Mahua: Twisty Chinese Fried Snacks

Mahua: Twisty Chinese Fried Snacks

These are called mahua or mahuar. They are Chinese snacks made by twisting dough. You won't tire of the hard crunchiness and simple sweetness.

Ingredients: 14 to 16 mahua

Bread (strong) flour
120 g
Cake flour
120 g
100 g
50 g
Sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon (about 10 g)
1/2 teaspoon
Baking powder (optional)
1/2 scant teaspoon
Oil for deep frying
as needed


1. Preliminaries: Measure out the ingredients. Sift the flours.
2. Mix all the ingredients together.
3. Start mixing lightly with chopsticks, then knead with your hands.
4. When it is no longer floury and the dough is smooth and cohesive, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for more than 30 minutes.
5. If you rest the dough it stretches out easily. Knead lightly to soften, and then start shaping the dough.
6. Divide the rested dough into 14 to 16 equal portions.
7. Roll each portion into a ball. Keep the dough you're not working on covered to prevent it from drying out. Open a hole in the middle of a dough ball.
8. Use your fingers to slowly stretch open the hole, to form a ring with the dough. You don't need any flour for dusting.
9. Make a ring of dough; the dough should be a bit less than 1 cm thick. The thinner the dough, the better the texture will be. It should be about 30 to 40 cm long when you fold the circle in half.
10. Hold both ends and start twisting.
11. Keep twisting tighter and tighter.
12. If you hold the middle and bring the ends together, it will become twisted on its own.
13. It's now a twisted stick. Neaten out the shape.
14. If you put one end in the ring on the other end, they won't fall apart while frying.
15. Deep fry the sticks slowly in fairly cool oil, for about 5 minutes. Cook them through thoroughly to harden them.
16. When they are a nice golden brown, they are done. Once they are totally cool, they'll become hard and break with a snap, almost like a biscuit.

Story Behind this Recipe

These are called various things depending on the manufacturer. If you go to Chinatown, you can always buy these. They are very simple, but you won't tire of them. The key to these is that firm, chewy texture, but if you make them yourself you can make them as hard or soft as you like! Shaping these is a lot of fun.