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Chinese doughnut sticks in a basket
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5 from 17 votes

Chinese Doughnut Sticks (Youtiao, 油条)

A comforting breakfast staple loved by many, Chinese doughnut sticks (Youtiao) are light, airy and pleasantly chewy. Follow my recipe to make it at home without fail.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Rest2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 35 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Bread
Servings: 10 sticks
Calories: 230kcal
Author: Wei Guo

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 400 g all-purpose flour/plain flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda optional, see note 1
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten, plus water combined to 250g see note 2
  • 2 tablespoon neutral cooking oil plus some for coating

You also need:

  • Flour for dusting
  • Oil for deep-frying see note 3

Instructions

Make the dough

  • With a stand mixer: Add flour, baking powder, baking soda (if using), salt, the egg water mixture and oil into the bowl. Mix and knead on low speed for about 8 minutes. Rub a little oil on your hands (to prevent sticking) and remove the dough.
  • Manually: use a silicon spatular to mix and combine all the ingredients into a rough-looking dough. Cover and rest for 15 mins. Coat your hands with oil (to prevent sticking). Use your fist to press the dough. Then use fingers to fold the dough from the side towards the centre. Repeat the movement until the dough becomes smooth (at this stage it should be soft but not sticky).

Rest the dough

  • Divide the dough into two equal portions. Shape each one into a smooth ball. Coat with oil then cover with cling film. 
  • Rest the dough for 2-4 hours at room temperature. Or, keep it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, wait for at least 1 hour until it comes back to room temperature.

Shape the sticks

  • Before handling the dough, start heating up the oil for deep frying.
  • Transfer the dough pieces onto the work surface (or a chopping board) dusted with flour. Use your hands to flatten each piece into a rectangle shape (about 10×25 cm/4×10 inch). Remember not to knead it again but handle it gently.
  • Lightly dust the dough with flour to prevent sticking. Then cut each piece into 10 equal strips.
  • Lay one strip on top of another. Press the centre with a chopstick lengthways to stick them together. Repeat the procedure with the rest of the dough pieces (dust with flour where necessary).

Fry the sticks

  • Once the oil reaches 190°C/374°F (see note 4), turn the heat down to low. Gently stretch the dough then carefully lower it into the oil (be careful not to splash).
  • When it comes up to the surface, roll it around continuously with a pair of chopsticks. Once the dough stops expanding and is evenly golden, transfer it to a plate lined with kitchen paper (to soak up excess oil).
  • Repeat the procedure to cook the rest of the dough. You may cook two sticks at the same time, but do not fry more at once since this will decrease the oil temperature too much.

Store & reheat

  • Doughnut sticks taste best when warm. You may store leftovers in an airtight bag in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for 2 months.
  • Reheat the chilled ones in a frying pan (without oil) over low heat until warm. Flip several times to heat evenly.
  • For frozen ones, you may heat it up in the oven (preheated at 180°C/ 356°F) for 5 mins without defrosting. Or defrost first then warm up in a frying pan.

Notes

1. Baking soda helps to brown the doughnut sticks during deep frying and adds a little alkaline taste. Please feel free to skip it if unavailable.
2. Regardless of the size of your eggs, the total weight of the eggs and water should be 250g. That is to say, if you use small-sized eggs, you’d need more water. Whereas using large eggs, you’d need less water.
3. Use a wok or deep pot for deep-frying. Depending on the size of your cookware, the oil quantity varies. You’d need some depth of oil to successfully reproduce this recipe.
4. It’s best to use a kitchen thermometer. Otherwise, use a small piece of dough to test first. When the temperature is high enough, the dough should come up to the surface very quickly (in 3 seconds or so).

Nutrition

Serving: 1stick | Calories: 230kcal