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“ 。
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.
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.
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.
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.
As per Baike of China, it was written :
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: About 40-50 balls depend on size
- 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
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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