today is Jan 22, 2022

Learn how to make this old-school Chinese crispy snack known as ma hwa/mahua. The dough is shaped and then fried and coated with crystallized sugar. It is easy and fun to make.

Easy Ma Hwa / Mahua 麻花 (Chinese Twisted Fried Dough)

What is ma hwa/mahua ?

Ma hwa is basically a twisted-shaped lightly sweetened dough fried until crispy and sometimes coated with crystallized sugar. In Indonesia,we call this Kue Untir Untir or kue tambang. Untir means twisted. Most Chinese will tell you that they grow up with ma hwa as a snack when they were kids. It’s one of those foods that makes you feel nostalgic.

Ingredients

If you take a look at the ingredients, they are what most people usually would have in their pantry. 1. All-purpose flour You can also use bread flour 2. Egg I use large egg, about 58-60 grams with the shell 3. Baking powder Baking powder is the leavener and helps to puff up the ma hwa 4. Baking soda Baking soda is also the leavener in this recipe to maximize the flavor and the rise. Do not omit. It also helps to brown the dough during frying 5. Sugar I usually use granulated sugar. You can also use caster sugar or other sugar substitute of your choice 6. Water Water is added to help the dough comes together Easy Ma Hwa / Mahua 麻花 (Chinese Twisted Fried Dough)

How to make easy ma hwa from scratch

1. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine 2. Add beaten egg and 1/2 Tbsp of water. Knead into a dough. If it feels too dry, add a bit of water, teaspoon by teaspoon. The dough won’t be smooth

3. Wrap it with plastic wrap and rest for 1 hour 4. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with some flour 5. Roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick (about 5-6 mm). Make it as square or rectangle as you can, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Dust with some flour as needed if the dough gets a bit sticky. 6. Use a pizza cutter or a bench scraper or a knife to cut the dough into about 3/4-inch (about 2 cm) wide. You will get some shorter ones at both ends. Keep the dough covered and work with one at a time 7. Take one dough and roll into about 14 inches (about 35 cm) long strip. 8. Fold into half 9. While holding one end with your fingers, twist the other end 10. Then twist again on its length 11. Tuck the tail into one of the loop and lightly press to seal the end. Repeat with the rest of the dough

12. Keep the shaped dough covered. Rest for 15 minutes before frying 13. Preheat about 2 inches of oil over low heat. The oil should be just warm and not sizzling hot. If you stick a skewer in the oil and there are bubbles around it, the oil is too hot. When ready to fry, put about 4-5 dough 14. Fry slowly until they start to turn golden brown slightly 15. Then you can increase the heat to medium and fry until they are golden brown and crispy. Remember to fry in batches, as the ma hwa will puff up 16. Put the fried ma hwa on absorbent paper towel and repeat with the rest. Let the ma hwa cools down completely if you want to frost them with sugar

17. Put sugar and water in a large skillet or pan over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer. You will see bubbles and sugar will start to get thicken. If you pick up a bit of the sugar with a spatula and touch it with your finger, it will be sticky 18. Add the fried ma hwa and keep stirring over medium-low heat to evenly coat the fried dough with the sugar. The sugar will gradually turn white and crystallize into sand grains texture 19. Remove from the heat and transfer to a baking sheet or a large plate lined with parchment paper. Let them cool down completely. They will harden into crispy fried dough

Easy Ma Hwa / Mahua 麻花 (Chinese Twisted Fried Dough)

Can I air-fry instead of deep-frying?

I have tried to air fry ma hwa by lightly coat the dough with a bit of oil and then fry at 350 F for 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. The ma hwa doesn’t puff as much compred to deep-frying, so it’s a bit denser in texture compared to fried version.

Did you make this easy ma hwa/mahua recipe?

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Easy Ma Hwa / Mahua 麻花 (Chinese Twisted Fried Dough)

Easy Ma Hwa / Mahua 麻花 (Chinese Twisted Fried Dough)

Easy Ma Hwa / Mahua 麻花 (Chinese Twisted Fried Dough)

Prep Time 15 mins

Cook Time 15 mins

Total Time 1 hr 45 mins

Servings 20 pieces (depends on the size)

Cook Mode Prevent your screen from going dark

Ingredients 

Crystallized sugar (optional):

  • 60 gr sugar
  • 30 ml water

Instructions 

Prepare the dough:

  • Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine

  • Add beaten egg and 1/2 Tbsp of water. Knead into a dough. If it feels too dry, add a bit of water, teaspoon by teaspoon. The dough won't be smooth. Wrap it with plastic wrap and rest for 1 hour

Shaping:

  • Dust your work surface and rolling pin with some flour. Roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick (about 5-6 mm). Make it as square or rectangle as you can, it doesn't have to be perfect. Dust with some flour as needed if the dough gets a bit sticky. Use a pizza cutter or a bench scraper or a knife to cut the dough into about 3/4-inch (about 2 cm) wide. You will get some shorter ones at both ends. Keep the dough covered and work with one at a time

  • Take one dough and roll into about 14 inches (about 35 cm) long strip. Fold into half. While holding one end with your fingers, twist the other end and then twist again on its length. Tuck the tail into the loop and lightly press to seal the end. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Keep the shaped dough covered and rest for 15 minutes before frying

Frying:

  • Preheat about 2 inches of oil over low heat. The oil should be just warm and not sizzling hot. If you stick a skewer in the oil and there are bubbles around it, the oil is too hot. When ready to fry, put about 4-5 dough and fry slowly until they start to turn golden brown slightly, then you can increase the heat to medium and fry until they are golden brown and crispy. Remember to fry in batches, as the ma hwa will puff up

  • Put the fried ma hwa on absorbent paper towel and repeat with the rest. Let the ma hwa cools down completely if you want to frost them with sugar

Frost ma hwa with crystallized sugar:

  • Put sugar and water in a large skillet or pan over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer. You will see bubbles and sugar will start to get thicken. If you pick up a bit of the sugar with spatula and touch it with your finger, it will be sticky. Add the fried ma hwa and keep stirring over medium-low heat to evenly coat the fried dough with the sugar. The sugar will gradually turn white and crystallize into sand grains texture

  • Remove from the heat and transfer to a baking sheet or a large plate lined with parchment paper. Let them cool down completely. They will harden into crispy fried dough

Storing:

  • Store in an air-tight container for about a week or so

Nutrition

Serving: 1 piece Calories: 57 kcal Carbohydrates: 11 g Protein: 1 g Fat: 1 g Saturated Fat: 1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g Trans Fat: 1 g Cholesterol: 9 mg Sodium: 22 mg Potassium: 12 mg Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 5 g Vitamin A: 14 IU Calcium: 9 mg Iron: 1 mg

Marvellina

Marvellina is a food blogger, recipe developer, photographer, and publisher at What To Cook Today. A food blog that brings you tried and true Asian recipes.