Youtiao (Chinese Doughnut Stick)

Youtiao Chinese Doughnut Stick is undoubtedly a popular street food and a daily breakfast staple in China and Southeast Asia. Other names for youtiao are Chinese: cruller, doughnut, breadstick, fried churro, oil stick and fried breadstick. While they called youtiao you char kway (Cantonese), meaning “oil-fried devil” or “oil-fried ghost” in Malaysia and Singapore. Traditionally, youtiao dough ingredients are flour, egg, sugar, salt, and water. And leavening agent called ammonium bicarbonate, is a raising agent used in making youtiao.

Modern Variation of Youtiao

Modern variation of youtiao Chinese doughnut stick includes adding baking powder and baking soda to the dough. Followed by shaping the dough into two long doughnut sticks, pressed together and deep fried in oil until golden brown. Youtiao is savoury, mildly sweet, slightly crispy on the outside and hollow inside with a delicate chewiness. Usually, youtiao makers achieve the hollow inside by stretching up to 2½ times longer than original gluten dough. They stretch the dough just before lowering into the hot oil for deep frying.

Youtiao Chinese Doughnut Stick Gluten Free Vegan

Gluten Free Youtiao (Chinese Doughnut Stick) Recipe

For my gluten free youtiao recipe, my ingredients are self-raising flour, salt, baking powder and instant dry yeast. Plus psyllium husk powder and rice milk. This gluten free youtiao recipe is also vegan, dairy free, nut free, soy free, egg free and sugar free. I can only stretch this gluten free youtiao dough up to 1½ inch longer than the original gluten free dough. Besides, I have tried many different methods and rising agents, but unable to replicate the hollow inside of gluten youtiao. However, the resulting gluten free youtiao is crispy outside and soft and spongy inside. The verdict is that this gluten free youtiao tastes very similar to the gluten version.

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Youtiao Chinese Doughnut Stick Gluten Free Vegan

History of Youtiao

The origin of youtiao dated all the way back to the Song Dynasty (960–1279 CE). Specifically, the period of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279), during the reign of Emperor Gaozong. General Yue Fei was a highly intellectual general and a famous symbol of loyalty and devotion. He was victorious in leading his army to defeat the Jin Dynasty army and reclaimed many territories. When Yue Fei was about to retake the North from the Jin Dynasty, Emperor Gaozong ordered withdrawal of his army. And he returned to Hangzhou (city name known today).

Qin Hui, as the Song Dynasty head of state, forewarned the emperor. That conquering the Jin Dynasty will result in the release of Emperor Qinzong. And Emperor Qinzong will take the crown from him instead. Additionally, Qin Hui convinced emperor Gaozong to end the war. As well as to make a peace reconciliation with the Jin Dynasty by returning all reclaimed territories to them. Likewise, Qin Hui and his wife had premeditated, entrapped, and betrayed general Yue Fei, resulting in his death.

Invention of Youtiao

In accordance with widely held folklore, two street food vendors invented youtiao. These street food vendors shaped youtiao into two human figures dough and deep fried in hot oil. Because this act signified revenge for general Yue Fei and objections to Qin Hui and his wife. There are two tales for Yue Fei’s death: one is that soldiers attacked him on his journey back to Hangzhou. The second tale is that they imprisoned him straight after his return to Hangzhou. They lodged false charges and executed him. Subsequently, they further modified youtiao. Today, They regularly shape youtiao into two long strips of dough pressed together in the middle.

Youtiao Chinese Doughnut Stick Gluten Free Vegan

Ways to Eat Youtiao

There are numerous approaches to enjoy youtiao depending on the countries and their regions. They serve youtiao as a complement or side dish alongside soy milk (savoury or sweet) for breakfast in China. Furthermore, they add youtiao as a filling in Cifan (glutinous rice roll), a popular Shanghainese breakfast. And they make Cifan with sticky rice, shaped into balls, then filled with you tiao, pork sung and pickled vegetables. Additionally, youtiao can also be a stuffing in shaobing, a type of Chinese roasted flatbread.

