Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

INTRODUCTION

This is an auspicious Chinese New Year snack that is common among the Cantonese and parts of China like Beijing. It can be literally translated as “laughing date” or “笑口枣“ 。

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

It is called laughing because the pastry will break into a pattern resembling a smiling mouth and date was used because it is usually sold in the size of a jujube or date. Chinese believed that eating this snack will bring happiness to the family. Family members will be happy throughout the entire year.

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

Whether this is true or not , I am sure no body will be able to confirm that but I really like this simple snack. It is simple because both  preparation method and ingredients are simple.

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

In fact we do have very similar pastry in Singapore and Malaysia usually sold in the Youtiao stores. In Singapore, it is colloquially known as “Deep fried butterfly buns” . Unlike youtiao, it is not chewy and much softer than you tiao or Ham cheem Paeng (another type of pastry). The crust is crispy, it is sweet and rather soft in the centre. It is very aromatic especially with the sesame seeds but its fragrance is different from youtiao.

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

Well, it is really an addictive snack as far as I am concerned. I always bought butterfly buns because of its sweetness and softness. Preparation is very easy and within an hour, you can easily have a plate of delicious snack to serve your family.

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

As per Baike of China, it was written :

“笑口枣为圆球形,实心,外粘芝麻,表面有一裂口,有大小两种。大的每公斤24只,小的有如如桂圆大小。 笑口枣是广州小吃中的油炸小吃品种,因其经油炸后上端裂开而得名。笑口枣香甜暄酥,十分可口。广州一般的吃早茶的地方,都有笑口枣。同时笑口枣也是广州人春节必备年货之一。” (source: http://baike.baidu.com/view/5144804.htm)

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: About 40-50 balls depend on size

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

  • 260 grams of top flour or cake flour or low protein flour
  • 130 grams of white sugar
  • 20 grams of lard or cooking oil or melted butter
  • 20 grams of milk powder
  • 5 grams of baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 80-100 grams of white sesame seeds for coating

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)


STEPS OF PREPARATION

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

  • In a bowl, crack the eggs, put sugar and cooking oil , beat until well combined.

  • In another bowl, sift in the baking powder, salt, milk powder and low protein flour , stir until well mixed and make a well in the centre. Add in the eggs and use hand to light knead until it forms a pliable dough. If it is too sticky, you can gradually add flour tablespoon by tablespoon. THERE IS NO NEED TO KNEAD UNTIL SMOOTH as we do not want gluten to develop that hinder the breaking of the pastry during deep frying. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes covered with a wet towel.

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

  • Divide the dough into smaller dough of  15-20 grams each . Shape round and drop the dough ball into the bowl with sesame seeds. Shape round again . Perform the same for the remaining dough.

  • Heat up a pot of oil under high heat. Once the oil is hot, drop the balls , IMMEDIATELY REDUCE THE HEAT TO LOW – MEDIUM . Deep fry until the balls break. Once they break, increase the heat to HIGH and deep fry until exterior is golden brown. Drain and best served when warm.

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)


CONCLUSION

I believed if you like Singapore type of butterfly buns, you will like this snack too. Don’t worry about the ammonia flavour that may have for those that  are sold in the stores. As this recipe did not call for the use of ammonia bicarbonate, there is no such “special aroma”.  Lastly, I hope that readers will be happy for the coming year after eating this delicious snack.

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

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Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)


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Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

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Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

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Auspicious Smiling Balls (开口笑, 笑口枣)

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