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Published: Sunday July 6, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday July 9, 2014 MYT 3:47:03 PM

Hum chim paeng: The original doughnut?

The roots of ham chim paeng are unclear, but these fried rounds of dough are a popular snack nonetheless.

The roots of ham chim paeng are unclear, but these fried rounds of dough are a popular snack nonetheless.

Before we had Dunkin, Big Apple and Krispy Kreme, there was ... Hum Chim Paeng.

THERE’S just a dull hum to its name – so let’s just call the Hum Chim Paeng, HCP. No fashionista worth her Jimmy Choo’s would be caught brown bagging it; it’s one of those street foods undeserving of a second look and taken for granted.

But this “salty fried dough” with no apparent history is probably a Malaysian original. A doughnut we can call our own, found ostensibly, as comedian Harith Iskandar would say, “only in Malaysia and Singapore.”

Whodonnut? No one has come forth to claim its creatorship.

It is often sold alongside the Chinese crullers; perhaps the Youtiao seller added it to his repertoire as selling just the fried breadsticks was not sustainable.

It doesn’t take a Curly Fu to deduce that it probably has something to do with the Cantonese – HCP seems to only have a Cantonese handle.

Foodies have gone nuts over the Cronut (a croissant and doughnut hybrid) and Wonut (a Waffle and doughnut hybrid); perhaps if we call HCP the Cantonut, it might win some brownie points.

While not as versatile in its applications as the Youtiao, it is enjoyed as widely, and comes in several variants. So we have the Five Fragrance Cantonut; Red Bean Cantonut, and Sticky Rice Cantonut?

Next, to create a cantata for it; Cantopop will do, too.

chinese doughnuts, ham chim paeng
Rolling the spirals of dough with five-spice powder.

Five Fragrance Doughnut

basic dough

250g plain flour, sifted
75g caster sugar
½ tsp instant dried yeast
1 tbsp double-action baking powder
1 tsp fine salt
160ml water
½ tsp sodium bicarbonate
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
sesame seeds for coating
1.5 litres vegetable oil for deep frying

For the dough: Place the flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer attached with the dough hook.

In a small bowl, mix the water and sodium bicarbonate; stir until dissolved. Add to the dough ingredients together with the oil. Mix on medium speed to a smooth dough.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let it ferment for 4 hours at room temperature.

If preparing ahead, let it ferment for 1 hour at room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator to continue fermenting for 8-12 hours, or overnight. Remove dough from the fridge 1 hour before shaping.

To shape dough: Dust the worktop with flour. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 1cm (1/2”)-thick rectangular sheet.

Sprinkle the five-spice powder evenly over the sheet and roll it up into a log.

Cut the dough log into 2.5cm (1”)-thick discs.

Flatten each disc and, using a small rolling pin, roll it out to 0.5cm (¼”)-thickness.

Brush the discs of dough with water and coat with sesame seeds

ham chim paeng

To fry: Preheat the oil in a wok until hot or in an electric fryer at 190°C. Deep fry the dough in batches without overcrowding, flipping over to cook the other side so that it is golden brown all over. Remove the doughnut and drain on paper towels.

chinese doughnuts, ham chim paeng
Airy and light.

Red Bean Doughnut

dough

one recipe Basic Dough (see Five Fragrance Doughnut recipe)

sesame seeds for coating

filling

250g red bean paste, shaped into 20g balls
1.5 litres vegetable oil for deep frying

For the dough: Prepare the dough according to instructions.

To shape dough: Place the dough which has rested at room temperature on a floured worktop. Divide the dough into 40g portions and shape into balls.

Flatten each ball of dough with your palm and place a red bean ball in the centre. Enclose the filling with the dough, pinching to seal. Roll between the palms to form a smooth ball.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Flatten the ball and roll it to a thickness of 1cm (½”) with a rolling pin. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Rest the shaped dough for 10-15 minutes, covered.

To fry: Preheat the oil in a wok until hot or in an electric fryer at 190°C. Deep fry the doughnuts in batches, flipping over to cook the other side, until golden brown. Remove doughnut and drain on paper towels.

chinese doughnuts, ham chim paeng
Take your pick: Glutinous rice doughnut (left) and five fragrance doughnut.

Glutinous Rice Doughnut

dough

250g plain flour, sifted
75g caster sugar
½ tsp instant dried yeast
1 tbsp double-action baking powder
½ tsp fine salt
150ml water
½ tsp sodium bicarbonate
25g fermented red bean curd (nam yue), mashed to smooth paste with 1 tbsp vegetable oil

filling

200g glutinous rice, rinsed, soaked for 4 hours and drained
40g caster sugar
1 tsp fine salt
200ml water
100ml thick coconut milk, optional
1.5 litres vegetable oil for deep frying

For the dough: Place the flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer attached with the dough hook.

In a small bowl, mix the water and sodium bicarbonate; stir until dissolved. Add to the dough ingredients together with the fermented bean curd mixture. Mix on medium speed to a dough.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let it ferment for 4 hours at room temperature.

If preparing ahead, let it ferment for 1 hour at room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator to continue fermenting for 8-12 hours, or overnight. Remove dough from the fridge 1 hour before shaping.

For the filling: Place sugar, salt, water and coconut milk in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add to the rice and mix well. Place the rice in a heatproof dish and steam for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Place the rice on a piece of cling film and shape into a 5cm-diametre log. Roll up firmly with the aid of the cling film. Make sure the rice is compacted.

To shape: Place the dough which has rested at room temperature on a floured worktop. Stretch dough and roll out into a rectangular shape large enough to wrap the glutinous rice log.

Unwrap the glutinous rice and place in the middle of the dough. Brush some water along the edge of the dough and wrap up into an open-ended log, making sure the dough is sealed around the filling.

Cut the log into 2cm (¾”)-thick discs using a plastic scraper. Rest the shaped dough for 10-15 minutes, covered.

To fry: Preheat the oil in a wok until hot or in an electric fryer at 190°C. Deep fry the doughnuts in batches, flipping over to cook the other side so that it is golden brown all over. Remove the doughnut and drain on paper towels.

Catherine’s Culinary Centre Tiara Square, UEP Subang Jaya, mscatherinelau@gmail.com, 016-221 5718


Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Hum Chin Paeng, Chinese donut, doughnut

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