Friday, May 04, 2007

Yau Char Kway II

When i made the first successful yau char kway, i was so excited and had to post the recipe before i forget how it should be done. But......., i could not make a good holey yck with that recipe. What happened???????? So, back to the drawing board and with thinking cap on , I came to the conclusion that the process of kneading, resting, stretching and frying the yck have to be improved. This time I have achieved very light, holey yck but they are not so uniform in shape and size, so alot of practise in shaping is needed to make them more presentable.

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3 cups bread flour

7 – 10 ozs water (Denver friends - use 10 ozs)
1 tsp ammonia bicarbonate
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp alum
1 1/4 tsp salt


Mix the ammonia bicarbonate, baking soda, alum and salt with 7 ozs water until dissolve.

Add in to the flour and using the end of a wooden spoon, stir in a circular motion until a dough is form – dough should be sticky, if not, add in more water – dough must stick to fingers. I have used as much as 12 ozs altogether to get the dough to be sticky.

Cover with cling wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, punch down the edge and all over dough with your knuckles for at least 8 punches, then take the dough from the side of bowl, lift it as high as it can go and fold in the middle - 4 folds will do . Let is rest for 15 – 20 minutes.

Repeat the punching , folding and resting for 3 – 4 times more.

Next, oil your fingers and dough, lift it up and overturn it, oil the top so that it will not dry. Wrap tightly with cling wrap, and leave in the fridge for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove from bowl, divide into 2 portions and fold in to make a long smooth elastic dough. Wrap it back with greased cling wrap. Then put in a Ziploc bag and leave in the fridge for 3 – 4 hours.. Leaving in the fridge, well wrapped, overnight is better – the dough is easier to handle and the result is lighter.

Heat a large wok with oil half full.

After 3 – 4 hrs or overnight, lightly flour the pastry board .

Spread dough into a flat long 2 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick. Use a rolling pin to aid the spreading.

Cut into ½ inch strips.

Check oil temperature, it must be more than 350 f to begin frying.

Using a bamboo skewer, dip in water and dap very little in the middle of a strip of dough. Top with another strip and using a dry lidi(bamboo skewer)or a chopstick,press down horizontally in the middle of the two strips to adhere.

Pull and stretch the pressed strips until as long as possible, and put the stretched strip in the hot oil. (I stretch a pressed strip until it resists, then do the next and when I finished the rest, I come back and stretch the first and so forth)(i found that the stretched dough has to be stretched uniformaly to achieve a presentable yck)(if you have a buddy to help to do the frying and turning, you could stretch and put to fry one at a time)

When the yck floats to the top, use a pair of chopsticks and turn the yck. Keep on turning until it has finished expanding.

Fry until slightly brown. Remove from oil

Repeat with the rest of the strips until all are done. .(yck can be packed well wrapped and leave in freezer and it can be re fried or baked in the oven)

Re fry all the yck until crispy.

Preheat oven at 250 – 300 f and leave the yck in the oven for 10 minutes to rid of some oil.



Anonymous said...

Where can you get alum in CO?


lilyng said...


are you in co too.

you could get in any supermarkets that carry the Mccommick brand.

please email me, would love to be a friend

SteamyKitchen said...

Oh I'm so glad I stumbled upon your site. Such a coincidence that I made these too!! Made mine yesterday but (sad) not from scratch....

London Girl said...

Dear Lily,

Your YCK recipe is great. Only one thing, my YCK turned out to be tasteless. Can you please advice ? Thank you.

lilyng said...

london girl

did you forget to put in 3/4 tsp salt?

eL said...

Hi Lily,

Would a deep fryer, i.e. food is enclosed within the fryer, work for the YCK or would it work better deep frying it in an open wok the traditional way? Can't wait to make them! :)


lilyng said...


the deep fryer is ok if there is room to turn the yck.

i pesonally like the wok

Anonymous said...


I love that you have this blog going on.

