Zhaliang (炸兩): Guilt Wrapped in Rice Paper
Cooking is fun isn’t it? Maybe not all the time, but we can all agree, it’s definitely cheaper than eating out all the time. Welcome back to the Culinary Experience and to our second recipe, Zhaliang!! To anyone who is not too familiar with Chinese dishes, this is a Cantonese dish based in the province of Guangdong. A hugely popular dish during dim sum and eaten widely throughout Hong Kong. To anyone not familiar with this dish, its basically plain fried dough wrapped around thinly pressed rice sheets, topped with green onions, sesame seeds, and a special soy based sauce. It’s definitely sweet and salty at the same time, so think of it as an alternative to orange chicken, minus the meat and the heavy sauce. This is a lighter dish to be enjoyed during summer time…or winter time…or any time… haha.
2 Fried You tiao (mandarin)/ yau ja gwai (cantonese) (油条)
4 Rice wraps
1/4 cup sweet soy sauce or regular soy sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar (omit this ingredient if using sweet soy sauce)
2 teaspoons of sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil
1/4 cup of scallions or green onions
1/2 tablespoon of water
This is actually pretty easy to make. I have to admit, this dish is not worth making from scratch. It’s definitely a lot easier to just buy the you tiao and the rice wraps at your local asian market because anyway you look at it, fried dough is fried dough. Don’t waste your time trying to knead dough. If you can find a local Chinese pastry shop, just make sure the you tiao is crispy on the outside, doughy and chewy on the inside.
The only issue is finding the rice wrap. They are the moist kind that is made fresh every morning, not the dry type you would have to hydrate. To give you an idea of which wrap it is, it’s the one that you eat KBBQ with. They are fairly difficult to find, but if you really want to make this dish, keep searching those Chinese markets, it’s worth it. The only store that sells it here in Orange County is the local 99 ranch market near my house in Santa Ana…so leave me a message and I can give you guys directions.
To start off, split the you tiao down the middle (they usually come in two) and cut the Chinese donuts in half from there. Take 2 layers of rice wrap and just wrap it around the you tiao and place them on a dish. Take the sesame seeds and lightly toast them on the stove until they start to lightly brown. Sprinkle them all over the you tiao. Next, finely cut up the green onions and sprinkle them over the rice wrapped you tiao.
The last part is making the dressing or sauce. Combine, soy sauce, sriacha, sugar (if not using sweet soy sauce already) water, and sesame oil. Stir until it is infused throughout the sauce. Lightly dress the you tiao, and get ready to enjoy a very traditional dish. If you want an easier way to eat them, you can cut them into little pieces as shown below