19 February 2010

smiley face doughnut hole happiness

(or "happy chinese new valentine's year!", part two)

one of the few things my mom likes to make for chinese new year's (hereon end, abbreviated cny) is these crunchy, sweet little deep-fried snacks covered in sesame seeds called "smiley mouth dates" (笑口棗), which are neither dates, nor do they resemble mouths.

they do, however, resemble timbits with an overbite and pimples, like an awkward asian teenager! (someone on openrice calls them "happy nuggets"...)

for cny, these deep-fried delights are cooked up and often given away to friends, family, and sometimes to people you want to poison.

笑口棗 (smiley face nuggets)
2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 ml) sugar
2 tsp (10 ml) lard or shortening
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 to 1 tsp (2.5 to 5ml) baking powder
white sesame seeds for rolling

mix together the flour, sugar, and baking powder. cut in the lard/shortening using a pastry cutter or fork until uniform. add eggs until even more uniform. roll into tablespoon-sized (15ml) balls.

heat frying oil in a pan deep enough so there is enough depth for the suckers to float. the oil is hot enough for the dough when you put a wooden chopstick in the oil and tiny bubbles appear along the stick*.

drop each ball into the hot oil, and fry until they turn a beautifully delicious golden colour and they float to the top of the oil. drain on paper towels.

store them in an airtight container. eat liberally.

* i don't know how hot that is because i never measured. deal with it.


  1. yay! Chinese donut holes! Can you recommend a specific type of frying oil?

  2. I just wanted to let you know that this weblog has been nominated into both the Best Written and Food & Drink categories of the 2010 Canadian Weblog Awards:


  3. peanut oil is ideal and has a slight peanut flavour.

    regular canola, corn or vegetable oil work as well.

    never, ever use olive oil for anything hotter than 320F.