Today I made porridge and was able to find the tried and true recipe that I use to make yar char kwai. Here is the link:
I follow this recipe exactly and it has turned out great for me.

Katie said...

Hey Lily.. i found Alum (McCormick) but I can't seem to find ammonia bicarbonate.. where can i buy this? or is there a substitute for it? What happens if i leave this ingredient out?

Anonymous said...

Where can I get ammonia bicarbonate? Is that just a mix of baking soda and baking powder?

lilyng said...


perhaps you could get it online and here is clearer description of it

lilyng said...


i think that baking soda/bicarbonate of soda can replace ammonia bicarbonate

sarah_apple said...

Hi Lily,

I ever seen how a guy made YCK before at a hawker and i remember them just cutting the dough into one rectangle piece and using a chopstick to press down horizontally across the rectangle piece before stretching it and frying it. Hope this helps with the consistancy of the shapes!

lilyng said...


thanks for the tips.

coincidently, i just finished frying yck and i found your comment. The yck has improved alot. i managed to make 10 inches yck finally.

Anonymous said...

hi lily,

what is alum? where can i get it?

aaron ng from UK

lilyng said...

aaron ng from uk

alum is available in asian stores here and in the supermarkets, look for Mccormick.

here is some good read about alum

Anonymous said...

hi lily,

asian grocery stores? which means i can't get it in the supermarket? I asked the staff in Sainsbury's supermarket but they don't seem to know waht alum is. Anyway I'll try to go to the Chinese grocery shop to see if they have it. Anyway. Thanks for the recipe. Looking forward to make my own yau char kway.

Aaron Ng from UK

ZY said...

Hi Lily,

I've tried your recipe.

I left the dough to proof overnight in a cool dark place. The end product come out perfectly good.

So far this is the best YCK recipe I've ever tried - easy and non-messy.

Thank you.

Raymond said...

Hi Lily, I tried making you tiao a couple of times. when I add alum and Krinos ammonia baking powder(ammonium carbonate), the you tiao came out with a bad smell. I think its from the ammonia baking powder; what am I doing wrong? Why do you put the dough in the fridge? I thought it has to be warm in order to rise.

lilyng said...


there is no rising in this dough, time plays an important part in creating gluten, so that is why it is left in the fridge.

Baking ammonia should react in hot oil and dissipate. The smell will linger when the yck is hot. Cool first before consuming.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily:

Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I've been trying to find the perfect recipe forever and finally found yours. I tried it and it came out great! I'm from Thailand and we called this Patongo.

I've found an easier way to make the dough by using the bread machine. I dissolved the ingredients first. I used warm water (nuked it for 1 minute on high) to help the dissolving process faster and more thoroughly. Then I put the liquid into the machine first, followed by the flour. Pressed the "white, dough" setting and let the machine do its job. Once done (after about 2 hours) I took out the dough, wrapped with plastic wrap and placed in the fridge. Waited 4 hours, rolled them out, cut into pieces and fried them. They came out perfect!

I've also made a minor adjustment to your recipe by adding 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp baking powder to help the dough puff up even more during frying. So here's my adjusted recipe:

3 cups bread flour
7 oz water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp ammonia bicarbonate
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp alum

After reading some other comments I'd like to offer some suggestions and tips. One of the comments is the finished product is tasteless. I'm not sure how others eat it but I dip mine in condensed milk or hot coffee. I also cut them up into small pieces and fry them until they're totally crispy and add them to the rice porridge. Yummy!

Some of your readers are having a difficult time finding ammonia bicarbonate and alum. I found the ammonia bicarbonate at a middle eastern grocery store. Readers who don't have a middle eastern store can get it online at

As for the alum I got mine at an Asian grocery store. On the package it's labeled as Ground Alum (Tawas). Amazon also sells it:

Phew! I didn't mean to write a book here. :-) Anyway, thanks again for posting this recipe.

Yingthai in Arizona!

Anonymous said...

