Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yau Char Kway aka Yau Tiew

At long last i have finally managed to make a decent yau char kway, thanks to my dear friend blogger, tt. With lengthy discussion on the liquid and other ingredients, i have come to understand that the flour needed much more liquid than stated in the recipe. I have made so many recipes, following them to the tee, and failure. My friend Lena, said - lily, you are not make to be a yck lady. forget about it. All the failures happened because of where i am residing. Being a mile high above sea level and no humidity, baking and cooking have to be fine tuned and adjusted accordingly. In this case, the flour here is extra dry and needed more liquid. tt's recipe only needed 180 ml but i needed 240 ml to make it the right consistency. There are not many ingredients but alot of practise is needed to form uniform yck as the dough is so sticky and soft.

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290g all purpose flour
260 g bread flour and 30 g wheat starch

1/2 level tsp ammonia

1 tsp salt (level or heaped; doesn’t matter)

1 1/4 level tsp double acting baking powder-

180g water(enough water to make a sticky dough, in my case, i used 240 ml(1 cup))


Mix together flour and baking powder.

Dissolve ammonia and salt in water and pour this mixture into the flour.

Knead with your hands to get a sticky but smooth dough. The dough should be wet and sticky (sticks to hands and bowl). Rest dough for 10 - 15 minutes(the longer the fluffier yck)

Wash hands, get out a frying pan or wok, add oil and heat on high (do this while dough is resting,)

Divide dough into 2 portions.

Dust hands and dough with flour.

Roll dough into a rectangle (length and width depends on the size of your frying utensil) by now the dough should be like bread dough. Dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with a pizza cutter 3/4 inch wide strips. Using a bamboo skewer, dip in water and swipe onto the bottom strip. Top with another strip, and press down lightly with skewer. Let these strips rest. (see notes)

Check to make sure oil temperature is 380’F. Take a piece of yck, stretch it and drop into the oil.

Leave it along until it floats, it should float within 10 seconds. Once it floats, use chopsticks (one in each hand - this i am not able to do) to constantly turn the yck as it expands (it should reach its maximum expansion within 30 seconds). After it has expands as much as it could, continue to fry it turning every 10 seconds or so until it is golden brown (another 3-5 mins.).

Notes from tt:

After shaping the ycks, the longer you let it rest the puffier it will get when they are fried (you can fry right away if you’re in hurry).

Notes from lily:

When yck is ready for frying, move pastry board with the strips of yck as near to the frying utensil as possible so that it goes into the oil without stretching too much.

Since i fry the yck one at a time, i will fry them until they reached the maximum expansion. When all the strips are done frying, then i bring back the oil temperature to high and refry all the yck until golden brown.

I will leave in a 250 f oven for 5 - 10 minutes to further crisp and loose some oil.



Winnie said...


Love you, love you, thanks for the detailed description of yck. I'm tempted to try again someday when the mood strikes.

lilyng said...


you are welcome. tt has just ask me to try with an extra ingredient - egg white. wiil let you know when i try it. Feel like having ham chim paeng - any good recipe?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

Where can you get the amonia in CO?

lilyng said...


i brought some from malaysia and i had some from the dim sum place that we frequent. i think you can buy them online. perhaps if you ask the asian store they might sell them. in cantonese it is called 'chow fun'

Winnie said...


May I suggest for baking amonia.

lilyng said...


thanks for the link

ellen said...

Hi Lily
Yesterday, i tried making the yck but they turned out so hard....wonder what happened ??

I made the dough and left it for 1.5 hrs before i fried them....the longer, the fluffier.....

lilyng said...


i too had hard densed yck for the longest ever until i come to recognise the dough. it should be Sticky - sticks to your hands and bowl - so alot of water is needed, even more than the recipe. - read my text.

another factor could be the freshness of your baking powder.

oil for frying should be very very hot, at least 375F.

do try again, don't give up, you will get it.

ellen said...

Hi Lily

Thanks for your encouragement. I will try again. Actually, the yck did not fluff up a lot....but the inside did have the lines and looks like the son said his jaw ached from chewing them !!

How long did you leave the dough before you fried them ??

I think maybe, i have to add 240 ml water to get a real sticky dough.

I've tried your woo tau, it's very nice.

Thanks for the recipe

lilyng said...


which part of the world are you in?

the first time i tried the recipe, i too used 180 ml of water and the yck was hard and densed.

like i said in my text, i have to use alot more water to get a sticky dough.

i did fry 2 immediately and they wer just as good as the rested ones.

i found that the uniform shaped ones with the correct thickness and width, puff up better. you would have to keep turning them when they float.

all my friends who have made this woo tau koh recipe also liked it.

ellen said...

Hi again, Lily

You mentioned in your recipe that after leaving the dough for 10-5 mins, the dough is like bread mean, it expanded ???

Mine was exactly the expansion, nothing.


ellen said...

Hi Lily
I am from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

lilyng said...


email me, it is easier to discuss than here.

it does not expand. the texture will be bread dough like - soft but is still sticky. that is why my note says to bring them near the frying pan so that it will be easier for you to handle

lilyng said...


sorry i missed this message. so a fellow malaysian.

welcome to my blog

Su-Yin said...

I absolutely love reading your archives lily, im definately going to try making Yar Char Kway on my own! Im Malaysian as well and currently studying in Sydney, I have Malaysian Indian housemates who love Yck's SO much! Your blog has be great inspiration to learn to cook more Malaysian food!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

I am Malaysian too and I am staying in Melbourne. I would like to try your yck recipe, just wondering ammonia is the same as yeast? Or if there is other english name?

lilyng said...


i think this will explain ammonia

Butler said...

Hi Lily,

Thank you.My first attempt with your YCK recipe came out really well.I ended up using 250ml of water. Your advices were really helpful.

