You know we love anything fried! And these fried dough sticks are no different. Every country has its own variation of a fried dough treat, and these, called Youtiao, do not disappoint. It’s an easy Chinese recipe to make fried dough strips. It’s a popular breakfast item in China, where it’s often enjoyed with a bowl of congee. And it’s sure to become one of your favorites too.
Youtiao literally means ‘oil strip’ in Mandarin. But in Cantonese, the name yàuhjagwái translates to ‘oil-fried-devil’. They’re puffy and airy on the inside, and crispy on the outside.
To make it, you will need all-purpose flour, an egg, baking powder, milk, butter, and oil for deep frying. And of course, a little bit of patience. The dough requires an overnight resting period in the refrigerator, but trust us, your patience will pay off!
In a bowl, mix the flour, egg, salt, baking powder, milk, and butter together. Slowly add the water, adding just enough to make a soft dough that does not stick to the bowl. Then continue to knead the dough until smooth, about 15 minutes. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for at least half an hour.
Form the dough into a rectangular loaf. Wrap the loaf with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Allow the dough to come up to room temperature before frying—this can take up to 3 days.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or pan while you prepare the dough strips. To create the dough strips, cut the dough into 1-inch pieces, then place one on top of another to create stacks of two. Use a wooden skewer to press down on the center of the dough stacks (lengthwise). Then take each end and carefully stretch out the dough to about 9 inches. Fry the dough strips in hot oil until golden and crispy.
You can also use the electric mixer when making the dough.
After refrigerating the dough overnight, it’s important to allow it to come up to room temperature. Otherwise, it won’t fry correctly.
The oil used for frying should be very hot (aim for about 400°F/205°C). Use a neutral frying oil like peanut, canola, or vegetable oil.
Youtiao is best served and eaten immediately, while they’re still crispy.
If you want to store Youtiao, simply wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, and freeze it for up to 3 months. Reheat in the Airfryer to make it crispy again.
In the bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and butter together.
Slowly add the water, adding just enough to make a soft dough that does not stick to the bowl. Then add egg and milk.
Continue to knead the dough until smooth, about 15 minutes. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for half an hour. Working on a clean, floured surface, form the dough into a rectangular loaf. Wrap the loaf with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. When frying the dough the next day, it needs to come up to room temperature first. This will take up to 3 hours.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or pan. Unwrap the dough and place it on top of a lightly floured surface. Flour the top of the dough lightly. Cut the dough into 1-inch strips, then place one on top of another to create stacks of two.
Using a wooden skewer to press down on the center of the dough stacks (lengthwise). Make sure the dough sticks to each other so that they don’t come apart during frying.
Then take each end and carefully stretch out the dough to about 9 inches.
Carefully lower the stretched dough strips into the hot oil. The dough strips can quadruple in size during frying, so don’t overcrowd the pot!
Fry the dough in batches, while using tongs to turn the dough in the oil as it fries.
Remove the sticks from the pan and let them drain on plate lined with paper towels.
Serve youtiao and enjoy!