Hi, where do I find the AMMONIA BICARBONATE? is it under a certain brand? please help asap. very excited about making this. thank you =)

lilyng said...


which part of the world are you residing?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

Thanx for responding.
I live in SF California, I tried making it today w/o the AB, it doesn't taste right. it just taste like deep fried dough. and it doesn't puff up as much, and it was too sticky to handle. Please help.

lilyng said...


friends have made yck without AB and it turned out ok, the only thing is you don't get the stinky smell.

the dough needs time to develop the gluten, if you have followed the instruction properly, the dough will not be sticky after about 2 hrs of punching and folding.

you could like me, ask the dim sum restaurant to give you some ammonia.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

I'll try again. Thanx for responding. =)

Angust Almighty said...

Where can I get ammonia bicarbonate and alum??? I searched Walmart but could not find one... I'm in Clarksville, Arkansas

lilyng said...

august almighty

there is an online address in one of the comments here. please scroll up to locate address.

Angust Almighty said...

The Yau Char Kway did not turn out good. It was too thick...Does Bread flour and All-purpose flour really makes a difference?/?

lilyng said...

august almighty

bread flour has a higher protein content than all-pourpose flour. Therefore dough made with bread flour develops better gluten and allows the yck to be able to puff up better.

Juliann said...

My mom used to make Yew Jao Kew all the time when we were kids...of course we never learn how to make it. Glad to see a recipe for it. I will try to make it one of these days. We eat ours with Juk. (rice porridge) YUM!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,do you have 'Mah Keok' recipe, it looks much like 'Yow Char Kwai' but the dow base is towards the sweet side while YC Kwai is on the salty side, thanks


Anonymous said...

Hi Lily, I don't what our local call this ammonia bicarbonate and Alum! So need to know the Chinese common name of this two ingrediants and I from Malaysia.

After I read from Wiki I think I can just substituted ammonia bicarbonate with baking soda or baking powder or a combination of both.

Then the Alum u taking about I think is the Potassium Alum 明矾(ming fan)or 明礬. So it call in Chinese Hockkian?
I guess it call Huan, but not sure am I right or not? Lily do u know? or anyone can answer me? Thank


Anonymous said...

Lily, my problem with Alum is now no more, coz I found a Chinese website mention that I can use cream of tartar and is more healty then Alum!

I will try and let u know what happen.

lilyng said...


thanks for the info. yes please do try and give me a feedback

lilyng said...


thanks for the chinese words on alum. i am sorry i can't tell you much about alum except that it makes the yck crispy. I think you could be right on the hokkien - huan cos it sound similar to farn in cantonese.

i have mentioned that baking soda can be used but ammonia gives that particular smell associated to yck.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily thank for replying.

First I want to say Alum is call Huan in Hockkien.

Ok, then now tell u whan happened to my YCK. I had made 3 time of YCK since I last comments.

1st time was made with baking soda,baking powder and tartar powder, then only 60% tasted and looked like YCK.Haha Maybe I think I added too many water( 1:1 of water and flour)

2nd time was yr recipe and this time I have alum and ammonia powder, then the water and flour was 250ml and 350g so was less water more flour now. but my YCK still not perfect! dont know what have done it wrong!

3nd time was The Star online recipe, but I forgot to add sugar so my yeasts dont have food to eat so they died hungry! even so the dough didnt get double in size but I still get not too bad YCK, the only thing was the ammonia smell too strong! Yuck! B'coz I added 1tsp like in yr recipe, instead of the recipe say 1/8 tsp! I will try to do again with less ammonia. Anyway thank you for sharing yr recipes. Eddy

lilyng said...


i have made more of unsuccessful yck and learned from the mistakes.

First you would have to get the sticky dough right and you will succeed.

Second, practice to shape the yck for frying.

good luck

Anonymous said...

brilliant, a, so happy! though not perfect I made my 1st batch, it's a great recipe without alum or ammonia

Thank you so much for posting the recipe.
all the best.

Lisa, UK

Anonymous said...

this is the only you tiao recipe that works. all others on the web are fake. thanks

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