Chinese Doughnuts

It’s Friday and Blogger in the Spotlight (BITS) wants to introduce its Creative Corner.

C&C’s creative corner showcases Malaysian’s bloggers whose talents lie in creative writing, artwork as well as cooking/baking.

To kick off the Creative Corner, we have a Recipe. Let’s get creative with Nigel in the kitchen this week . If you are home and wondering what snack to rustle up for your loved ones (maybe you have family and visitors to feed over this Easter weekend), try this. Nigel reinvents the Doughnut.  It’s easy. Heck, even I can do it!

Chinese Doughnuts

Chinese Doughnuts

This tea time treat is really something to be savoured. Golden and slightly crispy on the outside and a touch creamy and tender on the inside. It’s actually one take on how you can cook Pate a choux with a few obvious differences. I call it Chinese Doughnuts.

Recipe for Chinese doughnuts.

210 ml water
2 tbsp vegetable shortening or unsalted butter (or lard if you prefer hehe)
A generous pinch of salt
110g bread/high protein flour
2 tsp of milk powder
1 tsp double action baking powder
2 eggs
Caster sugar/Cinnamon Sugar/Vanilla sugar for dredging
Enough oil to deep fry

1. Bring water and shortening to the boil in a non stick sauce pan.
2. Gently whisk the dry ingredients, i.e. flour, salt, milk powder, double action baking powder, together
3. Using a wooden spoon, tip the dry ingredients into the boiling liquid and stir vigourously for 2 minutes until the dough leaves the side of the pot cleanly and the flour is cooked thoroughly. If need be, lower the heat and cook a while longer. Don’t be alarmed if some sticks to the bottom of the pan. Just don’t allow it to burn.
4. Take off the heat and cool for 20 minutes and then stir in the eggs one at a time until smooth and sticky. Use a mixer if you find it easier. It should be very gooey at this stage.
5. Using 2 teaspoons, dip them in the COLD oil to prevent them from sticking to the spoons and form a small teaspoon of dough.
6. Drop the dough into the COLD oil. This is important. If you drop it into HOT oil a crust will form and it won’t expand.
7. Turn up the heat to medium high and watch them slowly fry. They will expand quite dramatically.
8. They are ready when they are a light golden brown.
9. Remove from the heat, dredge in the sugar of your choice and serve hot!

I can never get enough of these. They are like salted roasted peanuts. Addictive. Be warned!

Books on Baking:

The story behind the doughnuts:
My heart races as the wheels of the 747 screech on to the tarmac of Subang International Airport. It’s been 9 months since my last trip back home and I can’t wait to see Mum and Dad and all my friends who will also be on summer hols again.
I pick up my hand luggage from the overhead compartment and ask the stewardess for the strawberries I brought back from London for Mum and Dad. English Strawberries are the most amazing red little morsels of perfumed goodness. Just walk past the aisles at any of the little grocers (who hardly exist anymore) and their sweet, tart, perfume wafts past almost visibly. I pray they’re not all bruised.
I wave to Mum and Dad as I wait for my luggage by the carousel. It’s already close to midnight.
As we drive out from the airport and back to Federal Highway Mum turns round and says to me “I’ve enrolled you in a bread making and baking class tomorrow at 8am.” I groan melodramatically for effect and instantly change the subject and start talking about the strawberries.
I dutifully wake up at 7am on my first morning back home and blearily wash up and drive over to a nondescript terrace house in Taman Seputih, a little suburb about 10 minutes from where we live. It’s there that I meet Mr now Datuk Lim Bian Yam, an architect turned Ikebana specialist and Cordon Bleu (trained and qualified) Chef.
The man exuded joie de vivre and flapped his foreshortened right arm enthusiastically. It was a physical challenge that never slowed him one jot.  I scribbled notes and found, through my reading of recipe books and cooking on my own, that I understood much of what he said. He demystified French cooking and made it all so accessible and applied French techniques to our homemade desserts. I felt most sorry for him as he was very patient with the majority of his class who incessantly asked the most nonsensical, irrelevant questions like, “what if I can’t find the brand of milk that you use. Can I use another brand?” I would like to think that I quickly became a favourite. Or perhaps that’s just because I truly liked the old chap.
He’s one of those I credit for inspiring and also giving me the knowledge to apply to all our cakes and desserts at Just  Heavenly. These Chinese Doughnuts are his creation. Note that while the Austrians and Italians have something similar, his use of vegetable shortening was a nod in the direction of our health. He actually preferred lard. And lard does give the most wonderful savoury flavour to this tea time treat.