On something else.Have you ever come across an asia steamed kuih? It looks like tiny steamed sponge cake and it is serves with fresh grated coconut and palm sugar.But it is made with rice flour instead.Would love to get hold of the recipe.

Thanks again.

lilyng said...


i have not made this for a long time. i have yet to locate the recipe that don't take so many days to prepare.

look out for it cos i will post asap

foodlover said...

I am a M'sian living in Melbourne and I love to read your recipes. I was just wondering if I can omit that ammonia powder? Don't quite like the smell. Maybe I'll just try the recipe right away and see whether there's any difference. will let you know the result. Thanks.

delia said...


there is no yeast in your yck? i always tot yck have yeast in it. how's the texture like? tot of making it.

lilyng said...


this recipe is one of the recipes which my friend tt tried and i agree with him that this is crispier while the recipe with yeast is more like bread

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your recipe. I am wondering can I subtitute ammonia or maybe omit it? I have tried Hum Ching Pheng recipe and i could smell the ammonia when HCP is up close while eating it. Any help will be helpful and thank a million.


lilyng said...


ammonia will react when in contact with heat, one cooled the smell will not be so strong. i don't know if the result will be so holey without it.

riverina_ripple said...

Hi Lily,

Just wondering, what is double acting baking powder? will normal baking powder do the job?

Also, "Using a bamboo skewer, dip in water and swipe onto the bottom strip ": so in that first part, we dip a strip of dough into water..? I don't quite understand what you mean by swiping it onto the bottom strip..

lilyng said...


yck is made using a pair of dough. to assemble before frying, the bottom piece is dapped with water to adhere the top piece. i use a bamboo skewer to dap.

if you have an opportunity to see a hawker selling yck, stay and watch how he assembles.

cheayee said...

i read that the ammonia can be substituted using baking soda in the wikipedia. is that so??

lilyng said...


if you need to sub with baking soda make sure you add in a little bit of acid to kick of the baking soda.

Try yau char kway II - that recipe has no ammonia

esther ong said...

do you know how to make Hakka suan pang zhi?

Please advise

lilyng said...

esther ong

as a matter of fact i just made it the other day but i made with a little more taro, so the suan pang zhi is softer and my friend said that she liked it more crunchy. will try to make again when i get some taro

esther ong said...

HI Lily,

My mother loves the green bean cookies (luk Tau Paeng) during the chinese new year.

I would like to make some for her.
Do you have a receipe on this to share?

Thanks a lot

lilyng said...


i have made these paeng before but it was not to my liking for the recipe to be posted.

try googling for tau sar paeng and you might get some good recipes

Anonymous said...

Dear Lily,

Really appreciate you for sharing recipes.

I am going to try your YCK recipe. Thank you for providing the link to where one can obtain ammonia.

I have also looked up wikipedia's definitions on ammonia.

Would the YCK still rise if we use baking soda instead? In other words can we replace ammonia with baking soda.

Thanks again for sharing.

lilyng said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hi Lily
Thanks for sharing all your lovely recipes! As I was looking at your yck recipe, I thought of its companion often sold together at yck stall, the butterfly or 'huay zhi'. Do you happen to have this recipe? Thanks so much. Can't wait to try out some of my favourite recipes:))

lilyng said...


i have no idea what butterfy or 'huay zhi' is. During my time, yck stall besides yck, has hum cheem paeng - empty or with red bean paste filling or with glutinous rice. They might sell 'mah keok' which is sweeter and darker.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily
Thanks, will try checking for 'mah keok' on the net. Come to think of it, they do look like horse hoof.
Was looking at your Rotiboy recipe & wondered whether the water in the sweet dough should be room temp or lukewarm. Thanks very much.

lilyng said...


i used instant yeast and therefore room temp. water is fine but if you are using active yeast, then you would have to activate the yeast with 'lukewarm' water

Hermanni said...

Hi Lily,

Is there anything that I could use to substitute the ammonia in your YCK recipe?

Also, my friend passed me a "roti babi" recipe (I made it for my friend and posted the recipe on my blog. As I'm not a Malaysian, I have no idea if it tastes authentic. Would you please take a look of my recipe or teach me how to make one? Thank you very much in advance.

lilyng said...


like my friend said - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…and Deliciousness is in the tongue of the taster. if you like the taste of this recipe than it is a keeper, if not adjust to your taste. your roti babi looked very good.

Will said...

hello, I'm from the UK and I don't think they sell Ammonia here. Are there any substitutes for Ammonia you could recommend?
Many thanks

lilyng said...


my friend confirms that you could get ammonia in chinatown london.

i don't really know how good it will be if you sub with double action baking powder

gadgetqueen said...

Hi Lily, thanks for sharing this recipe. I have almost succeeded in making yck. My yck are big and fluffy but the inside is still too dense and bread like. Can you tell me how to fix this?

Tracy said...

Hi Lily,
Just want to find out from you, that someone said the ammonia powder is harmful to human body and it is banned in Taiwan and Malaysia, so is there any other substitute for the ammonia powder that used in making the yck? Thanks!

God bless,

lilyng said...


here is a very clear definition on ammonia

Anonymous said...

Hello Aunty Lily, here again.

I trie dthe yau char kway recipe and found it to be good.

I can see that the challenges in this yau char kway(besides the making of the dough) making is :

-the shape has to be right;
-the oil temperature must be hot enough.

My first results were lumpy pieces of dough too until I did the above.

Unknown said...

Hi Lily,

You have two recipes for Yau Char Kway: Yau Char Kway II and Yau Char Kway aka Yau Tiew. Which one do you prefer more? Please email me back. Thank you.


lily ng said...


I prefer

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