Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tukang Cakwe (You Tiao/ Chinese fried bread stick)

Here in Indonesia, You Tiao (油条) - Chinese fried bread stick/crullers, is more known as Cakwe. We eat it normally with congee for breakfast or deep it into sweet sour chili sauce as snack.

I remember when I was in China, everytime I ordered cakwe for my breakfast, it's always served with soy bean milk.
The cakwe dough is made from flour, water, alum and salt.


Deep fried.
Cakwe

As you can see, a cakwe/you tiao is two long fried bread stick together. It's interesting to learn the story behind of it from my favorite book "Origins of Chinese Food Culture".

According to this book, during the Song dynasty, there's a famous and well respected General named Yue Fei. He fought and won against the invader - Jin Dynasty.

But then, in year 1142, the unfair Prime Minister Qin Hui together with his wife Wang Shi, executed Yue Fei without any reason.

The people of Song Dynasty got so angry but they couldn't do anything thus to relieve the anger, a baker made a bread resembles 2 people's shapes that represents Qin Hui and his wife, then deep fried in hot oil.
In the beginning, this fried bread was names as "fried Hui" but later on after Qin Hui passed away, the named changed to "yàu ja gwái" (油炸鬼), which means "oil-fried ghost".
Anyway, these days, the name of this bread has been simplified to "You Tiao" (油条), it means "oil strips".

53 comments:

  1. Once a while, some you tiao are good! Esp. with soya drink!
    Where did you get the book? Amazon? Sounds quite very interesting.

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  2. Interesting story behind this bread. Thanks Selba.

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  3. angie's recipes: I bought the book at a local book store here in Jakarta but yes, I think you can find it also on Amazon. Btw, if I'm not mistaken, the publisher in Singapore is Asiapac Book Pte Ltd. and you can buy it online :)

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  4. history of Greek food: Glad to share the story of yao tiao :)

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  5. The "you tiao" looks skinny ;)

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  6. ooo, now i know they call cakwe in indo. :)

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  7. I love these bread sticks Selby. They look like big American french fries. Really enjoyed the story of their history.
    Sam

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  8. I love my you tiao with hot soymilk in a bowl - it's delicious! A perfect breakfast for a rushed workday morning. :)

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  9. hmmnn.. really interesting..The fried bread stick looks good too!~

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  10. Selba, I love to see these being sold in your markets. We loved them when we were in China and I have a recipe for them on my blog. I love the history you've shared with us. I hope all is well with you, my friend :-). Have a wonderful day...Mary

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  11. I too have books of this same publisher and series.
    Here in my home we like to dunk it in kopi'o' or Hainanese Black coffee or soaked in Bah Kut Teh or a bowl of pipping hot porridge. I personally like to dip in 'hung tau sar' or red bean sweet soup.

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  12. unkaleong: Yeah.. these ones are quite skinny but we also have the "fat" and large ones too ;)

    ai wei: The cakwe sounds so different from yao tiao, rite? But I think, it probably comes from "you char kway" :)

    my carolina kitchen: there are American big french fries? Wow, I gotta try it someday :)

    life for beginners: hot soy milk with "yao tiao" are matching so perfectly :)

    peachkins: if not mistaken, there's also a version of yao tiao in Philippines which called as "bitsu", right?

    mary: Did you also eat the "yao tiao" with soy bean milk when you were in China? I will take a look of your "yao tiao" recipe, have a beautiful day too, Mary :)

    jason wong: Oh.. you too? I love collecting all these "Origins of Chinese ... " books. They are just great books especially to learn more about stuff related to Chinese. Ah.. yes, I remember someone mentioned before, eating yao tiao with black coffee, I wonder how it taste, definitely I'll try it out when I visit Penang someday :)

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  13. Hi Selby :)

    love those crispy cakwe, especially eaten with bakuteh hohohoho....
    but look at the color on that frying oil !!
    I'm dreaming of street food that's also a lil bit healthier :)

    btw, when u said "The cakwe dough is made from flour, water, alum and salt."
    I was just wondering what alum is ? is it alum as in aluminium ?

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  14. What an interesting story! Those fried dough sticks look pretty awesome, even if there's a vindictive story behind them!

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  15. healthyrainbow: Hello there... long time no see ;) Guess what? Until today, I've never eaten Bakuteh! seriously! I wonder how it taste. Where can I find Bakuteh in Jakarta?

    Yeah, the color of the cakwe frying oil is scary but then when you take a look to all tukang cakwe, their oil is always dark color because they also fry "kue bantal" which contains sugar which caused the oil become directly dark when they fry it.

    Alum is a salt that in chemistry is a combination of an alkali metal, such as sodium, potassium, or ammonium and a trivalent metal, such as aluminum, iron, or chromium. The most common form, potassium aluminum sulfate, or potash alum, is one form that has been used in food processing.

    mica: It's always interesting to learn the behind stories of Chinese food :)

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  16. OMG! I love this one. Oily as hell but heavenly as well!

    We call it cha'koy, well, pronounced that way at least, not sure how it's really spelled. Probably also spelled ca'kwe.

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  17. gus: Hahaha... I like the way you said, "Oily as hell but heavenly as well!" :D
    Ah.. learning something new, so it's cha'koy in Serawak? Sounds similar to cakwe.

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  18. like Jason Wong said-dip with black coffee-best!

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  19. Haven't had youtiao in a while now. I usually eat it like you with the soymilk. Sometimes people also roll rice noodle sheets over the youtiao as well.

    I usually hear yow zha guai in Cantonese, you tiao in Mandarin. Don't know!

