As a food enthusiast and avid traveler, I’ve been fortunate enough to try an array of snacks from different cultures across the globe. However, one snack that has left a lasting impression on me is Chinese MaHua.
If you’re not familiar with MaHua, it’s a popular fried dough snack in China made from wheat flour, yeast, and water. It’s twisted and fried to achieve a golden brown, crispy texture that’s both slightly sweet and savory.
What I find intriguing about MaHua is its versatility. You can enjoy it in different flavors such as sweet cinnamon and sugar or savory salt and pepper. It’s an ideal snack to eat on its own, but it can also be used as a topping for desserts like ice cream.
Moreover, MaHua has a rich and interesting history. It is believed to have originated over a thousand years ago in the Northern Song Dynasty. At that time, soldiers relied on MaHua as a portable food source during long journeys.
Even today, MaHua remains a popular snack in China, available in homes and street vendors alike. It may not be as well-known as other Chinese delicacies like dumplings or baozi, but it is undoubtedly worth trying.
In my travels, I’ve tasted MaHua from a plethora of street vendors and restaurants, and every time, I’ve been astounded by its satisfying flavor and crispy texture. Whether you prefer sweet or savory, there’s a MaHua flavor for you.
If you’re interested in making your own Ma Hua, here’s a simple recipe you can try:
- fine sugar
- corn oil
- fried dough stick powder
- sesame seeds
- Prepare and weigh ingredients.
- First, put the milk into a utensil, add fine sugar and honey, and beat with a manual egg beater until evenly combined.
- Add corn oil and beat until smooth.
- Crack in two large eggs, weighing 76 grams each, and beat until evenly combined.
- Add the fried dough stick powder in batches, stir with chopsticks to form a flocculent mixture and make sure there is no dry powder.
- Knead the mixture again into a smooth dough, cover and let it rest for 30 minutes. (Note: I use fried dough stick powder, there is no need to add yeast powder, simply let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes).
- Divide the proofed dough into equal parts (the size is optional, I made smaller pieces as I think they are more convenient to eat).
- Take a piece of dough, knead it into a long strip, and fold it in half, as shown in the figure.
- Then twist it left and right to form a twist.
- Be sure to tightly pinch the ends, otherwise they may loosen when fried.
- It's best to cover the twists with a damp cloth or plastic wrap to avoid air drying.
- Add a small teaspoon of oil to the sesame seeds, then use a brush to apply it to the twists.
- Add oil to a pot and heat it over medium heat. When the oil temperature reaches 60%, turn to medium-low heat, then add the twists and quickly turn them with chopsticks, turning them over frequently to ensure even coloring. The heat can be adjusted to your preference, but the higher the heat, the crispier the result. Fry until cooked (it is recommended not to put too many twists in the pot at once, to ensure even frying).
To sum up, Chinese MaHua is an extraordinary snack that is not only delicious but also steeped in history. If you enjoy fried dough or enjoy exploring new and unique foods, I highly recommend trying MaHua. You won’t be disappointed!