Revenge is a dish that is best served deep-fried. I’m pretty sure that’s how the Klingon proverb goes, and right it is. This is the most delicious ongoing corporal punishment I’ve ever tasted. Sampling these for the first time, Mrs. Pastry wanted to know how I got them to taste so, well…Chinese…when they’re really just simple fried strips of dough. I can’t say I know the answer, but somehow they do.
So gather your ingredients and let’s begin. Start by sifting the flours into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle.
Add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir on low to combine them.
Add the water…
…and stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Switch to the dough hook…
…and knead 3-5 minutes until the dough is fairly smooth and elastic. It will be wet and sticky.
Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl. Turn it over to coat the ball with oil, then cover it with a towel or plastic wrap.
Let it rise until it’s about twice the original size.
So then. Remove the dough to a floured surface and sprinkle more flour on top.
Roll the dough out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick, and slice it into strips roughly an inch wide. How long should they be? Well…how wide is your pan? Cut the strips to size and re-roll any scraps.
Dip your finger in water and moisten the top of one of the strips.
Place another on top and press down lightly to seal. This is the step that gives youtiao their distinctive shape.
Then set the strips on a lightly floured surface or a towel to proof for about half an hour. Cover with a cloth and spritz them with water from time to time to keep the tops from drying out.
At this point set a pan of oil on the stove to heat. Peanut oil is best, I think, for the flavor it adds. Attach a thermometer to the edge of the pan and bring the oil up to about 370 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the oil is hot, fry the strips for about a minute per side. You can fry a few at a time depending on the size of your pan. Just keep an eye on your thermometer and allow your oil to come back up to temperature between batches.
Drain them on a wire rack or on paper towels…on a wire rack.
Eat them while they’re hot and crispy, along with savory rice porridge, that’s traditional. However I won’t discourage you from dunking them in coffee, hot chocolate, or a sweet concoction of your choice.