :)

Katy ~ said...

Mary, you are a delight. You are just so real.

Love the flower. My spirit needed that!

The Blonde Duck said...

That's so neat! I like their name!

sherri@lavenderfields said...

Looks yummy Mary! I always like recipes that other people have tried and said they were really good. I'm not too good at going into a cook book and picking something I've never had before! Enjoy your posts as always!

Deborah said...

How interesting! I love to learn about food from other cultures.

kat said...

very interesting info. thanks for sharing this with us. i never tried tthat Chinese Donut stick but i love their congee.

Thanks for the comment anyway.

Oh the Blue pot is really nice.

Have a great day.

Cindy said...

These remind me of yummy Churros.Thanks for sharing the story and recipe. I'll make the Chinese Ghost Sticks with my girls, perhaps for Chinese New Year!

Kim said...

Very interesting recipe indeed. Love the name oil-fried ghosts.

jeanne said...

Hello Mary, I was sThank you for your sweet comment about my uncle. He was a blessing to our family.

the bread sticks are probably good but I would like them to have cinnamon and sugar. My sweet tooth. HA! I loved the story you shared. I promise not to kill the messenger.

After spending 5 days in Atlanta with an antique show and coming home to my cousin Bob, my visiting has taken a backseat to so much activity. My cousin leaves tomorrow so life should be less busy. I have missed you too.

Hugs, Jeanne

My Little Space said...

Well done, Mary! haha... Even I haven't try making them myself. But they need to look a little more fluffy! I'm not sure if you can get the ammonia powder at the Asian food store over there. Ammonia powder is used in 'char siew bao' and 'you tiao'!

zurin said...

What an interesting post!!! and tq for the recipe..id like to try these :)

My Little Space said...

So sorry, Mary! That supposed to be ammonium powder instead ammonia powder.

Stine in Ontario said...

Primroses are such welcome plants this time of year!

KnightBaker Simon said...

A question for you. Why use self raising flour in this recipe? Since self raising is effectively flour, salt and baking powder wouldn't it be easier to simply adjust those ingredients in the recipe and use all purpose?
ta,
-S.

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