In Hong Kong and Guangdong province, they enclose youtiao in steamed rice noodle roll . They called this dim sum ‘zhaliang’. Whereas, in Malaysia and Singapore, they enjoy you cha kway by dunking into local coffee for breakfast or teatime snack. Furthermore, Malaysians and Singaporeans love to serve sliced youtiao with bak kut teh (meat bone tea). Which is a type of pork herbal soup and with rice congee/porridge.

How to Make Chinese Doughnut Sticks

Ingredients

Gluten Free Youtiao Ingredients

For Preparing the Dough:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift in all the dry ingredients, whisk, and mix well.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the large mixing bowl. Then add the extra virgin olive oil and hot rice milk into the well.
  3. Use a spatula to mix the dry and wet ingredients together until you get bread crumb like texture.
  4. Rub 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into the palm of your hands and start kneading the dough. The oil will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.
  5. Add additional 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil gradually (1 tablespoon at a time) to the dough.
  6. Continue to knead the dough until well combined. The resulting dough should be sticky and lumpy yet well mixed.
  7. Cover the dough with cling wrap and rest on the benchtop for 3 hour.

Making and Shaping the Youtiao:

  1. Dust the work surface with some gluten free flour.
  2. Place the dough onto the dusted working surface. Gently pull with your hands to form a long rectangular shape around 10 inches wide.
  3. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until around 12 inches wide, 8 inches tall and ¼ inch (0.6cm) thick.
  4. Lightly dust the top pf the dough with some gluten free flour.
  5. Using a knife, cut the dough into 10 strips. Each strip 1.2 inch wide and space each strip around ½ inch apart.
  6. Scatter and lightly dust the cut dough pieces with some gluten free flour, particularly the cut sides. This step is important because the flour will prevent 2 pieces of doughs from sticking when stacked together later.
  7. Make a vertical indentation for each piece of dough with a chopstick.
  8. Then wet each piece of dough along the vertical indentation with some water.
  9. Place one strip of dough on top of another (with the vertical indentation side facing down). Until you have 5 sets of dough. Stack dough strips with the same length together.
  10. Press firmly on the centre of each set of dough with a chopstick to make a deep indentation vertically. And press all the way especially in the middle taking care not to break the dough. This will prevent the two pieces of dough from coming apart when deep frying.

Cooking the Youtiao:

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  1. Preheat a wok half filled with rice bran oil to 200C or 390F. Measure the temperature with a kitchen thermometer before frying. (I used a 12 inch wok).
  2. Hold the two ends of each set of dough and carefully stretch the dough to 9½ inches long. You cannot stretch the gluten free dough for more than 1½ inches. Do this just before you lower the stretched dough into the oil.
  3. Once the oil reached the 200C or 390C, turn the temperature to medium low. Then gently lower a set of dough into the oil. The youtiao will inflate quickly and float to the surface in less than 5 seconds.
  4. When the dough floats up, use a pair of chopsticks to continuously turn the dough every 3 seconds. This is to expand and fry the doughs evenly until golden brown, around 1 to 2 minutes.
Youtiao Chinese Doughnut Stick Gluten Free Vegan
Youtiao Chinese Doughnut Stick Gluten Free Vegan
Youtiao Chinese Doughnut Stick Gluten Free Vegan
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Youtiao (Chinese Doughnut Stick)

An incredibly popular street food and a daily breakfast staple in China and Southeast Asia. This gluten free Youtiao is savoury, crispy on the outside, soft and spongy inside.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Resting Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 50 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Chinese Breadstick, Chinese Breakfast, Chinese Cruller, Chinese Doughnut, Chinese Doughnut Stick, Chinese Fried Breadstick, Chinese Fried Churro, Chinese Oil Stick, Chinese Snack, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Gluten Free Bread, Nut Free, Soy Free, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 5 youtiaos
Calories: 337.5kcal
Author: Daphne Goh

Ingredients

For the dough:

Dry Ingredients:

Wet Ingredients:

Instructions

For preparing the dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl, sift in all the dry ingredients, whisk, and mix well.
  • Make a well in the middle of the large mixing bowl and add the extra virgin olive oil and hot rice milk into the well. Use a spatula to mix the dry and wet ingredients together until you get bread crumb like texture.
  • Rub 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into the palm of your hands and start kneading the dough. The oil will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.
  • Add additional 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil gradually (1 tablespoon at a time) to the dough and continue kneading with your hands until it is combined into the dough. The resulting dough should be sticky and lumpy yet well mixed.
  • Cover the dough with cling wrap and rest on the benchtop for 3 hour. Or you can also prepare and leave your dough covered overnight in the fridge.