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  20. foodbin: I'm going to try it soon! :)

    eattraveleat: roll rice noodle sheets over you tiao? whoa... that's so new to me! Interesting :)

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  21. I would love to have one right now. Thanks for the interesting post. My son Christopher read it and is now fascinated with your blog.

    Love & Hugs
    Duchess

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  22. the bakuteh I like is at jl. labu... and ironically I don't really know its name.... will find out more :)

    I see.... thanx for info...:)

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  23. Those fried breadsticks look yummy, thanks for sharing the story!

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  24. you tiao is one of my faves. I didn't know about the story behind it :O

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  25. duchess of tea: So happy that your son is also reading my blog :) Hello Christopher, welcome to my blog!

    healthyrainbow: Jl labu? Uhmmm.. not familiar with that street name. Oh well, definitely will try it when I visit Singapore or Malaysia next time :)

    4 star foodie: happy to share the story :)

    noobcook: an interesting story, isnt' it? who suspect the pair stick represents a cruel husband an a wife? ;)

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  26. Hahah, nice story. I've heard of that. But to be imagining biting into a pair of corpses, sounds kinda morbid eh?

    Like them with bak kut teh, soy milk, porridge or even kopi o.

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  27. j2kfm: Eating corpses? LOL
    Didn't think that far at all ;)

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  28. actually it's somewhere near mangga besar....
    I'll email u when I get more details hohohoho :)

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  29. The book is so fun to read with the comic strips :)

    I wonder when was the last time they changed the oil to fry the You Tiao :O ...looks kinda black?

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  30. I love these dough fritters. In fact I wanted to get some this morning for breakfast. In Malaysia, the older folks (my dad's generation) would dunk these into a cup of kopi-o (black coffee with a bit of sugar). Delicious!

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  31. I had to come over, I am behind on your blog!

    On my quest to try foods I keep reading about over here and my own need to play in the Asian ingredient field I finally had steamed pork buns, and will write about it next week. Let's just say I want to definitely follow you around, not only for good food, but some exercise I will need to keep the pounds off from all that darn good food! LOL

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  32. I love having you tiao with porridge! :)

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  33. healthyrainbow: Oh.. Mangga Besar? Ic.. Ic... :)

    tigerfish: I really highly recommend this book, very interesting ;) Uhmmm.. the vendor actually use new oil when he started to fry in the morning, so how many times did he use it to fry already? Hehehe... No idea!

    jo: seriously.. I really think I MUST give a try eating you tiao with black coffee! :D

    chef e: steamed pork buns? that must be so yummy! :) Feel free to follow me around for the food, hehehe :)

    christine leng: I love it too! *hi5*

    aawilliam: gonna try it!!! :D

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  34. yau char kwai (in my country, that's what it is called) is dunked in steaming hot black sugary cofee! delicious!

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  35. I am so glad that I can found this at the Chinese supermarket in California. But, I miss the one that used to have in Malng, serve with bubur ayam. Hmmm, kangen sekali!

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  36. I like to eat my cakwe with congee - just like what you get in dim sum restaurants. Btw, you make me want to visit Gramedia again....I've not been there for ages...! I miss buying comics and other books there, especially because they're so inexpensive compared to when you buy books here or even online from Amazon.

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  37. cumi&ciki: Still haven't got a chance to try out eating it with black coffee yet, will soon! :)

    elra: that's so great that you still can find cakwe in California :)

    cooking-gallery: Gramedia book store is the best book store in Indonesia :) Oh.. you gotta visit the Gramedia in Grand Indonesia, it's very nice! ;)

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  38. where did you get this book?

    can i get it online?

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  39. for simple things like these,
    are so difficult to find good ones!
    mm but i love my you tiao with my porridge!

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  40. pisang goreng: You can buy it online like from amazon.com or directly the publisher site: http://www.asiapacbooks.com/category.asp?cid=20

    muffinsareuglycupcakes: I think most yao tiao being sell by the street food vendors are actually yummy ;)

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  41. As much as I adore each and every post of yours, Selba. I think this may just be one of my very best favorites!!!

    I would gladly never eat another french fry again to have just a nibble at that "nobel tidbit" you have just shared.

    I must look into that book immediately!!!

    Thank you once again for sharing...

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  42. I scare to buy "you tiao" when they are fried in blackish oil =.="

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  43. louise: It such a big pleasure that I can share something new to you and also that you like my posts, Louise :) Hope that you will find the book soon because I believe you can buy it through amazon.com.

    mimid3vils: hehehe.. yeah, actually me too.

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  44. it's still commonly known as yàu ja gwái here esp in Kuala Lumpur where Cantonese is spoken widely. its very hard to resist item!

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  45. MMMMM,..that cakwe is looking so tasty & apart too!

    Looks truly appetizing!

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  46. Selba darling Christopher and I wish you a lovely weekend. He was so happy to see his name in lights as you welcomed him to your blog, you are so kind darling.

    Love & Hugs
    Duchess

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  47. babe_kl: hahaha.. yup, definitely very hard to resist it :D

    sophie: it is!!! hope you can try it someday.

    duchess of tea: Have a nice Sunday, Duchess and Christopher.. oh and also Happy Easter! :)

    jaime: me too *hi5*

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  48. The deep fried goodness sounds delicious :)

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  49. Perfect to go along with a bowl of piping hot porridge.... yummy!

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  50. kerstin: it is! :) Hope that you'll try it someday!

    email2me: absolutely agree! :)

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  51. Apart from traditional you tiao, there are you tiao with topping as well! The you tiao filled with kaya, chicken floss, mayo, sausage sell by Bee J are also become popular and well loved by the folks in Kuching.

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