You Tiao - Chinese Fried Breadstick

You Tiao, or You Zha Gui, is breadsticks fried in pairs (two sticks stuck together). Cut it into small chunks or just eat it as it is, this simple breadstick is one of the most versatile and widely-consumed Chinese food. It is a very popular Chinese-style breakfast, usually served with hot soya milk; it is also great with chicken rice porridge or plain rice porridge, and complements the Chinese spare-rib soup (just like croutons). However, you may also be interested in the real story of how the bread stick got its name as "You Tiao".

Ingredients:

  • 500g wheat flour, sieved
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, to be diluted in the water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Deep-frying oil to fill up half a wok

Preparation:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together and knead into a dough.
  2. Cover the dough with a piece of clean, damp cloth. Place it in a container and leave it in a cool place for about half an hour.
  3. Line the worktop with some flour, roll out the dough to about 0.5cm thick.
  4. Cut the dough into 3cmx10cm strips. Using a chopstick or the flat back of a knife, make a gutter in the middle of each strip (make sure it doesn't cut through) by pressing it down lightly.
  5. Heat the oil in the wok on high.
  6. Dip the strips into the boiling hot oil and deep-fry till it is golden brown.
  7. Leave to cool a little and to drain off excessive oil before eating.

Versatility Note:

  1. The amount of water used can be adjusted depending on the quality of the flour.
  2. The dimensions of the cut dough are only a guide. You can vary them as long as it is not overly thick, or it won't be fried properly. The dough will also expand very much when fried, so you don't want to make the strips too big either.
  3. This is best eaten fresh. You tiao that's been left over-night will be very tough and elastic.