Youtiao – Chinese Fried Dough Sticks

Youtiao, Chinese fried dough sticks, served on black plate. pinit

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Youtiao, also known as Chinese fried dough sticks or Chinese crullers, are a popular breakfast and snack item in Chinese cuisine. These long, golden-brown sticks are crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. They are traditionally enjoyed with soy milk or congee, but they can also be eaten on their own or paired with other savory dishes. In this recipe, we’ll guide you through the process of making homemade youtiao that will rival the ones you find in your favorite Chinese restaurants. Get ready to savor the deliciousness of these classic Chinese fried dough sticks!

Youtiao is a popular and versatile Chinese pastry that has a history dating back over a millennium. The origins of Youtiao can be traced to the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) in China, making it a traditional breakfast favorite with enduring popularity. Over the centuries, Youtiao has evolved and adapted to various regional cuisines within China and other Asian countries. It’s commonly enjoyed alongside congee, soy milk, or as a snack on its own.

  • Ancient Beginnings: Youtiao has its roots in ancient China and has been mentioned in historical texts. Its long, deep-fried shape symbolizes the Chinese idiom “have both cake and eat it.”
  • Cultural Significance: In Chinese culture, Youtiao is often associated with a harmonious and happy life due to its connected shape, and it’s often consumed during festivals and celebrations.
  • Versatile Snack: While traditionally served at breakfast, Youtiao has found its way into various culinary applications, including savory dishes like “Youtiao Shrimp” and as a unique ingredient in many fusion recipes.

Youtiao – Chinese Fried Dough Sticks

Youtiao is a beloved Chinese street food that has been enjoyed for centuries. These fried dough sticks have a unique texture that combines a crispy exterior with a light and fluffy interior. They are made from a simple yeast dough that is deep-fried until golden brown. Youtiao can be enjoyed in various ways, whether dipped in a hot bowl of soy milk, stuffed with ingredients to make sandwiches, or simply eaten on their own. With this recipe, you'll be able to recreate the authentic taste and texture of youtiao right in your own kitchen.

Tools and Equipment

Prep Time 2 hrs Cook Time 15 mins Rest Time 1 hr Total Time 3 hrs 15 mins Difficulty: Intermediate Servings: 10 Calories: 92.59 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


Step-by-Step Instructions

Activate the Yeast:

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water.

  2. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit for about 5 minutes until foamy.

Prepare the Dough:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

  2. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture.

  3. Mix everything together until a dough forms.

Knead the Dough:

  1. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface.

  2. Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.

  3. Shape the dough into a ball.

Let the Dough Rest:

  1. Place the dough back into the mixing bowl.

  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 1 hour in a warm, draft-free area until it doubles in size.

Roll and Cut the Dough:

  1. After the dough has risen, gently punch it down to release any air bubbles.

  2. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll it out into a rectangular shape, about 1/2 inch thick.

  3. Use a knife or pastry cutter to cut the dough into strips, approximately 1 inch wide and 8-10 inches long.

Shape and Proof the Youtiao:

  1. Take one strip of dough and stretch it gently to about twice its length.

  2. Repeat with another strip of dough and place them side by side.

  3. Press the strips together at one end and twist them together.

  4. Repeat the process with the remaining strips.

  5. Place the shaped youtiao on a floured surface, cover with a kitchen towel, and let them proof for 20-30 minutes.

Fry the Youtiao:

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a deep-frying pan or pot to about 350°F (175°C).

  2. Gently lower a few pieces of proofed youtiao into the hot oil.

  3. Fry them for about 2-3 minutes on each side until they turn golden brown.

  4. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to transfer the fried youtiao to a plate lined with kitchen paper towels to drain excess oil.

  5. Repeat the frying process with the remaining youtiao.

Serve and Enjoy:

  1. Serve the freshly fried youtiao while they are still warm and crispy.

  2. Enjoy them with soy milk, congee, or your favorite dipping sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 10

Amount Per Serving
Calories 92.59kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0.26g1%
Saturated Fat 0.04g1%
Sodium 181.28mg8%
Potassium 29.17mg1%
Total Carbohydrate 19.42g7%
Dietary Fiber 0.74g3%
Sugars 0.28g
Protein 2.68g6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Please note that the nutritional values provided are approximate and may vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. It's always best to double-check with your specific ingredients and measurements for accurate nutritional information.


Tips and Variations:
  • For an extra flavor boost, add a pinch of five-spice powder or a sprinkle of sesame seeds to the dough before kneading.
  • If you prefer a lighter texture, you can add a tablespoon of vegetable oil or shortening to the dough mixture.
  • Experiment with different dipping sauces, such as sweet chili sauce or hoisin sauce, to accompany your youtiao.
  • Youtiao can be frozen after they are shaped and proofed. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag and store for up to 1 month. When ready to use, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before frying.
Serving Suggestions:
  • Youtiao are traditionally enjoyed with soy milk or congee for breakfast.
  • Serve them as a snack with dipping sauces or alongside other Chinese dishes.
  • Use youtiao as a delicious ingredient in Chinese-style sandwiches or as a topping for noodle soups.
Allergen Information:

Youtiao is generally made from simple ingredients, but it's important to be aware of allergen concerns when preparing or consuming it:

  • Wheat: The primary ingredient in Youtiao is wheat flour, so those with gluten allergies or sensitivities should avoid it.

  • Vegan/Vegetarian: Youtiao dough itself is typically vegan as it doesn't contain animal products. However, be cautious if you buy Youtiao from a vendor, as they might fry it in oil that's also used for frying non-vegetarian items. When making Youtiao at home, you can ensure a vegetarian or vegan preparation.

Wine or Drink Pairing:

Youtiao is often enjoyed with specific beverages and accompaniments in Chinese cuisine:

  • Soy Milk: Youtiao is traditionally paired with warm or cold soy milk. The contrast of savory Youtiao with creamy and slightly sweet soy milk is a classic combination.

  • Congee: Another common pairing is with congee, a rice porridge. The mild flavor and soft texture of congee complement the crispy and salty Youtiao.

  • Tea: Youtiao goes well with various types of Chinese tea. Green tea, black tea, or oolong tea can balance the richness of the fried pastry.

  • Coffee: For those who prefer coffee, especially in modern settings, Youtiao can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee.

Storage and Leftovers:

Youtiao is best when consumed fresh as it's at its crispiest and most delicious right out of the fryer. However, if you have leftovers or need to store them:

  • Reheating: To regain some of the Youtiao's crispiness, you can reheat it in an oven or toaster oven at a low temperature for a few minutes. Be cautious not to overheat and make it too dry.

  • Storage: Store leftover Youtiao in an airtight container at room temperature. If they soften, you can reheat them as mentioned above.

  • Creative Uses: Youtiao can be used in various recipes. It can be crumbled and used as a topping for salads, soups, or other dishes that benefit from a crispy element.

Keywords: Youtiao, Chinese Fried Dough Sticks, Chinese Crullers, Chinese Breakfast, Chinese Snack, Chinese Cuisine, Deep-Fried Dough

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