This week’s recipe is shared by:nigel

Nigel, ‘master-baker’ and friend.. he runs together with his other two partners – A Slice of Heaven, which has 3 outlets and can be found in Bukit Damansara, Jaya One, and Bangsar Shopping Centre at O Gourmet. You can say that these people are “Just Heavenly!”

Follow Nigel on twitter.

Country: Malaysia

Twitter: @heavenlycake

Website: Just Heavenly


  • heavenly indeed..cant remember eating these, did i miss it the last time he made it ar..

  • iamthewitch says:

    OMG I love these donuts! I remember asking my grandma to buy them for me every morning when I was still young. Ahh the nostalgia… I’m definitely going to try this out someday! 🙂

  • ooooooooooooooh…. does the chee yau makes it chinese?

  • eiling says:

    wah this is Nigel’s recipe? Must try must try!!

  • Brother B says:

    Is there a place where i can ge these ?
    Can the doughnuts be made with a round hole in the middle?
    (So that i can wrap them on my fingers and eat them off that way – litreally me eating out of my hands)

  • Apple says:

    Heard from Mei many times how delicious it is. Thanks for sharing the recipe with us… so happy!


  • Nigel says:

    For Easter, doughnuts & buns are always good.

    Joe, yes you missed this one la 🙂 Made them for a floggers get together. Doesn’t travel well as they need to be eaten hot.

    iamthewitch, they’re similar to Beignet’s and Churros. You can actually use this dough/batter and make churros out of it too. They won’t be as firm and perhaps a little softer but dipped in hot choc, they should be good 🙂

    A lil fat monkey, yes 😉

    Eiling, wish I could claim credit but it’s Datuk Lim Bian Yam’s recipe via myself with a few minor tweaks 😉

    BroB 😉 eelek. They need to be eaten hot/immediately. Some things are just better when you do it to…I mean, FOR, yourself 😉

    Aunty, will be going down to Singapore in May to see Uncle Mark. Want anything from there? 🙂 Ask Mei to make for you la 😉

  • Runaway Juno says:

    Oh my, mymy… How yam!
    Just love everything w/ Cinnamon Sugar!!!
    Nice. I want some! should make one…
    all the sugar.. i should run more after.
    I blame you Ciki!!! 😀


  • Sean says:

    what a terrific story. it’s nice to imagine older chefs as mentors, passing on their wisdom and inspiration to new generations of chefs 😀

  • Nigel says:

    Do it Juno 😉

    Small little tsp sizes when you roll it into the cold oil. It’ll balloon up and be a nice two bite size treat

  • babe_kl says:

    sounds delish.

    nigel, so need to cool down the oil for each small batches or fry them all up in one batch???

  • BaliYummyBlog says:

    Cikiiii….Nigellll… both are torturing me on this Good Friday with your chinese doughnut that I don’t know where to get from in Bali…why..why are you doing this to me…..And I just had a not so good lunch in a box from my daily caterer..hwaaaaa…

  • minchow says:

    Fwoargh!! I don’t believe these can actually be accomplished in less than 10 steps! I think I’ll hit a major kitchen crisis by step #3!

  • Apple says:

    U are so sweet Nigel. No need to bring me anything from Sg. Just hug my brother n kiss tai soh for me.


  • ai wei says:

    yay, got recipe, i can try this d ^^ chinese doughnut = 沙翁 is priced expensively in HK T.T

    ciki, nice to meet you today (finally) ^^ u are very pretty

  • Leo (thule) says:

    I like to have those while having a cuppa coffee 🙂 enough to make a perfect brekkie!

  • Nigel says:

    babe_kl, 1 medium sized wok and oil should be about 4cm deep at it’s deepest point. Oil should be cold, drop in the doughnuts as quenelles. Drop all of them in. Not a bit at a time, it’ll look a little crowded but turn them as they puff up and brown. Once they’re that colour in the pic above, remove them.

    Cumi, ditto. I wanna try some of whosoever handiwork is making it too 😉 And yes, I have no doubt you can make. You’re not just a pretty face…right??? 😉

    Sean, eeyer calling me old ah, wise…aiyo don’t dare claim or agree laaa 😉

    Gaby, so come on down. (Echoing Ciki)

    Minchow, naahhhh. These are uber easy.

    Aunty, no problem. Will do. Will send your love to both Uncle Mark and Yee Ma

    Ai Wei, very easy one 😉

    Leo, never had them for brekkie cos could never wake up early enough but would imagine they would 🙂

  • Nigel says:

    doing some home baking today 😉 and Chinese Doughnuts are deep fried 😉

  • superwilson says:

    Looks awesome, ciki and nigel.

  • Nigel says:

    TQ Wilson 🙂

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