CANTONESE FRIED DOUGH
Beignets from the world-famous Café Du Monde are a must-have when visiting New Orleans. My first trip to New Orleans necessitated a stop at the beignet shop. Because the restaurant was jam-packed to capacity, we had to order takeout. While sitting on the sidewalk seat outside Café Du Monde, my first impression was that this tasted a lot like “Ham Chim Peng.” While I was mumbling, Bill gave me a sideways look, as if he was saying he disagreed. What are your thoughts, for those of you who have experienced both? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Having had Ham Chim Peng many years ago, I had completely forgotten what it tasted like. It’s Cantonese pronunciation is more like “hahm jeen baeng.” The younger generation hasn’t had the chance to enjoy this crispy fried Chinese beignet delight because everyone else has also forgotten about it. Even in Chinatown, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find.
The red-colored Chinese fermented bean curd, or “bean cheese,” is essential to Ham Chim Peng’s distinctive appearance and flavor. Unlike its “relative,” white fermented bean curd, it has a distinct taste. Ultimately, it enhances the flavor of the dough significantly.
Porridge is a common accompaniment for sourdough. Pao fan –leftover rice boiled with water–is popular among Shanghainese diners. Even more strangely, Cantonese Fried Dough is often served with porridge as a breakfast dish. I prefer to eat it as is!
As a guideline, this recipe should only take about an hour to make.
It’s easy to create!
- 2 cubes of mashed fermented red bean curd
- 3 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups of water
- 1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup of regular granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons of baking powder
- 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon of five-spice powder
- Neutral oil (for frying)
- First, combine the baking powder, flour, and baking soda in a mixing dish. Then include the five-spice powder, mashed fermented bean curd, ordinary sugar, and dark brown sugar. Pouring in the water gradually will create a moist dough. Ensure that everything is properly blended. For 15 minutes, cover the dough and let it rest.
- Take a medium pot and add about 1 inch of frying oil to it while the dough is resting. Place aside. After the dough has rested, lightly dust a clean surface before scraping it onto it. Because the dough will be extremely wet, flour both hands before handling it. Make 12 equal pieces out of it.
- To your liking, take each dough ball and coat it with more or fewer sesame seeds. If you’d like, you can also coat both sides. Flatten the dough into a 5-inch circle on a lightly dusted surface with a little hole in the center. At this stage, they may appear pretty sloppy; don’t worry about making them flawless! Repeat this procedure to form all 12 dough balls.
- Make the oil 325 degrees now. For the length of the frying process, maintain the heat between 325 and 350 degrees. Cook the dough in batches, tossing it once or twice to color both sides, and cook it until golden brown. Each one should take 1-2 minutes.
- Serve alone or with porridge after draining on a wire rack or a dish coated with paper towels. Additionally, you may keep extras in the refrigerator and quickly reheat them in the oven or toaster oven to revive them.