Chinese Fried Dough Sticks (油条)

Chinese fried dough sticks bring back memories of my childhood. My mum would always go to the market on Sunday mornings and bring back delicious breakfast for us. One of the things she liked to buy back then was fried dough sticks and soy bean milk. The interesting thing is that our family, coming from a Teochew background, has never developed that habit of dipping the dough sticks into the soy bean milk when we eat them, nor do we dip them into our coffee for that matter. We love to eat them just as they are, crispy and hot.

A few exceptions though – congee and split mung bean soup. You can’t eat slurp these soupy stuff up without cutting dough fritters into them, especially the latter. These soups and dough fritters are perfect matches made in heaven. Yumm…

It’s quite mesmerising to see how the hawkers prepare these dough sticks at the market. They pull the dough very quickly and drop them into the big wok of oil on repeat mode. The fritters turn out so well and golden brown and crispy all around because of the evenly hot temperature that can only be achieved using these commercial big pots. For all the efforts, really, these dough fritters cost less than a dollar (last time it was just 20 to 30 cents; now it’s about 80 cents), so it’s definitely much more convenient to buy them outside than to make them at home. A lot of time can be saved cleaning up all that grease and flour mess in the kitchen.

But of course, for all those abroad who miss food close to the heart and are unable to get it where you are, you can still give this a try. It’s not too difficult actually, but make sure you get that bowl of congee ready at the same time!


  • Plain flour: 500g + extra for kneading
  • Baking powder: 55g + 5g
  • Instant dry yeast: 2g
  • Sugar: 13g
  • Salt: 7g
  • Water: 370g
  • Oil: 1 liter (for deep-frying)


  1. Sieve together plain flour and 55g baking powder twice.
  2. Fold in instant dry yeast. Place inside mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, dissolve sugar, salt & 5g baking powder in water.
  4. Pour water mixture into mixing bowl. Use a dough hook and whisk on low for 1-2min to form a dough. Rest dough for 30min, covered.
  5. Scrape dough using an oiled scrapper, pushing it underneath to stretch and tighten. Punch it with your fist to remove bubbles. Rest 30min.
  6. Repeat scraping till dough becomes smooth.
  7. Stretch out into rectangular shape and place on greased baking tray. Cover with towel and seal with cling wrap. Leave to chill in fridge overnight.
  8. Remove dough from fridge and leave at room temperature for 2hrs.
  9. Cut dough into 2 pieces on floured surface. Stretch each to 6.5cm wide by 1.5cm thick. Rest 15min.
  10. Cut further into 2.5cm strips (approx 8 pieces). Wet centre lengthwise using a stick dipped in water. Place another strip on top and use the stick to cut centre lengthwise again to form the fritter shape. Repeat with remaining 6 pieces.
  11. Pull both ends till approx 10cm long. Place into 180 degrees Celsius oil.
  12. Turn over with thongs continuously to get it evenly browned, approx 2 – 3 min.
  13. Serve hot with soy bean milk.


  • This recipe was kindly adapted from Don Yong’s Celebrity Chef’s Cookbooks: Bread Winners.

  • I replaced the ammonium bicarbonate with baking powder in step 3 as I did not want to waste ingredients. You may wish to put that back into the recipe if you’d like.

8 sticks

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