For making and shaping the youtiao:

  • Dust the work surface with some gluten free flour.
  • Place the dough onto the dusted working surface. Gently pull with your hands to form a long rectangular shape around 10 inches wide.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until around 12 inches wide, 8 inches tall and ¼ inch (0.6cm) thick.
  • Lightly dust the top pf the dough with some gluten free flour.
  • Using a knife, cut the dough into 10 strips, each strip 1.2 inch wide and space each strip around ½ inch apart.
  • Scatter and lightly dust the cut dough pieces with some gluten free flour, particularly the cut sides. This step is important because the flour will prevent 2 pieces of doughs from sticking when stacked together later.
  • Make a vertical indentation for each piece of dough with a chopstick.
  • Then wet each piece of dough along the vertical indentation with some water.
  • Place one strip of dough on top of another (with the vertical indentation side facing down). Until you have 5 sets of dough. Stack dough strips with the same length together.
  • Press firmly on the centre of each set of dough with a chopstick to make a deep indentation vertically. Press all the way especially in the middle taking care not to break the dough. This will prevent the two pieces of dough from coming apart when deep frying.

For cooking the youtiao:

  • Preheat a wok half filled with rice bran oil to 200C or 390F. Measure the temperature with a kitchen thermometer before frying.
  • Hold the two ends of each set of dough and carefully stretch the dough to 9½ inches long. Gluten free dough cannot be stretched more than 1½ inches. Do this just before you lower the stretched dough into the oil.
  • Once the oil reached the 200C or 390C, turn the temperature to medium low. Then gently lower a set of dough into the oil. The youtiao will inflate quickly and float to the surface in less than 5 seconds.
  • When the dough floats up, use a pair of chopsticks to continuously turn the dough every 3 seconds. This is to expand and fry the doughs evenly until golden brown, around 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Remove and drain the cooked youtiao on kitchen paper towel.
  • Reheat by baking in the oven for 10 minutes at 160C or 320F.

Notes

Allergen: corn and yeast.
Nutrition Facts
Youtiao (Chinese Doughnut Stick)
Serving Size
 
1 youtiao
Amount per Serving
Calories
337.5
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
19.22
g
30
%
Saturated Fat
 
2.4
g
15
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2.02
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
12.88
g
Sodium
 
331.81
mg
14
%
Potassium
 
65.23
mg
2
%
Carbohydrates
 
39.51
g
13
%
Fiber
 
6.64
g
28
%
Sugar
 
3.88
g
4
%
Protein
 
6.36
g
13
%
Vitamin C
 
0.08
mg
0
%
Calcium
 
129.99
mg
13
%
Iron
 
1.84
mg
10
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Youtiao Chinese Doughnut Stick Gluten Free Vegan

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2 thoughts on “Youtiao (Chinese Doughnut Stick)”

  1. Interesting, I will try this. I have a good GF sourdough doughnut recipe where you pipe the mixture (with yeast added) as rings onto squares of greaseproof paper. Then you invert them into the hot oil and remove the paper. They round up in the oil producing round doughnuts with an excellent sourdough flavour. But definitely a sweet dish.

    I also make fresh GF pasta using 100% buckwheat flour. After making and resting the dough you kneed it by stretching it repeatedly until it stretches smoothly. There’s a mucilage in buckwheat which is being activated. I might experiment by adding buckwheat flour to this to see if it stretches better.

    Reply
    • Your GF sourdough doughnut recipe sounds fascinating too!

      Would love to hear your feedback on whether adding buckwheat flour to this GF Youtiao recipe will help make it stretch better. 🙂

      Reply
5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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