Friday, January 15, 2016

Making Yo-u Shu SAOBIEN with my Mom

This is another fun adventure in making our favorite Chinese breakfast food.  Normally, some of the food are so much easier to enjoy if you could just buy from the street vendors.  But getting to the nitty gritty of the details to produce this Saobien is quite satisfying when you can't get hold of it in your neighborhood Asian grocery stores - the way you like it.   Saobien is baked flaky flat bread usually topped with sesame.  Our first experience was during our vacation in Taiwan.  My parents were delighted to come across it as they missed it since they left mainland China.    One early morning our family friend took us to go buy breakfast.  They took us down into an alley filled with vendors selling soybean milk, "Yo-u Tiao" - Chinese fried bread stick, Saobien with braised beef with cilantro, Zou - porridge, etc.  The flaky flat breads are baked in a large drum can style charcoal oven.  They are quickly wrapped and we took them home to enjoy with everyone.  
My mother studied the formula and was contemplating to make it or not. But at her age, the long time standing in the kitchen cooking is not her favorite pass time anymore. But her curiosity lingers on to wonder how it would turn out.   It gave her the motivation to test it.  Hopefully it will be less painful then our previous Dim Sum adventure we had in making the 'Ho Fan' filled with shrimps. 
First part of the process is to make the browned Roux.  This is the key ingredients to produce layers in the Saobien. 
Making YO-u Shu - fried/browned Roux:
Method 1:  2/3 cup oil, 1 cup flour.  Bring oil to high heat.  Add flour.  Stir fry 5 minutes.  Transfer to oven proof dish. Bake in 300'F for 30 minutes till brown. 
Let cool before use.   
Method 2:  1-1/2 cup oil, 3 cup flour. Bring oil to high heat.  Add  flour gradually and stir fry till brown over low heat for 10 minutes. 
Let cool before use.  

6 cup flour, add 1-1/2 cup boiling water.  Mix; then add 1/2 cup tap water.  Knead for 7-8 minutes till smooth. Earlobe softness.  Cover and rest for an hour.  Rub some cooking oil on work surface.  Divide the dough into halves or Roll out  into 40x45 inch wide.  
Cover the other while you work with the other.   
Roll one of the divided dough out to 20x20.25 inches wide or 1/6 in thick. Sprinkle with some salt, spread Yo-u Shu, sprinkle 1 Tbsp of flour.  Roll into long cigar.  Cut equally into 10 pieces.  Press the dough down a bit with fingers to elongate the cut dough.  (Repeat all these steps for the other halves also.)
Roll up with sliced end on top and bottom.  
Place rolling pin 2/3 from the top and roll upward. Press the bottom unrolled end of the dough to flatten a bit with fingers and fold the dough 2/3 way up and gold the top down.  
Press the dough to elongate slightly with fingers. Repeat the 2/3 roll with rolling pin. 
Roll it the second time with ends of fold at top and bottom. 
Fold into thirds and dip smooth side in sesame seeds.  Place in baking sheet with sesame seeded side down. Rest at least 30 min - uncovered is okay.  
Preheat oven to 400'F.  
(Start rolling the rested dough out to 5x3 inch.  Place sesame down on baking she
Bake in Center oven rack. Bake for 5 min or till it puffs up, then turn them over and bake till slight hint of tan color - about 5 minutes but no longer.  Unless it is still "white" like raw dough.  I preferred mine bit more browning, but my mother said that will cause it to be tough when it cools down. 
Serve hot with braised beef Chinese style; luncheon meat or any spicy deli meat, fried eggs, etc, etc, will work as well.  Toast in toaster the next day to enjoy.